Tag Archives: Travel Essay

Traveling Below the Speed Limit

Traveling Below the Speed Limit by Janet Brown

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Everyone has their favorite way to travel, from cruise ship voyagers to vagabonds on the open road. It’s an all-consuming addiction–but what happens when age begins to slow a traveler down?

Traveling Below the Speed Limit describes different ways of travel and exploration: living in a foreign city, exploring familiar turf, venturing into the unknown territory of aging. A bus pass can serve as a passport; a city of residence can offer undiscovered experiences; a distant metropolis can become home for a month–or a year. And growing old, as that indomitable traveler Martha Gellhorn discovered, can be the last great adventure.

Take a trip with Janet Brown, whose essays show how daily life and travel intertwine as she wanders around Bangkok, finds unfamiliar delights in her home city of Seattle, and learns to enjoy life after sixty.

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Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine by Marcello Di Cintio

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A look at life in contemporary Palestine through the lens of its literary culture

Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999, and as with most outsiders, the narrative he knew was one defined by unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile, and occupation.

In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, he reveals a more complex story—the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literature. Using the form of a political-literary travelogue, he explores what literature means to modern Palestinians and how Palestinians make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium and violence of survival. Taking the long route through the West Bank, into Jerusalem, across Israel, and finally into Gaza, he meets with poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers to learn about Palestine through their eyes, and through the story of their stories.

Di Cintio travels through the rich cultural and literary heritage of Palestine. It’s there that he uncovers a humanity, and a beauty, often unnoticed by news media. At the seventieth anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War, Pay No Heed to the Rockets tells a fresh story about Palestine, one that begins with art rather than war.

About the Author

MARCELLO DI CINTIO is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, winner of the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Di Cintio’s essays have been published in The WalrusCanadian GeographicThe New York TimesCondé Nast Traveller, and Afar. He lives in Calgary.

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The Camino: A Sinner’s Guide

The Camino: A Sinner’s Guide by Eddie Rock

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Aspiring travel writer Eddie Rock has hit hard times. Drowning in a midlife crisis of fear and debt, he looks for a second chance. A fortuitous encounter with false medium Ralph Keeton in Canada triggers his story with warnings in the not-so-distant-future.

A new house, a dangerous woman, an unfortunate brush with the law, and an unforgettable stag party set the tone for Eddie, who hits the road in this timeless European misadventure. Following the footsteps of countless saints and sinners before him, Rock travels the well-trodden road to Santiago de Compostela in search of enlightenment, salvation, and forgiveness, with a full cast of strange and interesting characters, spectacular places and plenty of wine.

Eddie Rock’s book is honest, entertaining, a warts-and-all romp as he takes us on a long walk of alcoholic indiscretions, more brushes with the law and accidental applications of deep heat, all the while providing an entertaining commentary of his surroundings and never taking himself too seriously. It makes for a refreshing change from the usual run of Camino stories, treating the whole thing as some reverential sacred cow!

About the Author

Eddie Rock grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and later lived abroad in England, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, and Egypt. He currently lives in the Galician mountains in Northern Spain. He aspires to one day turn his mountainside farmhouse into a fully functioning writer’s retreat. In his free time, Eddie enjoys chainsaw carving, creating tattoo art on wood, and playing music. The Camino de Santiago: A Sinner’s Guide is his first book.

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From Source to Sea: Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames

From Source to Sea: Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames by Tom Chesshyre

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Over the years, authors, artists and amblers aplenty have felt the pull of the Thames, and now travel writer Tom Chesshyre is following in their footsteps.

He’s walking the length of the river from the Cotswolds to the North Sea – a winding journey of over two hundred miles. Join him for an illuminating stroll past meadows, churches and palaces, country estates and council estates, factories and dockyards. Setting forth in the summer of Brexit, and meeting a host of interesting characters along the way, Chesshyre explores the living present and remarkable past of England’s longest and most iconic river.

About the Author

Tom Chesshyre’s train travels include an 11,000-mile jaunt around Europe for his book on the European high-speed train revolution, and thousands of miles more across the UK for his weekly hotel column in The Times. Tom has visited 94 countries for his writing.

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The Best American Travel Writing 2018

The Best American Travel Writing 2018 by Cheryl Strayed (Editor), Jason Wilson (Editor)

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Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing,curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into places that many will never see or experience except through the eyes and words of these writers” (Kirkus). This far-ranging collection of top notch travel writing is, quite simply, the genre’s gold standard.

About the Author

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard. Wild was selected as the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and also received an Indies Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Strayed’s writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Rumpus—where she has written the popular “Dear Sugar” column since 2010—and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and their two children.

