RANDOM TALES (Out On The Road) is a collection of essays, anecdotes, and monologues, written whilst exploring differing countries, cultures, and lifestyles. The rambling conversations follow the years Sarah Leamy spent traveling both alone, and sometimes with Daisy (the Duchess of a dog, a slightly overweight Border Collie).
Have you ever wanted to know
- what it's like to cross the States alone on a motorbike with stilts strapped to the side?
- what to wear to your first day at Circus School?
- how to make adobe bricks for the home you dreamt of building on your own?
- where the dirt roads of Southern Colorado will take your broken heart?
- what a chainsaw wielding 36 year old did in the aftermath of a Hurricane on Sanibel Island?
- how to keep your mouth shut when living at a Buddhist monastery in England?
- what seven thousand women do on camp in Michigan without any men around?
A REVIEW BY LOIS HENDERSON of BOOKPLEASURES.COM
Author: Sarah Leamy (a.k.a. Sleam)
Publisher: Eloquent Books
ASIN: B004WG3F1E (Kindle Book)
From cleaning up a yard on Sanibel Island after hurricane Charley had strewn mayhem the length and breadth of Florida, in the middle of hurricane season, to attending her first day at clown school in the Honduras, Sarah Leamy (a.k.a. Sleam) is more at home living in the Ortiz Mountains of New Mexico with her “beloved canine friend”, Daisy, and her two “adorable” cats than she is in any over-refined (sub)urban setting. As uninhibited as she is free and easy in her lifestyle, she is one of a kind. A rambler at heart, starting out from small-town England to hitching all over Europe and the States, starting with her four main goals in life as “Travel. Dream. Write. Explore,” she shows how her on-the-road experiences cause her to transform her desire in life to finding balance, to being fearless, and to staying open to magic.
Apart from adventuring her way across the U.S.A., let alone exploring the highways and byways (both literally and figuratively) of Central and North America, she is forever searching inwards, taking a harder path than she ever has before. Sleam doesn’t mind letting us in on the struggle that she has with quelling her innermost demons—which artist, after all, does not have some of those? A cross between a modern-day hippy and a backwoods girl, Sleam is as at home with a chainsaw in her hand as she is when penning her “sanity into potential mistakes of a cloudy creative judgment.”
Sleam’s relaxed, happy-go-lucky style of writing suits the dialogue that permeates her pages. Creative at every turn, Sleam questions her own thinking about, and perspective on, elements of her environment with unabashed and seemingly unquenchable vigor. Defiantly original, she is very much her own person, and is determined not to allow anyone else to mold her into their vision of what they want her to be. Only someone as avant-garde as Sleam could possibly include Leyendas de Guatemala, some erotica and The Tao of Pooh in their reading for the day. Her attraction to her companion, Athena, is poignantly conveyed in her telling of how she “woke me up to new possibilities of love and play, creativity and community.” As the collection of wayside encounters unrolls, so, too, does Sleam’s involvement with past affairs, but done in such a tasteful way that it could not give offence to anyone.
In short, Random Tales: Out on the Road requires that you enter into the heart of this adventure with no holds barred. Sleam requires little more from you than an attentive and empathic ear. Her ability to make friends along the way is one of this writer’s chief attributes. If you have an open heart and mind, do read these tales—they’ll be enough to rouse the wanderlust in any who are not moribund from the waist up. Girl, count me in!
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Sarah Leamy has a history of traveling across the States and Europe on her own, talking to and living with the locals in small communities, but she’d put all that aside in her thirties to follow a dream of building herself a straw-bale home in Northern New Mexico. A few years into the hands-on messiness of building adobe bricks one by one, working as a landscaper by day, and with very little by the way of adventures, all that changed suddenly. A dramatic ending to her relationship forced Sarah to face the loss of this dream.
A year later, she met Athena, and a mutual fiery crush lit up between them, both energized by stories of their creative lives. With Athena’s inspiration, Sarah woke up to herself as once again being spontaneous, adventurous and playful. The home front was still painful, with rage and rocks thrown at her by the ex and Sarah had been drained by the drama. So with a crush in her heart, off she went with her faithful dog Daisy, the slightly overweight Border Collie, and drove up to Southern Colorado and into the amazingly beautiful rugged national forest roads. Whilst camping out of her truck with Daisy, Sarah remembered some of the lovers come and gone, seeing clearly finally the patterns and roles of each. Lighthearted she returned briefly to her home in Ojo Caliente, before once again setting out, this time on her 1976 Honda 750cc motorbike. She took the back roads across to northern Michigan, stopping on the way in Madison, Wisconsin, where she had once stayed those first months from England.
During that summer’s travels across to festivals, mountains, and lakes, Sarah understood more and more the meaning of creativity and community in her life. The stories reflect an intense curiosity in how others live and an openness to experience that with them. She offers random memories of living and studying in Germany, clubbing in Russia, hitchhiking and the various motorcycle rides taken on her own in Europe. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but after some years back and forth between the two continents, she applied for a green card, only to be deported a few months later. Her humorous accounts of the immigration confusions she’d experienced over the years comes out in a chapter written whilst living in an Anarchist commune in mid-Tennessee! In North Carolina too, Sarah found more communities to live amongst. She was still trying to come to terms with the loss of the home she had built by hand, and she discovered again the freedom of traveling, performing, observing, and then writing, and how it gave back her laughter and curiosity.
After months on the road, she returned to New Mexico, this time laying down her roots in Madrid, a small artist town south of Santa Fe, a place she had lived once before. Living in a converted green 1948 school bus in the mountains healed her heart, and gave her the strength to follow a little acknowledged dream, to become a professional clown. She traveled to Guatemala with a small case of props and costumes, clowned around with the Mayan kids and worked in a small village store to pay her way for those five months. A year later, Sarah moved to San Francisco, and started studying at the only yearlong professional clown school. She turned 40 years old the month she graduated as a certified fool.
RANDOM TALES (Out On The Road) follows her journeys, internal and external, that brought Sarah from small town England to the mountains of New Mexico.