Judy Williams de Chantal released a book recently about her adventures as a young woman traveling from the Pacific Northwest to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the wilderness of Canada and back to Washington state during the 1970s.
Friends have asked de Chantal if several of the events in the book really happened or if she made them up, saying they simply couldn’t believe she ever would have done those things.
De Chantal assures readers that everything written in “Significant Journey” did happen. In fact, several details were left out of the memoir, some of which are available online as omitted chapters. Others, she said mischievously, are best left undocumented.
“We were young and we did a lot of foolish things,” de Chantal said.
“The book is about all of the funny things that happened and some serious things, too.”
As a young adult, Judy Williams left her nursing job in the Puget Sound area to spend a few weeks traveling abroad with a female friend she met skiing. They explored Europe, the Middle East and Asia, living in a Volkswagen van and spending only $5 a day on either food or gas. What started out as a few weeks soon turned into an entire year.
When her friend returned to work, Williams continued her adventure with Alain de Chantal, a French Canadian hitchhiker from Quebec whom she met in Rome and eventually married. Before long, the year of travel had turned into five.
Throughout it all, de Chantal kept a detailed journal. When the time came to write a book, all of the memories and experiences were as fresh as the day they happened.
“Significant Journey” chronicles de Chantal’s trip, including attending Oktoberfest in Germany, being arrested in Turkey, enduring food poisoning and almost killing her husband, Alain (accidentally).
As well as remembering the fun and exciting things she experienced, de Chantal shares her rediscovery of Christ in the book.
“On the trip, we didn’t live a very Christian life,” she said, admitting to straying from the religious beliefs her parents instilled as a child. “But after I saw all these places that were talked about in the Bible and saw that they were real, religion became more important to me.”
Though she wandered off the path, she never stopped believing in God, de Chantal insisted, and she sensed his hand of protection at the end of every road she traveled.
“I hope people see that I had no bitterness toward religion, I just drifted away from the lifestyle in which I was raised,” she said. “Then I found my way back.”
Today, de Chantal celebrates 36 years of marriage with her husband. After their travels, the couple settled on the North Olympic Peninsula, where they raised their two daughters on a farm full of sheep, goats and horses.
De Chantal always has been interested in writing. During her senior year in high school, she was the editor of the school paper. She went on to write humorous articles for Public Health and Tennessee Walking Horse publications and has had a few stories published in Christian publications for young people.
Hiking, bike riding, reading, oil painting, knitting and designing children’s clothes are just a few of
de Chantal’s other hobbies. Her oil paintings have sold in galleries and on the Internet to customers worldwide.
“Significant Journey” is published by TEACH Services, Inc., a company dedicated to publishing and distributing Christian books since 1984.
The book is available on the publisher’s Website at http://TEACHServices.com, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and by special order at local bookstores.
Reader reviews, additional photographs, a complete list of countries visited and omitted chapters are all on the author’s website at www.gypsysong.net/.