Paddling to Winter
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Who was your favorite “character?” Why?
2. What qualities did Charly and Julie each bring that made this trip possible? What about each of them made parts of the trip easier or more difficult? What strengths or weaknesses would you bring to such a trip?
3. What adventures would you like to take? What needs to happen to make this occur? Would you and your partner ever consider a voyage like this and does your relationship have what it takes to make such a trip?
4. Julie and Charly’s families have very different reactions to this trip. How would your parents have reacted to your decision to make this journey? How would you have reacted as a parent?
5. Charly’s relationship with his mother-in-law shifts throughout the book. The same could be said for Julie and her father-in-law. Name ways that your relationships with your in-laws or others have evolved over the years.
6. Who was your favorite person from along the trail? Have you relied on the kindness of strangers? Or ever been that stranger who lends a helping hand?
7. Modes of communication and in particular, handwritten letters are such an significant part of this story. In what essential ways would their trip have been different in this age of smartphones, GPS tracking, and handheld computers? How does getting a letter differ from getting an email? Do you still write letters?
8. The book is definitely about more than one kind of adventure. What journeys did you identify? Which ones held the most meaning for you?
9. Julie and Charly both have unexpected reactions to the end of the trip. Was Julie justified in her response? Charly? What does it show about their character? Have you ever had to delay or give something up for reasons beyond your control?