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Publication Date

Fall 2009

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller

Subject Areas

Literature, Comparative; Women's Studies; Literature, American


This thesis is a first person narrative work of creative nonfiction. It is a series of linked travel essays that develops the concept of self discovery and the freedom one woman finds later in life when she becomes single and her children have grown and left home. Using an informal voice, the narrator tells her story as she steps away from the conventional roles of wife and mother (her normal) and decides to live the life she has put on hold while raising her family. The narrator's curiosity about the world pulls her forward, encouraging her to travel beyond the boundaries of America, discovering the rich personal rewards and challenges of foreign travel.Each chapter is taken from one of the author's travel experiences beginning in 2002, ranging from her visit to the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat to a visit to the Louvre. The intent is two-fold: one, to share with the reader the psychological, emotional, and physical challenges of a woman traveling alone, and two, to share the geographical, topographical, and cultural diversity of some of the world's most fascinating locations. The tone varies from informative to humorous and occasionally to the transformative. It is one woman's account of discovery and re-invention.