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Rudy's Rules of Travel by Mary Kay Jensen

About The Book

Rudy’s Rules for Travel:
Life Lessons from Around the Globe

Most honeymoons, Mary knows, do not start this way. Lying outside on the sloping attic roof in Edinburgh, listening to the soft snores of her groom, she realizes that Rudy’s number one rule, “adapt,” once again reigns.

Rudy’s Rules for Travel takes you across the twentieth-century globe with intrepid, frugal Rudy and his spouse Mary, a catastrophic thinker seeking comfort. Whether stalled in a Spanish car tunnel, stranded atop a runaway elephant, or held at rifle-point at a Soviet border, Rudy has a rule for every occasion—for example, “Relax, some kind stranger will appear.” Mary, meanwhile, has her deep breathing and her own commandment: “Expect the worst.”

The two are a picture of contrast. As Mary was being born, Rudy was a new American citizen flying US Air Force missions over his homeland, Germany. His father was a seaman, hers an accountant. And when this marriage of opposites goes traveling, their stories combine laugh-out-loud humor with poignant lessons from the odyssey of a World War II veteran. So start packing—you’ll want to join these two.

About Mary K. Jensen

About The Author

Mary K. Jensen

Mary K. Jensen, PhD is a recovering grants writer. After retiring as Professor Emerita from California State University, Chico, she ventured into her attic and pulled out boxes of trip diaries—raw material for her memoir. Jensen earned her master’s degree at Loyola Marymount University and her doctorate at the University of Oregon, where she was an analyst and author for the federal research clearinghouse ERIC. With experience in teaching, school psychology, administration, and teacher preparation, she has been a popular writer and conference speaker, skilled in translating research findings to school practice. She is a survivor—of cancer twice, and of decades of travel with her irrepressible spouse. She lives in northern California where she relishes her writing group, book clubs, poetry group, walks and friendships.

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Reader Reviews

What People Think About The Book

Traveling in the days before cell phones and Google maps left a lot more room for the unexpected, both good and bad. This was especially so if you were traveling with someone like Rudy whose rules for travel were relaxed in the extreme: adapt, some kind stranger will appear. His wife’s rules are diametrically opposed: remain alert always; expect the worst. Both kinds of travelers will enjoy this memoir, adventuring around the globe with Rudy and Mary, getting into and out of hilarious situations—ever had to explain to border guards with whom you have no common language that Tampons have nothing to do with dynamite? Emotion deepens with the trips that explore Rudy’s past as a German born American bombardier in Europe in World War II. It’s true: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. Enjoy.

Mary Paumier Jones
Co­editor, In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction and In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal

A set of rules for life, by way of a delightful travel narrative.

Jensen and her late husband, World War II veteran Rudy, had diametrically opposite personalities, but their combination makes for excellent stories. The tales can be hilarious or heartbreaking, but all highlight 'Rule #11': 'Relax, Some kind stranger will appear.'

A book that will make readers want to pack their bags and catch the first flight to somewhere far away.

Kirkus Reviews
(starred review)


...A fun and tender memoir. As often as Rudy's rules caused trouble for his anxiety-riddled wife, they also led to astonishing moments of wonder, especially at the kindness and generosity of strangers. Along the way, Rudy's own remarkable story emerges: born in Germany, he became a U.S. citizen during the war and volunteered for air duty, flying missions as a gunner against his homeland. From exotic destinations like Bali to more personal excursions to uncover family history, Rudy's travels are imbued with his unceasing optimism and boundless enthusiasm, leaving the reader convinced that his rules are well worth following.

Booklist,
American Library Association


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