Never a Stranger

From her past in Croatia and Russia, to finding a son in Bhutan, to befriending women in Africa, one woman's stories of travel, connection, and self-discovery.

Non-Fiction - Travel
270 Pages
Reviewed on 02/19/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

Every now and then I come across a book that I wish everyone would read. Never a Stranger: From her past in Croatia and Russia, to finding a son in Bhutan, to befriending women in Africa, one woman’s stories of travel, connection, and self-discovery by Tania Romanov is one of those. A blend of award-winning travel stories, memoir, and photographs, it unfolds a theme of the discovery of ourselves and the world around us in an utterly readable, relatable, and emotionally engaging style. In a world of accented polarities, it’s a refreshing and touching journey into remote places and unexpected experiences that unite us as one humanity. The stories cross several continents and cultures. Interlaced with poignancy and humor, they educate and inspire, enlighten and entertain, satisfy our urge for adventure, and leave us feeling hopeful and reassured.

In Never a Stranger, Tania Romanov gives us personal stories of travel and adventure which introduced her to unforgettable places and people. In recounting them, she shares with us not only the uniqueness of the settings and cultures that she encountered but also her personal insight, philosophy, and reflection. Romanov travels light in life, building on her own family’s roots of exile and flight until they found a refuge in the United States. Not constrained by her own European culture and American views of what world travel should entail in comfort and itinerary, she bypasses the tourist traps and souvenir shops of the world to experience the real lives of real people. A wonderful read from an exceptionally talented author and photographer. Highly recommended.

Vincent Dublado

From tracing her past to her beloved Croatia and Russia to finding a personal connection to different parts of the globe, Tania Romanov’s Never a Stranger is an affirmation of the need for human beings to experience travel at least once in their lives. There is no doubt that Ms. Romanov is no ordinary traveler because reading her chronicles traces her footsteps not only to the wonders of what other places can offer. In this travel book cum memoir, adventure is a tapestry where courage, friendship, family, and love are the threads that unravel it. Openness to trying new things and connecting with others, even if their culture is different from yours, are what make a well-defined traveler.

Self-discovery is an overrated word. We often claim to take a break to find ourselves in the process. It is therapeutic because it assures us that we have a place in the universe; that we can find ourselves out there. While the growing number of tourists and travelers are becoming more well-informed and objective as to why they packed their bags, the missing portion has still something to do with identity. And this is what makes Tania Romanov’s Never a Stranger different from a typical journey. She finds her identity reflected in the eyes of those she encounters. Her genuine interest in others achieves her sense of connection. Such a connection gives her a different vantage point that gives her renewal. And reading her story could have the same effect. May this book open you up to a new perspective the next time you travel.

K.C. Finn

Never A Stranger is a work of non-fiction written in the format of a series of travel stories that follow a common theme, aimed at readers of all ages and penned by author Tania Romanov. It begins with the author as a young woman, who comes from a long line of people constantly forced to uproot themselves, and develops into the author as an intrepid traveler and keen adventurer who learns many life lessons from the cultures and communities she visits on her odyssey. Subtitled “From her past in Croatia and Russia, to finding a son in Bhutan, to befriending women in Africa, one woman's stories of travel, connection, and self-discovery”, the book highlights the power of travel as a tool for self-improvement and development.

In a world where international politics is creating a very divisive view of people and places, a book like this delivers unity, and the commonalities of human beings and their emotions, no matter how different they first seem. Author Tania Romanov contextualizes herself and her roots from the off, and in this world of constant change and hardship, we become rooted to her as she ventures out into the world. Romanov writes with heartfelt prose that feels like light reading but builds to paint gorgeous images of culture, belief, family, and love that will stay with readers for a long time after each story has been told. What results in Never A Stranger is a superb collection with a lot of eye-opening and unifying experiences for us all to learn from and share.