The Enlightened Joy of Being: Tales From a Young Man in Love with Life

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His name was Jeffrey Brown, but he called himself Jeff and spelled his name Jeph. Everyone loved him - and why wouldn't they? He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with a zest for life that you could see immediately in the sparkle of his eyes and the bounce in his walk. Jeff Brown was a magnet; his was the kind of personality that attracted people and held them close.

To say that he had an adventurous spirit would be an enormous understatement. He was a young, college-aged researcher who found himself bitten by the travel and learning bug, following in the footsteps of the famous beat-era author Jack Kerouac. Kerouac's classic novel On The Road was Jeff's blueprint for living, Jeff's way of getting the most from every moment.

For Jeff Brown, it was a matter of so little time, yet so many places to see and experience: jaunts across some of the most fascinating regions of Africa; travelling North America from stem to stern, Arizona to Athabasca; marvellous, magical journeys across Asia and Europe with a side trip to South America.

He travelled by himself, he travelled with his friends, and he travelled with his father Robert. And he didn't just preserve those memories in his mind; he kept a detailed travel diary and he used e-mail extensively to record the details of those trips while staying in touch with friends and family back home.

Sadly, Jeff died in 2006 in a bizarre railroad accident while out on yet another of his adventures. His father Robert has honoured the memory of his son with a recently released book entitled The Enlightened Joy of Being. The book is a compilation of Jeff's travel and wanderlust writings, supplemented by Robert's own stories of adventures on the road, travelling in the company of his beloved son.

The book - a tribute from a father to a son - makes for fascinating, compelling reading, yet, it is heart-breaking, too. For as much as The Enlightened Joy of Being celebrates life so, too, does it account for the sad inevitability of life passing. There is a subtle sense of melancholy woven through the pages and chapters of the book. Perhaps it is the father's grief showing itself; perhaps it is simply the recognition of a young life taken too early.

What becomes crystal-clear in The Enlightened Joy of Being is that this father-and-son travel team shared a special, unique bond. They were family - and they were great friends.

This, in his own words, is what the father learned from the son he loved so dearly:

"Jeff thought a lot about life and came to the conclusion that our time on Earth is meant to be one big adventure - that we should live life to the fullest and to do it with confidence and optimism. I think he was on to something. I invite you to join in some of Jeff's adventures through the short stories in this book and hopefully get a glimpse into the enlightened joy of being that was Jeff's life."

The Enlightened Joy of Being
by Jeffrey D.R. Brown and Robert D. Brown
ISBN: 9780981317403
$19.99

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JENNIFER SALLANS
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