My name is Catherine Bohne, and at least initially, I will be your author for this website. I am an American woman who owns a bookstore and lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York (the world). Last January, emerging from eight exhausting years of running a struggling independent bookstore full-tilt and non-stop, I suddenly woke up, shook myself off, and realized I could begin travelling again. I drank a bottle of red wine, called up Continental, cashed in a pile of airmiles and got myself a ticket to Albania.
Back when I was 11 years old, I was on a boat with my mother and father, traveling somewhat higgilty-piggilty from Italy to Greece. The boat slid past the wildest, greenest, most silent and mysterious landscape I’ve ever seen. I wanted to get off the boat. I wanted to swim to shore and lose myself in that place, almost, I think, more than I’ve ever wanted anything. I was 11. I said “Dad – what’s THAT?” “That?” answered my father, “That’s Albania, Catherine. No one can go there.” I’ll go, I thought. Nearly thirty years went by, and then I remembered, and so — I went.
My mother is Italian/Croatian and my father was from the sunny land of Brooklyn. I spent summers in Croatia when I was a child, and lived three of my teenage years in Swaziland (Africa). My last major chosen expeditional vacation was (ten years ago – running a bookstore takes so much time!) to Kurdistan (selected chiefly because the state department said I absolutely shouldn’t go there – I had a marvelous time). I have almost always felt more at home in the world, than at that home in the home where I’m supposed to belong.
Like all smart children, I have always wanted to run away from home. Is this why my reason for traveling always seems to be to get away to somewhere? I mean get away but also to GET to somewhere. Be somewhere else. Perhaps be someone else. Live in a different world, but I mean live, not just visit. I don’t want to go: where there are lots of tourists, to generic resorts that could be anywhere, to places that make me feel like I’m in a frozen, pre-prepared, pre-packaged museum (though those can be amusing), or to places which have been somehow warped by the traffic of tourists. I do want to go: to places which are really real, to places of that particular joyful solemnity that accompanies true beauty, to places where I can wander and get lost, to places where I will learn something, to places which are quiet and to places where I can know and be known. I’m not very good at doing nothing, so I like joining in and lending a hand, being useful. My idea of “doing nothing” is writing and drawing and having adventures, so I also like places where I am free to wander around and where people will allow me to prove myself, and just laugh if I seem a bit eccentric.