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Travelers – Preview Chapter 1

A Mysterious Traveler. A Sentient Canine.  

A Psychotic Patient…

When psychiatrist Ben Banks loses his daughter, he can’t find a way to heal from his agonizing grief. But when a mystifying and mind-bending trio arrive at the psych ward, the Doctor is forced to confront his deepest fears and beliefs about consciousness and reality−even death.

With Banks’ marriage, career and life hanging by a thread, he must save a young patient from dangers and demons both real and imagined−all the while being transformed forever in this inspiring story of hope, healing and renewal.

TravelersChapter 1

Let me start this book with an apology of sorts. You see, I am a board-certified psychiatrist, not a book writer. I’ve written an occasional article here and there,  but I’m most comfortable making diagnostic assessments, writing chart notes and documenting sessions with patients at a large hospital’s psychiatric unit in Oregon where I have worked for over fifteen years. To remove any confusion, let me disclose upfront that I have no affiliation with the Oregon State Hospital. That’s where they filmed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and have a nearby museum where you can still see Big Indian’s broom and the hydrotherapy room.

That story, I assure you, was pure fiction. What I’m about to share with you, on the other hand, is an accurate a rendition of events to the best of my ability. Naturally, for reasons of confidentiality, I have changed all the names, as well as any details that might reveal the actual persons involved. Still, the key events themselves are undeniable…

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Reviews

Donald Altman’s Travelers is a gripping mystical journey through Time and Space, rooted in the reality of a Psychiatric Hospital. A Psychiatrist journeys into his young patient’s universe and together they fight his inner demons which turn out to be both real and imagined. The outer demons make this book a real thriller in the unique microcosm of the Hospital which reverberates and expands to illuminate the forces unleashed in our world today. Both chilling and moving.

Lyle Kessler, Tony-nominated playwright and screenwriter of Orphans and The Saint of Fort Washington

Travelers acknowledges our relative powerlessness over our thoughts and the need to rely on a higher, deeper, more internal power of unbounded awareness—as an antidote to being close-minded so as to return to health and sanity.

The mutual reciprocity between Professional CareGiver and UnderCaredFor unfolds in various surprising and meaningful ways in this fascinating novel, and reminds me of K-Pax; of Ken Kesey’s hero’s Herculean labors to free the prisoners of Nurse Ratchet and her over-institutionalized mental health system; as well as initiatory and cosmic healing journeys of all kinds, outer and inner and beyond, physical, mental, spiritual, emotional—during which the shadows in the fearsome heart of darkness are revealed as nothing less than the light of spiritual love itself.

It is insights like Dr. Banks’ profound pith instruction, “Just remember no one is either all bad or all good,” that makes Travelers worth reading and savoring in the heart of awakened awareness during these tumultuous, confused and stressful times.

These pages will take you through a door into the realm of Sufi Master and poet Rumi, who advised:

You have no need to travel

anywhere – journey within yourself.

Enter a mine of rubies and bathe

in the splendor of your own light.

Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within

Travelers is a powerful and touching novel of loss, grief and healing. In the tradition of Herman Hesse, this thought-provoking story carries you into new realms of the psyche as it follows the main character in his search for authenticity, self-knowledge, and spirituality. Its timeless message is how love is given, not taken.

John Arden, PhD, psychologist and author of Mind-Brain-Gene

Travelers is a thrilling adventure and journey into the uncharted world of shamanic visions, paranormal states and new dimensions of consciousness. A clinical psychiatrist’s theories, personal life, and medical career are jeopardized through his chance encounter with a mysterious “traveler” at the psych hospital. Donald Altman draws on his extensive experiences as a psychotherapist, former monk and spiritual seeker to weave a narrative full of twists and turns, as compelling as it is inspiring.

David Nez, author of Tree of Visions: Visionary Traditions of the Western World

Travelers is a marvelous book that shows how we all have our little mental boxes, and for psychiatrist Dr. Ben Banks, his have become a prison cell. Then, a new patient, young Mason Delabrey, with his mind-blowing experiences, comes for help. And the boy’s therapy quickly becomes a two-way street that broadens the doctor’s limited perception of himself and his possibilities—even those that exist after death. Something we all need. Highly recommended.

John Nelson, visionary author of I, Human and Matrix of the Gods

Travelers promises a spiritual journey of significance and Altman’s book delivers. While it reads like a true story written by a therapist, the story carries you along on a mystical journey of initiation into another reality. This novel challenges what you assume to be true and how your beliefs can limit you. The story reveals the deeper truth of how those who unexpectedly show up in your life can open your heart and help you consider possibilities beyond the known. The grieving protagonist experiences a deep transformation, and the reader is invited to a deeper understanding of self as well.

Julie Tallard Johnson, LCSW, author of The Clue of the Red Thread and Wheel of Initiation

Donald Altman’s Travelers is a brilliant and beautiful journey into the mystical realms of mind, body, and spirit healing. It is so well written that it immediately draws you into the story of a psychiatrist’s spiritual initiation. It is written from the perspective of someone who has spent countless hours working with patients, studying mindfulness and exploring the vast realms of the interiority.

Travelers is an odyssey of hope, healing and the holistic integration of our fragmented selves.

Michael Stone, trauma facilitator and author of Living a Shamanic Way of Life

Travelers is a beautifully crafted story of the journey of Dr. Banks, a trained psychiatrist coping with his own inner pains and demons along with those of his patients. The author’s professional knowledge of the inner workings of a psychiatric hospital create such vivid reality that the reader wonders if the story is biography, fiction or science fiction. The reader is drawn effortlessly into the town and hospital and home of Dr. Banks, and accepts the strange and wondrous visitors and visions that come to ease his personal pain.

The very human struggle for finding truth and healing adds a veracity to a well-drawn and compelling story that allows the reader to ponder their own attitudes toward the spiritual unknown with greater insight.

Travelers is a quick read but contains depths of knowledge that teach and enlighten and ends with a positive appreciation of the individual potential that exists inside of us all. Highly Recommended.

Doug Lowell, author of Soulmate

Read this book to open your doors of perception! This story casts a quantum spell, triggering ‘spooky action at a distance’ within you. Like the works of Carlos Castaneda, Travelers takes you on a journey beyond the limits of rationality and science that will have you questioning reality.

Travelers is sure to leave an enduring echo of hope reverberating in your heart and spirit long after the words recede into memory. A deeply soul satisfying and meaningful work for our times.

Randall Fitzgerald, author and former Roving Editor of Reader’s Digest