Good People: Memoirist & Uke Rocker Pam Mandel

KelseyTimmerman · 33: Pam Mandel

Pam Mandel left suburbia for a lifetime of travel when she was only 17. She writes about her early travel days in her new memoir THE SAME RIVER TWICE.

Pam joined Kelsey and Jay to chat about hitchhiking, travel, questioning intentions while doing good, the time she went to the airport to help a refugee, founding a nonprofit, and, of course, jamming in a ukelele rock band.

Buy Pam’s book

Pam’s Uke FAQ

My Review of The Same River Twice

I love to travel. I love being a “girl dad” to a brave and compassionate tween. I hope I’m the kind of dad that raises my daughter to be smart and strong and curious and want to discover the world on her own. I hope that someday she comes to me and says, “Dad, I want to travel.” And when that day comes, I’ll hand her Pam Mandel’s “The Same River Twice.” 

At the age of 17, Pam began years of travel, opening her eyes to the kindness and cruelty of strangers while examining her own privilege. Pam falls in love with the world and sometimes her fellow travelers. She experiences love and abuse, wonder and ignorance. 

I began traveling in my early 20s and, like Pam, never really stopped. As I read about Pam’s travels, I reflected on my own dirtbag days where I’d eat one meal a day and sleep in parks or train stations when I ran out of money. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever been bit by the travel bug, or, as Pam puts it, “the magnetic pull of adventure.” 

Somethings in life you can’t read about to learn. You have to experience them yourself. So when I hand my daughter “The Same River Twice,” it won’t be so that she’ll avoid Pam’s mistakes (although I hope she does) or follow Pam’s path to becoming a person I greatly admire, it’ll be so my daughter can see what growing curious, growing consciousness, growing compassion, growing ideas, growing self-reliance, and growing up look like. 

Pam’s Uke rock bank The Castaways


Amanda Palmer’s Ukelele Anthem

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