Reviewer Michelle Kaye Malsbury:
Michelle was born in Champaign, IL. Currently, she resides in Asheville, NC
and is in her second year of doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern
University in Ft. Lauderdale with specialization/concentration in
conflict resolution and peace studies. She has over six hundred
articles published on the web and one book published thus far with
many more in the wings. Hobbies include; reading, writing, music, and
playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Abu.
Author: Ben Feder
Author: Ben Feder
Ben Feder, author of Take Off Your Shoes, works as a Senior Executive for Tencent, a Chinese conglomerate with global reach. (back cover, 2018) Tencent created WeChat and has a huge presence in China’s technology and internet sectors. Feder lives with his wife and four children.
In the Introduction Feder tells the readers that he wrote this book for his family because he wanted them to know why he felt compelled to leave his well-paying job in NYC to find his inner compass. (paraphrase)
In truth he and his wife had spoken about taking sabbatical for a while and kept putting it off for one reason or another as many of us tend to do believing that there will always be a right time. Instead of continuing to wait they jumped in and began planning. They gave themselves a fair estimate of time to set things right before embarking on wherever this life changing journey might go.
As they set about determining the where they wanted to go they compiled a list of potential places. They made calls and conducted internet searches because they want different than what they had now, but they also did not want their children’s educations to suffer from this compromise.
They made arrangements to let out their flat and pack whatever they were not taking along into storage so they could embark fully on the unknown. The children were upset and pensive thinking this was the worst thing their parents could do. They had friends here and knew the direction their lives were going. Moving someplace abroad was a scary thing.
Feder documents their journey from the USA to a safari in Africa with a stopover in Ethiopia and then to Bali from planning thru execution with wonderful detail should any other wish to try to do the same. This trip from an urban setting into safari land was a spectacular introduction into the wild untamed little developed areas of the world and diametrically the opposite of home. Once in Bali, more changes are ushered in. New foods to eat, different music, and new customs to understand were just the tip of new things they would become adept at navigating. Clothing, homes, everything was so unlike America.
I think you will enjoy why he made such dramatic changes to his life and the outcomes from those lessons, both of which were refreshing and healing for him and his family. The children eventually learned to love the new places they visited and they made some fun friends and great memories along the way. One day their daughter Rita wrote the following song. “I have a great family, And I know that’s always true, But sometimes my heart goes the other way. ..” (2018, p.43) Adapt they did.
The objective, I think, was not to let life suck you in to oblivion. But instead to take time to spend time with your family and if you can afford to, travel. There is no better education than going to new places, experiencing new things, and meeting new people. Books can only go so far. The rest is up to you!