Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone

Nothing to Declare Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone Traveling from the highland desert of northern Mexico to the steaming jungles of Honduras from the seashore of the Caribbean to the exquisite highlands of Guatemala Mary Morris a celebrated writer

  • Title: Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone
  • Author: Mary Morris
  • ISBN: 9780312199418
  • Page: 334
  • Format: Paperback
  • Traveling from the highland desert of northern Mexico to the steaming jungles of Honduras, from the seashore of the Caribbean to the exquisite highlands of Guatemala, Mary Morris, a celebrated writer of both fiction and nonfiction, confronts the realities of place, poverty, machismo, and selfhood As she experiences the rawness and precariousness of life in another cultureTraveling from the highland desert of northern Mexico to the steaming jungles of Honduras, from the seashore of the Caribbean to the exquisite highlands of Guatemala, Mary Morris, a celebrated writer of both fiction and nonfiction, confronts the realities of place, poverty, machismo, and selfhood As she experiences the rawness and precariousness of life in another culture, Morris begins to hear echoes of her own life and her own sense of deprivation And she begins, too, to overcome the struggles of the past that have held her back personally as in the very best travel writing, Morris effectively explores her own soul while exploring new terrain and new experience By crossing such boundaries throughout the pages of Nothing to Declare, she sets new frontiers for herself as a woman and as a writer.

    One thought on “Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone”

    1. I hesitantly give this book 3 stars, because I would really like to give it both 1 star and 4/5 stars. I alternately loved and hated it. Morris is at her best describing what she observes during her travels: the colors, smells, odd but telling details, and the scenery. She is able to evoke the place on the page, which is a rare feat even in travel writing. She doesn't shy away from grime or the grotesque. However, the "memoir" parts of the book, in which she reflects on her character and on her [...]

    2. Fair warning: I did not finish this book.And yet, I'm giving it a one star rating. Here's why:"Nothing to declare" is a book about a woman moving to Mexico to write. Although I don't think it is explicitly mentioned, the subtitle "Memoirs of a woman traveling alone" as well as the first person narrator strongly imply that the woman Morris is writing about is Morris herself. At least I had no reason to assume otherwise.Apart from the fact that moving to another country is not traveling (to me - a [...]

    3. A memoir of an American woman in her thirties who uses a writing grant to live in Mexico and travel Central America in the 1980s. It's an interesting account, but I also felt it difficult to connect with the author. I couldn't quite relate to her lifestyle, nor to the many risks she takes. She seems to drift, she forms fleeting bonds with strangers, most of whom she doesn't particularly like. The author is also a novelist, and at times she takes some obvious creative liberties, leaving me wonder [...]

    4. Sometimes I think I want to travel the world. I’ve always felt like a bit (okay, a lot) of a homebody, but there may actually be some wanderlust in my little hermit heart. The way Morris describes the vast Mexican desert and the ferocious jungles of South America makes my heart ache for wild spaces and beautiful adventure. Nothing to Declare paints a picture of a woman finding herself as she explores the world. She moves in and out of relationship with land and with people in the most incredib [...]

    5. I had to read this one back in college for a women's lit class. We spent the semester focusing on memoir/travel writers, and this was definitely a stand out. Mary Morris is a participator, not simply an observer. She unveils the true gritty, poignant and complicated lives of the inhabitants of San Miguel, Mexico, as she attempts to come to grips with her own personal demons and disappointments. In the course of her stay, she re-discovers her identity and personal strength. I absolutely loved Mor [...]

    6. This is an amazing book. Having lived in rural Mexico I was captivated and drawn into Morris's world immediately. But she is such a gifted story teller that you do not need any knowledge of Mexico to be drawn in. You can relate to her loneliness and isolation, along with her sense of adventure, trying to do more than just scratch the surface of this new world. This is probably in my top five of all travel narratives I have read. Don't miss this one!

