As a young girl from the Central Valley of California, a very agricultural area, I didn't experience anything outside of California until I was married at age 19. I have always been an avid reader and I would spend weekends reading Gone With the Wind, Exodus, Jane Eyre, and many other classics. Those wonderful books transported me to another time, other cultures, other locations and other ways of thinking. Not everything had the values, morals, food, etc, that I had been raised with and led to believe there wasn't much else out there. I actually had been led to believe that anything outside California was dangerous and foreboding. By reading, I learned so much about the world, history, religions, and cultures and I began to think outside "my box of experience" that maybe there was something more for me to learn and see.
When my marriage failed, I immediately took a cruise to the West Indies, by myself. I met so many interesting people and visited some very different and interesting places. I snorkled for the first time, I sailed on a sail boat, I danced all night, and I even forgot that my recently divorced husband was marrying his girlfriend. John, trust me, this was totally out of the box for this farm girl from California!
It was during that trip that I decided to go back to school and get my Masters in Social Work and become a therapist. Those books set me on a path I could never have imagined.