Traveling Backward

Curious Journeys and Quixotic Quests Beyond The Youth of Old Age

by Elayne Wareing Fitzpatrick



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 06/07/2009

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 405
ISBN : 9781436382427
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 405
ISBN : 9781436382434

About the Book

TRAVELING BACKWARD is a highly original philosophic romp beyond the youth of old age with a quixotic ‘journalist turned mom turned academic turned peasant.’ It’s a kind of light-hearted guide to the wisdom of the ages—from Socrates to existentialism and beyond—gleaned during a struggle to recover the images that fi rst touched her heart and to answer two questions: Who am I really? Where does the world come from? It’s a colorful, occasionally poignant, journey that could help you look at life through the reverent eyes of a child again.


“You two remind me of Peter Pan. Trouble is, I’m not sure which one of you is Peter Pan. Well, I was taken aback. But my mate took action. Muttering something negative about fairy stories, he headed for the door and disappeared down the hall. I started to follow him but changed my mind. Instead, I headed for the public library to reread Peter Pan. Had I missed something?” (Elayne Wareing Fitzpatrick)

“Human life – indeed all life – is poetry. It’s we who live it, unconsciously, day by day. . . Yet in its inviolable wholeness it lives us, it composes us. . . We are works of art, but we are not the artist. . . Dare everything, need nothing.” (Lou Andreas—Salome)

“I relate to [Andreas—Salome’s] passionate struggle for truth, to her ultimate reverence for all life, and to her desire to enjoy intellectual friendships with a variety of men, free of sexual overtones.” (Fitzpatrick)

“I was discovering that, deep down, I didn’t really ‘take’ to popular culture, crowds, and bustling cities, regardless of my curiosity, regardless of my journalist’s delight in writing about all of it.” (Fitzpatrick)

“If you can’t change the world, change worlds.” (St. Francis of Assisi)

“If I were ever to choose a place away from my country, it would surely be a Greek island, outside Athens. . . In Greece, I feel completely at home. Maybe that’s because, as the poet Shelley said, ‘We’re all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their roots in Greece.” (Fitzpatrick)

“Back straight and head held high, he would place his left arm on my right shoulder, snap his fingers and lead me in the graceful, deliberate movements of the Zorba dance, accompanied by a recording of Mozart’s 40th played on the bouzouki. This against a backdrop of tinkling goat bells and singing monks gathered in a distant church.” (Fitzpatrick)

“Many of the highs and lows in my life. . . have resulted from conflict born of the struggle between my own strong loving, nesting needs and my equally strong needs for freedom to think, to adventure, to discover, to express myself.” (Fitzpatrick)

“All parts of this one organic whole – this one God – are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, influencing each other, therefore parts of one organic whole.” (Robinson Jeffers)

“How did matter happen that makes the stars and cool planets and living beings? And how did the space happen that contains the stars and planets?. . . Much is still very hypothetical. Much is still unknown. Much, we will never know. . . Life is struggle, pain and suffering. But it is also extraordinarily glorious creativity.” (Dr. Kai Woehler)

“Like Socrates, I’ve experienced an inner voice that usually let’s me know when I’m about to go off-track, and I’ve come to believe, with Kant, in a moral law within.” (Fitzpatrick)

“Nature’ – wonderful and awe-inspiring as it is – can’t participate in a verbal dialogue, can’t exchange and explore ideas with the human mind. We can relate to the animals, the birds, the insects, the fish, and the flora with our most primitive instincts and feel joy, spiritual ecstasy in so recognizing our kinship. Yet nothing in Nature can compare with the human need for a warm

About the Author

ELAYNE WAREING FITZPATRICK (BA English, MS Philosophy) was a city desk reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune; promotion director of KUED, Utah’s public television station; and an associate professor at the University of Utah before relocating in California in 1974 to teach Philosophy and Humanities at Monterey Peninsula College on California’s Big Sur-Monterey coast. She is also a freelance journalist who, after raising a family, began travelling to -- and writing about -- some of the world’s most charming places unspoiled by industrial development. Other books by the author include: A Quixotic Companionship: Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson; Robert Louis Stevenson’s Ethics for Rascals; Doing It with the Cosmos: Henry Miller’s Big Sur Struggle for Love Beyond Sex; Shepherds of Pan on the Big Sur- Monterey Coast; Nature Wisdom: Mystical Writers of the Big Sur-Monterey Coast, a revision and expansion of Shepherds of Pan in color; and an initial edition of this book in black and white. Her features have appeared in numerous periodicals. Web site: