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

Mary K Jensen (Author)


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.

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
She Writes Press
Publish Date
April 10, 2018
5.5 X 0.69 X 8.5 inches | 0.6 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

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. Visit her at


2019 IPPY Silver Medal Winner in Travel - Essay 2019 Kirkus Reviews, named a Best Book of the Year 2019 Independent Book Publishers Association Gold Medalist in Travel 2019 Independent Book Publishers Association Silver Medalist in Memoir 2019 Independent Book Publishers Awards Silver Medalist in Travel 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finalist in Travel/Travel Guide 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finalist in Memoir (Other) 2019 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Nonfiction--Travel 2019 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Finalist in Travel "A set of rules for life, by way of a delightful travel narrative... A book that will make readers want to pack their bags and catch the first flight to somewhere far away." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Traveling with Rudy was not easy. The school principal and WWII veteran was determined to stretch every dollar to its limit, meet the locals, and get off the beaten tourist path, as his long-suffering wife attests in this fun and tender memoir. 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."

"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, Co-editor, In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction and In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal

"A delightful, engaging memoir of trips and tribulations as a security-loving wife travels with her fearless husband. Throughout their travels Rudy follows his basic rules, including 'ride with locals, not tourists'; 'never shower alone'; and 'relax, some kind stranger will appear.' These rules play out in experiences that most tourists miss, from a half-price elephant ride in Thailand to a Christmas non-celebration in Russia and a night on a hammock in Mexico. A must-read for anyone who travels, and especially for couples who travel together. You may see your trips differently after you read this endearing book."
--Kay Paumier, President, Communications Plus

"This is not another simple travel book, for Jensen achieves the deeper texture of great writers, as the facts spill out about Rudy, charged to see people in the world beyond tourist traps, and her attempts to match him, while pleading for a night in a real hotel. So we get one gleeful voyager, and the narrator, not so eager. Whether she recounts their madcap tour to 1983 Russia, or takes us to Rudy's World War II bomber base, her insights into the metaphysics of travel make this memoir sing. Travel, this book reveals, is the profound test of a purposeful life."
--William Woodson, Ph.D., English Literature Specialist, Dean of Graduate Studies now retired, Illinois State University

"Among the reasons people ride on roller coasters are experiencing thrills and surprise and testing personal boundaries, but, unlike traveling independently overseas, roller coasters are basically predictable. Mary K. Jensen, while crafting warm, vivid pictures of the places she and her fearless husband, Rudy, visited, makes it possible for us to feel what it is like to be pulled along, always wondering what's coming next on trips to new destinations. While rewarding readers with insights gained from the encounters that she and Rudy had, this book inspires stepping into the unknown."
--David Tykol, Editor of International Travel News

"Mary K. Jensen's delightful writing hooks you into each chapter, making you laugh out loud at her observations and humor. I would have liked to spend my vacations with these two travelers, but I am glad I could at least take these journeys through her writings. "
--Cathy Chase, Author of Jump

"This intelligent and entertaining memoir, Rudy's Rules For Travel, has fun with the lifetime perambulations of Mary and her late husband, a World War II airman who had faced the terror of death on an almost daily basis, and survived. Rudy came out of this character-shaping experience with both a zest for living and a fearless attitude. Their travels followed Rudy's rules, the most important of which was --to trust in the kindness of strangers. This memoir is an insightful record of humane interactions and a hilarious account of their journeys, with a laugh on almost every page."
-- Charles B. Churchill, Ph.D. historian and author, Adventurers and Prophets and Through the Needle's Eye: Elite Rule and the Illusions of Freedom

"Armchair travelers and their active counterparts, spouses who have traveled or are thinking of traveling together, solo trekkers, women journeyers and dysfunctional spouses will enjoy this work." --Library Journal Xpress