Hey everyone, how is your ‘Stay at home’ time going?

This semester’s classes have all been changed to online classes. Even though school has already started this year, it still means ‘stay at home’ to me and most of the students.

While we cannot physically go out and experience the world, why not try to get some inspiration from the ladder of the progress of mankind a.k.a, books?

About the Book

I want to introduce one book I have read recently. It is called “West with the Night”. It is not written by a famous writer but by the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west in a solo non-stop flight Beryl Markham.

It chronicles many episodes of the writer Beryl’s life from the time she followed her father to Africa at the age of four to her flight across the Atlantic in 1936.

Whether the episode of when she followed native hunters hunting warthogs as a child, tamed a famous horse on her own, or flew a plane to track elephant herds across the grasslands, each story was so charming that it could have been pulled out of a Planet Earth-like documentary.

Just a little spoiler alert!

I don’t want to talk about the content of the book too much since it will take away the pleasure when you are reading the book.

So just a little!

On a rainy night in September 1936, Beryl flew the Weaver Silver Gull from Abingdon Military Base in England, heading west in the night, destined for New York. During the voyage Beryl suffered storms, engine shutdown, and a swamp forced landing, but she made it in the end.

In the book, she recalled the moment the engine died: instinctive fear made her want to immediately pull the joystick away from the surface, but expertise ordered her to fly toward the surface to reduce altitude and gain speed. In the moment of the battle between fear and sanity, she felt her hands become “the hands of strangers” and swooped out to sea with relentless precision to follow the flight code. She described the strange feeling as, “It’s like being surprised to find a stranger walking alongside you in the night. And you are the stranger.”

What impressed me the most

“You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make an alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents – each man to see what the other looked like.”

Feelings about loneliness are extremely complex and can be understood whether one chooses to escape or not. But it would also be a way of knowing myself if I could think more, like a day at home alone right now, and write about the feelings this book brings to me.

Please don’t miss it!

For me, the book gave me the chance to experience a totally different world and feelings. Even though I will not have the chance to be a pilot to view the world from another angle, the book gave me the opportunity to experience a totally different world and to see and to feel the world through Beryl’s eyes.

So if you are thinking about picking up a new book or want to find some new experience, please don’t miss it! 😊

J.F. (Student Staff Leader)