After a long battle with cancer, Michael Crichton died today
As plain as day, I can remember standing in Barnes & Noble in front of the travelogue section reading the back of Michael Crichton's book Travels. That memory is most likely etched in my mind because that book was to become one of the most influential books on spirituality and soul searching that I have yet to read.
At the time, I was fairly new to the genre of travel/memoir writing, and having just finished Pico Iyer's "Falling off the Map" I went to my local bookstore to see if similar books existed. So there I was, standing in the bookstore, perusing all of the travel writers I would eventually read: Bryson, Greenwald, Iyer, Halliday, O'Hanlon, Mayle, Greenlaw, etc., when my eyes happened on the cover of "Travels" and saw Michael Crichton's name. I knew of him because I had read a number of his books, (my favorite being "Sphere") and was also very familiar with the movies that had been made from his books. I remember standing in line outside my local theater to see the very first showing of Jurassic Park....
So I picked up the book and on the front cover was a quote from the Washington Post Book World that said, "Travels is about getting unstranded, about going to the ends of the earth and the edges of experience in order to experience oneself for the first time."
I just knew, that I had to buy and read this book.
Each chapter in the book tells of a different experience, and while some were specifically physical journeys to various remote locations in the world, there is a huge element in each piece about the spiritual journey that he experienced on each occasion.
In sharing his own experiences, they began to validate many thoughts and feelings I'd about my own life, and I can't help but credit him with helping me to move along on my own spiritual journey.
My only wish is that I would have thought to send him a short note thanking him for being such a source of inspiration. I got quite sad when I read that he passed today, and after I was able to pull myself together, I realized that he isn't gone forever, but that he is simply on another of his life's journey's.
So if you are a spiritual soul-seeker like myself, I highly recommend reading Travels and seeing where it leads you.