The author of Crystal Lake takes you on an “American vacation”. 12,000 miles in the Wild West’

Raluca Barbu, librarian at Fox River Grove Memorial Library and Wauconda Area Library, recently released her latest book, “American Vacation. 12,000 Miles Into the Wild West.”

The Crystal Lake, Illinois resident is the author of four books published in her home country, Romania. She and her family moved to the United States three years ago, starting a new life on a new continent.

The book is a tribute to America’s great outdoors and a read that unwittingly makes every American prouder of their country. It is the first book to tell the story of a writer from a former communist country who experiences the wide open spaces of the emblematic American West, without landmarks and without similarity with her homeland. It’s the first time in American travel literature that a Romanian author tells the story of America’s astonishing geography after walking its trails alongside his partner.

“American Vacation” challenges you to leave your familiar world behind and transports you 20,000 kilometers to the Wild West. You will swap your usual city streets for 270 km of hiking through 7 types of natural sites; you will ascend from 260 feet below sea level to 14,000 feet above sea level. Starting in The Land of Lincoln, you’ll take a 45-day virtual tour through 19 states, sometimes wondering if you’ve left earth and landed on another planet; you’ll ride past 35 national, state, and tribal parks; and you’ll forget about concrete buildings, shopping malls and underground parking lots, discovering instead new corners of paradise hidden deep within the North American landscape. As a living slice of my travel experience, this book bears witness to a small fraction of the unfailing beauty of this world, which took hundreds of millions of years to perfect.

The book is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Amazon Kindle Unlimited in eBook. The beauty of all the landforms is captured in high quality photos (accessible only in the e-book) to document the essence of the trip. It’s the perfect read at the start of a new year.

Lola R. McClure