    7. It's pretty standard, straightforward, anecdotal memoir stuff. A quick, fun read, especially if you have any interest in mesoamerican native history. The story (and the locations she visits) has a certain timelessness to it. Apart from some specific Nicaraguan historical moments she encounters, it could be taking place at virtually any time. Time in impoverished places moves very slowly. Highlight: she did capture well the feeling that travel can be transcendent, drug-like, and that even terrify [...]

    8. Very strong first-person narrative of a woman traveling and living in Mexico in times when this was not so common. Beautiful.

    9. I read this book while travelling in Mexico this last December, and it was the perfect travel companion: insightful, introspective, at times funny and often profound.

    10. I was excited when I realized that this author had lived and written in San Miguel; thus, I thought it would be filled with stories of the wonderful, quirky, adventuresome, warm, curious, artistic people, both Mexicans and ex-pats, who live and work in this part of Mexico. , Ms Morris shared my love of the beauty of this semi-desert mountainous terrain with it's other-worldly light. But where were all the wonderful characters I was expecting? Ms Morris makes friends with her neighbour, an extrem [...]

    11. Really fun read. I was hoping to be inspired to travel in Mexico and Central America. Mexico, a bit, but Morris writes of Central America in the late 1970's early 1980's - an interesting time to be traveling. Her run-in with a revolutionary subcomandante was particularly riveting. Would like to read some of her fiction now.

    12. Review from my blog post "4 TRAVEL BOOKS FOR YOUR SUMMER (2017)"In the 1980s, Morris leaves New York, her life and its ghosts, and ends up in San Miguel, Mexico, near the US border, with a writing grant. The book is about her temporary life there, her trips around Central America and the people she met on the way.In 2016, I held my copy, standing in a second-hand bookshop in Whitehorse, Yukon. I clenched my teeth, as I felt negative anticipation. Under the title, I could read "Memoirs of a woman [...]

    13. A great travelogue, Something to Declare coverts Mary Morris' travels in Central America in the 80s. It was written soon after that (published in 88) which made me wish I had a copy with a new afterword for a little more perspective (not sure such a thing exists). In general I liked the book, enjoyed reading about her adventures, but disliked about half of the spiritual stuff and musings on her personal life. I liked the other half, though. It was interesting to read about someone who hated bein [...]

    14. Not my favorite travelogue, probably mostly because it was written so long ago (the 80's) and travel has changed to much since.

    15. WHAT I LIKED:She spends some time living in Mexico but visits some other countries like Guatemala. It was interesting to read about her experiences living and traveling in different places. This also took place in the 1980s, when I'm guessing women moving overseas alone and then traveling alone wasn't as common as it is today. She shares her experiences with her neighbors and with men, and also shares stories of political unrest in some places that she visits. I love travel and reading about a w [...]

    16. I really enjoyed this book and kept asking myself if I would be able or willing to travel alone to the locations Morris writes about. The answer is no. She definitely has more courage than I do, and often puts herself into very dangerous situations. Nevertheless, I admire her for being able to do so. I would definitely recommend this book for the adventure travel enthusiast.

    17. I read this book while on study abraod in Barcelona, Spain - which I felt was an absurdly appropraite time in my life to be doing so. However, I wasn't quite able to relate to Mary as I thought I would be able to as very little of my adventure comes close to hers. I came on a program, went to a school, am living in a normal-class society. What Mary did is something I could never do - live by myself in poverty, travel to unknown stretches of the earth with diseases, danger, and more. However, I a [...]

    18. I really enjoyed this book, mainly because I have shared similar life/travel experiences and could relate to much of what the author lived through. More than the travelouge - which while beautiful, did harbor many "gringoisms" or stereotypes that I would have liked to see explored further - I resonate with the personal reflections shared by the author that travel often brings. For me, extended travel, such as that which forms the basis of the book, leads the travels through 4 stages: Awe, Disdai [...]

    19. A very good book from start to finish. It was one of those that I wished was longer so I could keep reading it! The author goes to live in Mexico and using that as a base travels around Central America by herself. I enjoyed hearing about her life in Mexico the most, rather than her time on the road. Her relationship with a local woman, Lupe, and her children was particularly moving. Along with beautiful prose, the author's insightful observations into the people, relationships, and landscapes sh [...]

