Reading “The Alchemist” in Spanish

My review of Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist is one of my most popular posts. The Alchemist is one of my favorite books; I connect deeply with the message. I feel that it was introduced to me at a pivotal moment in my life — the message appeared exactly when I needed to hear it.

Last summer, a good friend’s long-term girlfriend handed me a copy of The Alchemist. They’re both engineers, based in Seattle. They were making great money, lived in a modern apartment with a magnificent view, and seemed to be doing great. “It’s my favorite book,” the girlfriend told me as she handed me the book. She longed for travel, like I had done.

Mt. Rainer loomed in the distance, visible from their apartment window. The boyfriend spoke of climbing it next summer. I thought that sounded fun. But you could tell, it wasn’t the girlfriend’s dream.

I was just back from extended travel in Asia. I was unemployed, emotionally devastated, and unsure of what to do with my life. I had been home for two months, floating around from friend to friend, spending my days mostly sleeping and trying to make sense of everything I had learned from breaking up with my girlfriend in the Hong Kong airport, and going on to Nepal. I was spending money recklessly, including coming out to Seattle for just a weekend. Chasing my dreams had, in a very real way, destroyed my life.

If there is a better time to be handed a book about the power and importance of following your dreams, I don’t know when it would be.

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Which Popular European Vacation Spot Disappointed Me?

I was trying to come up with a list of my “Least Favorite Countries,” recently, as a bit of a contrast to my Three Favorite Countries article. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that I couldn’t honestly come up with three countries I thought belonged on that list. Every place I’ve been to has held good memories or lessons for me.

There are only two places I would say I didn’t like that much. One was Sofia, Bulgaria, where I only spent a few hours, and the other was this surprising European country — which didn’t quite meet my expectations.

Hit the jump to find out where it was!

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Nepal 94: Machhapuchhre Base Camp

We reached Machhapuchhre Base Camp before noon.

It was a bright, sunny morning, and we shed our layers all over the place as we sat outside and snacked at one of the area’s four trekking lodges.

Everyone was in good spirits; the valley took a sharp turn left at MBC, and our goal was finally, literally, in sight.

[this is a serial travel memoir about my experience traveling in Nepal. It’s best read from the beginning. Click for Chapter 1]

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