Maria Holland


In Uncategorized on August 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

After more than a year, I have finally realized my dream of publishing my journal as a book: Adventuring Towards . . .

Okay, “published” might be a bit too glamorous of a word, and “printed” might be more fitting for the circumstance, but whatever.  My journal is now a book!  And you can now own it, in all of its 440-page glory. 

In addition to the many hours I spent writing my blog during the year I spent in China, it took me probably 10-12 hours of editing to get it down to 440 pages (the largest book that I could get printed) and looking nice.  Another few hours were required to make the cover, and then a week of waiting for the printer ( to send it to me.

It arrived yesterday, and I am very pleased!  So now, with that confidence, I’m going to make it available for purchase.

My original intent was to print it in full color, but the prohibitive cost of that option was what kept the book from getting printed right away last summer.  This summer, I decided to do it anyway, even though the full-color book costs $103

On a whim, I decided to see how much a black-and-white version would cost, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was only $26!  That’s what we ordered for my parents, and I can tell you that it looks great (although obviously the pictures are not as . . . well, colorful).  The black-and-white book can be purchased here

And because I know that both of the above options are pretty expensive, I also saved it as a PDF, which you can download here from my Dropbox for free.  It’s the exact same content and layout, but can only be read digitally.  I still think it’s an improvement over reading the blog online, because you don’t have to wait for anything to load, and it’s all organized in chronological order (instead of backwards).

I’m not trying to make money with this, so the prices mentioned above are just what Lulu charges for printing.  Don’t feel like you should buy the book to support me or anything, and feel free to download the PDF instead.  (I also enabled full previews for both books, so you can browse before/instead of buying.)  I wrote this blog largely for myself, and the printing was certainly driven by my own desire to have a hard copy. 

I’d spent a while crafting the blurb for the back of the book, ending up settling for this conglomeration of quotes from various entries:

Someone said “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.

I never understood that quote because I was too busy making plans.

But my first trips to China introduced me to the joy and surprises that await when you allow yourself to be flexible with details of a trip – things like the destination, arrival time, mode of transportation, etc.  When you’re “adventuring towards” someplace, it’s okay if you end up delayed somewhere or even going backwards along your route, because it’s all part of the adventure.

Every day during the year I studied abroad at Xiamen University – itself a detour along the path I thought my life would take – I recorded where my adventures took me, and those stories became this book.

So I was interested to come across several adventure-related quotes last week, while I was waiting for my copy to come.  A friend posted this G.K. Chesterton quote on facebook:

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

And a few days earlier, when I had been reading a book (The Man Who Was Thursday) by the same author, I noted this passage that reminded me of my time on public transportation in China:

“I tell you . . . that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos.  You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria.  I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I really come there I have the sense of hair-breadth escape.”

Lester, my Filipino friend who visited recently and has just started his semester abroad in France, wrote this about his attitude towards the unexpected things in life:

We should be able to make invent-tures in every adventure in life.

And finally, if you’re still not convinced that “adventuring towards” is a good life-style, Lifehacker did an article about the benefits of planning for uncertainty:

"Ambition becomes counter-productive when you pursue your goals without the humbling realization that things seldom go as planned." ~ Scott Belsky

A long time ago I hated my birthday. It was the one day I could ask for things I couldn’t ask for on any other day, so I would plan out everything I wanted and was determined to get it. In reality, very little of that plan ever worked out the way I expected and I ended up being miserable rather than enjoying time with my friends. Now I just ask people to show up and we figure things out as we go, because too much planning without any room for error is just a plan for disaster.

When you’re doing anything of value, you obviously want it to go well. Just make sure your plans leave room for uncertainty and only focus on what’s truly important, or you’re pretty much asking for disappointment.

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