Odyssey to Myself – #New Release

I named this blog “Living Lightly” because that is my intention every single day of my life–to live lightly. I didn’t start out with the lightest of hearts. I’ve had to travel down many roads to arrive where I am today. Perhaps the most traveled decade of my life occurred from 2000-2010 on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. During that decade of falling down, standing up, falling down, and standing up once again, I wrote.

I finally took all those writings–from my columns, blog posts, and journal writings–and put them together in my new book, Odyssey to Myself. The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.

Click here for Kindle version

Click on cover for Kindle version

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Click on cover for paperback

Odyssey to Myself is a world travel guide for trips to Morocco, Italy, Panama, Chile, and down Route 66 in the United States. The compilation of essays show Muslim women dressed in hijabs and working in Casablanca. Moroccan history and food provide a colorful backdrop as the author explores her place in the world.

About Odyssey to Myself:

Take a trip to Casablanca, Marrakech, Tuscany, Bocas del Toro, and Santiago as P.C. Zick writes about her experiences traveling outside the confines of her small world. Observations about life and culture bring to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the ancient alleyways of Fes, the masters of Italy, and the strategic location of Panama. The people of Morocco, Italy, Panama, and Chile come to life through the experiences of the author as she absorbs the cultures so different from her own.

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A Couscous Luncheon in Casablanca

From Odyssey to Myself:

“Traveling removes us from our small safe environment and thrusts out into the world. When I travel, I realize what a tiny ripple my life is in the ocean’s constant waves. A few months ago, I had to endure a full body MRI that lasted more than two hours. I almost swooned when the nurse told me how long I’d be in that long encompassing tunnel. She recommended I remain awake because if I moved after falling asleep, they’d have to pull me out and begin again. I did not want that to happen. My brain fought against any touch of claustrophobia as they closed me in the tube and sent me inside the machine. I frantically searched through the files in my brain. With a little prayer for help, I went into the tube and decided to travel in my memories back to the most important trips of my life.

The first trip I remembered was my visit to Morocco in 2004. I knew it was a watershed year as many things had been happening in my life, and I went on the trip to heal and find direction. I began with my arrival in Casablanca in the early morning hours after flying all night from New York City. It came back so vividly I could even smell and feel the air of my travels during a magical two weeks. Then I started on Italy from 2005, where my daughter and I went for a month to celebrate her graduation from college. I’d only gotten through the first two days when I heard a voice say they were pulling me out of the tunnel. I cursed silently, thinking I must have moved as I remembered walking the streets of Milan and marveling at all the beautiful shoes.

“You were a great patient,” the nurse said. “It didn’t take quite two hours, but almost. You’re done.”

That’s the beauty of travel. It removes us from our world into a kaleidoscope of colors, smells, noises, and textures. This book explores some of those experiences as I embarked on an odyssey to find myself during one of the darkest decades of my life.”

Drinking from the fountain in Assisi

Drinking from the fountain in Assisi

Pope with a Purpose

Pope Francis celebrates his Inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Chicago Tribune

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I’m not Catholic. The news about the old pope resigning and the hoopla about white and black smoke didn’t show up on my radar for breathtaking historical momentum. I didn’t wait anxiously for the announcement of His Holy See.

Then I heard the new pope from Argentina chose his papal name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology. St. Francis preached and lived a life of simplicity. Although he only lived for forty-four years, he left his mark. Now a modern-day pope has finally taken his name. Pope Francis appears to be a worthy heir to the man who followed the teachings of Jesus literally.

I visited the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

Front lawn of the basilica

Front lawn of the basilica

The cathedral was packed with people who were mostly silent as requested by signs. If they became noisy a loud “Shush” came over the loud speakers reminding the crowds of where they were. Perhaps they should have started reminding them outside on the plaza leading up to the cathedral where vendors hawked magnets, photos, necklaces, and T-shirts all emblazoned with renderings of St. Francis. Beneath the lower basilica, are the remains of my favorite saint. When I entered this room, I felt I was walking into the most private and painful of places as women knelt before the tomb crossing themselves and weeping for what private sorrow I know not. I only hope they received what they needed from visiting that dark room. For me, I felt the presence of St. Francis more when I wandered the paths of Tuscany with its blooming flowers and odorous herbs and melodious songs of birds.

Italian roadside poppy

Italian roadside poppy

Pope Francis can’t get away from what the Catholic Church has become, but he can attempt to make a show of his naturalness among the people and a choose simpler way to maneuver through the world.

The name of a pope is no reason to think he’ll make a difference in the world – that only makes me admire his style.

I know there are areas where he could make improvements that would please me, such as allowing women to be priests and allowing same sex marriages, but maybe we have to start at the most basic level and move our way up. His acceptance of other religions and branches of Christianity could open up dialogue in an arena that’s been responsible for too many wars and deaths to this day.

In his own words, to heads of state on the day of his installation Mass: “Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of good will: let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another, and of the environment.”

Maybe there’s a reason and a purpose for all the hoopla. This writer woman in her little world in Pennsylvania sure hopes so. I heard on the news last night that the Catholic Church is suffering from a severe shortage of priests – so much so they’re offering up priesthoods to Anglican priests. I’ve also read about nuns and other women who are fighting for the right to be priests. Duh. . .

What am I missing? Here you go, Pope Francis. Here’s your chance to open your arms and show us that you are living up to your name and your words.