Adventurous spirits, human-animal connections, incredible journeys, kindness of strangers, danger, and unexpected fame—these three new non-fiction books have all of these things in common, and more. They also rank highly on my list of interesting books that I thoroughly enjoyed.
“The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey across America” by Elizabeth Letts is a story you won’t soon forget. In the fall of 1954, 63-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins, who had pretty much lost everything and had been told she only had a couple of years to live, decided she wanted to see the Pacific Ocean. She set out on horseback with her dog, very little money in her pocket, no maps, and no real plan, except to get to California. Her journey of over 4,000 miles took over a year and was packed with unexpected events and lots of kindness from strangers. Annie’s story and travels were picked up by the Associated Press and she became quite the humble celebrity.
“Nala’s World: One Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride around the Globe” is a modern-day adventure which in many ways parallels Annie Wilkins’ story. Dean Nicholson and a friend decided to ride their bikes around the world, but not far into their journey, the friend decided to return home. Nicholson chooses to venture on alone until he discovers an abandoned kitten on the side of a remote mountain road and she becomes his traveling companion. Their bond and story captured some attention on the internet and now they can be followed on their own Instagram account, @1bike1world, on YouTube, and on worldwide news media. Nicholson has used this attention for good by raising money for animal sanctuaries and other environmental causes. He and Nala have made friends all over the world and they are still traveling on.
“World Wild Vet: Encounters in the Animal Kingdom” is Dr. Evan Antin’s accounts of traveling to take care of wild animals in their environments. His “office” can be found in oceans, jungles, on the savannah, or in his Thousand Oaks practice. His travels and perilous adventures have taken him to six continents. Dr. Antin’s concern for the animals and their conservation is evident, along with his desire to educate people about these precious creatures. There are color photographs included, but I admit to taking to the internet to look up some of the more unusual animals he describes, but does not show. Dr. Antin can also be followed on Instagram and YouTube, as well as on his show, “Evan Goes Wild,” on Animal Planet.