    20. The idea of this book sounded like exactly what I was looking for a memoir of a woman traveling alone through Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras during the 1980s, after fearlessly deciding to move to San Miguel de Allende. And fearless doesn't even begin to describe this woman, but her insights as both a woman and a solo traveler connected with me in a way that I wasn't expecting. Mary Morris has this amazing ability to describe the setting in a such a way that you feel like you are there, experien [...]

    21. I am disappointed that I have to give this book 3 stars. I really, really wanted to like it. A travelogue! About Mexico! By a woman! Basically my dream book. But Morris herself ruins it. She is conceited and very difficult to like. I wanted to know more about Mexico and less about her search for love and/or companionship. Case in point (mild spoiler): there is a scene where her neighbor friend's daughter spills bloody diarrhea in the kitchen and Morris' response, while concerned for the girl, is [...]

    22. This was more of an inner-awareness travel book than a real travel memorir, and as such, Ii was disappointed. Morris just glosses over Mayan sites (all of which I have been to) she vistis, with NO description of them, just her navel-gazing thoughts while wandering around them. I am an independent female traveler, and found her a very poor role model for women considering doing so. I did not appreciate the incredibly stupid and dangerous situations she blithely stumbles into. Her realtionship wit [...]

    23. Rather superficial, full of angst and vaguely expressed reasons for travel. Did she go to places simply to write a book about it? She added bits and histories here and there that sounded artificial, as though looking it all up later in order to pad out the story. The best bit is the relationship with Lupe and all the children but even this lacks depth, as though Lupe is the author's best bet for a real character. Alejandro doesnt come across or any of the other infatuations. I was left with the [...]

    24. Everything is surface-deep in this book. The author constantly evades the details about her own life and doesn't provide enough information about the countries she's visiting, so the book is neither about the woman, nor about traveling, really. Doesn't seem like the author got to know herself during the journey either, because she keeps saying how far she's come and grown/changed as a person, yet keeps doing things that are completely idiotic and prove that she hasn't really grown or change at a [...]

    25. I read this book thirty or more years ago and recently found it in the library again, forgetting that I had read it once before. It resonated just as powerfully 30 years later. Difficult to categorize, and beautifully written, it's both a travel book, a memoir, and simply a great series of short stories against the backdrop of Mexico's mysteries -- and it's also strapped to the back of its underbelly. The good, the bad, the ugly seen close up through the eyes of a passionate, young woman. (And y [...]

    26. This book was passed on to me by my cousin Jessica. Loved reading about the author's travels, brief immersions in Latin America, mostly transient relationships with locals and other travelers (some go deeper), and one of my favorite things, the descriptions of the food. The author seems surprisingly naïve at times, but may be purposefully characterizing herself in this way. She brags a bit that she seems to have an instinct or luckiness about her because no serious harm has ever come her way. B [...]

    27. an enjoyable travel memoir. however, i did not always find the narrator likable. she seemed a bit self-righteous at times, especially given her own naiveté and her ignorance(?) of her own somewhat bourgeois perspective. to her credit, much of the memoir seemed rather honest. she did not attempt to portray herself as a flawless protagonist but rather presented her journey - both physically and emotionally - as it must have played out. interesting historical context (latin america in the 1980s) a [...]

    28. This was a good book about travels and settling down, to some extent, in a quaint little town in Central Mexico. some of the friends and stories of her friends were out of the ordinary and I found it hard to want to relate to her travels. I typically would like to want to be doing the things that the book is about but these i would be trying to avoid. There were some good times to be had though. When she settles into her town she developes a relationship with a local family which is charming. Th [...]

    29. I really enjoyed this one - Morris is an excellent author (and a brave woman) who really takes the reader along with her on her journeys. She writes not only of the area she visits and people she meets, but the impact her travels have on her at a personal level. I really enjoyed how she shared her thoughts, even those that may have seemed too personal or too strange. Her obvious love for Mexico and its proud people shines through so brightly; I can't imagine anyone reading this and not wanting t [...]

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