Jason Wilson

JASON WILSON is the author of Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine and Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits. He writes regularly for the Washington Post and the New York Times. Wilson has been the series editor of The Best American Travel Writing since its inception in 2000. His work can be found at jasonwilson.com.

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Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

SwellSwell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening by Captain Liz Clark

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True surfers understand that surfing is not a sport, a hobby or even a lifestyle. Instead, it is a path, a constantly evolving journey that directs where you go, how you live, and who you are. In 2006, Liz Clark decided to follow the path that surfing, sailing and love of the ocean had presented to her. Embarking on an adventure that most only dream of taking, she set sail from Santa Barbara, solo, headed to the South Pacific. Nine years later she is still following her path in search of surf and self and the beauty and inspiration that lies beyond the beaten path. In stories overflowing with epic waves and at the whim of the weather, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail, telling tales of self awareness, solitude, connection to the earth, and really great surf spots.

When Liz Clark was nine, her family spent seven months sailing down Mexico’s Pacific coast. After returning to land life in San Diego, she dreamed of seeing the world by sailboat one day. While earning her BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara, she fell in love with surfing. After college, she turned her voyaging dream into reality, sailing south from Southern California through Central America and the Pacific Islands. For more than a decade, she has kept her nomadic ocean lifestyle going through writing, blogging, photography, representing conscious brands, and earning recognition as a surf adventurer, environmental activist, and captain. She hopes to inspire people to live their passions and reconnect with nature and our inherent oneness. She was featured in the film Dear and Yonder (2009), and nominated for National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2015.

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Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie Rosenbloom

Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie Rosenbloom

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“In Paris (or anywhere else, really) a table for one can be a most delightful place.” —Alone Time, as seen in The New York Times

A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of traveling solo

In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller—and even in one’s own city—is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world—patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds—in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others.

Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations—Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York—are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associated with the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives—facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend—and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures.

Stephanie Rosenbloom is the staff columnist for the Travel section of The New York Times, where she has been a reporter for various desks (including Styles, Business, and Real Estate) for more than a decade. She has appeared on CNN’s American Morning, NBC’s The Today Show, and NPR’s The Takeaway.

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Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

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Part pop history and part whimsical memoir in the spirit of National Lampoon’s VacationDon’t Make Me Pull Over!is a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—a halcyon era that culminated in the latter part of the twentieth century, before portable DVD players, iPods, and Google Maps.

In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them—from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.

The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. Frequently, what was remembered the longest wasn’t Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, or Disney World, but such roadside attractions as “The Thing” in Texas Canyon, Arizona, or “The Mystery Spot” in Santa Cruz, California. In this road tourism-crazy era that stretched through the 1970’s, national parks attendance swelled to 165 million, and a whopping 2.2 million people visited Gettysburg each year, thirteen times the number of soldiers who fought in the battle.

Now, decades later, Ratay offers a paean to what was lost, showing how family togetherness was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions and the urge to “get there now.” In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio.

A rousing Ratay family ride-along, Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together—for better and worse—have largely disappeared.

Richard Ratay was the last of four kids raised by two mostly attentive parents in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and has worked as an award-winning advertising copywriter for twenty-five years. Ratay lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with his wife, Terri, their two sons, and two very excitable rescue dogs.

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Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier by Mark Adams

Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier by Mark Adams

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From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu, a fascinating and funny journey into Alaska, America’s last frontier, retracing the historic 1899 Harriman Expedition.

In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a most unusual summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska: He converted a steamship into a luxury “floating university,” populated by some of America’s best and brightest scientists and writers, including the anti-capitalist eco-prophet John Muir. Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. More than a hundred years later, Alaska is still America’s most sublime wilderness, both the lure that draws a million tourists annually on Inside Passage cruises and a natural resources larder waiting to be raided. As ever, it remains a magnet for weirdos and dreamers.

Armed with Dramamine and an industrial-strength mosquito net, Mark Adams sets out to retrace the 1899 expedition. Using the state’s intricate public ferry system, the Alaska Marine Highway System, Adams travels three thousand miles, following the George W. Elder‘s itinerary north through Wrangell, Juneau, and Glacier Bay, then continuing west into the colder and stranger regions of the Aleutians and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, he encounters dozens of unusual characters (and a couple of very hungry bears) and investigates how lessons learned in 1899 might relate to Alaska’s current struggles in adapting to climate change.

Mark Adams is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Meet Me in Atlantis and Turn Right at Machu Picchu. A writer for many national magazines, including GQ, Men’s Journal, and New York, he lives near New York City with his wife and children.

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Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

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VIGNETTES OF TRAVEL WRITING FROM AROUND THE GLOBE IN TWENTY SIX  A – Z  STORIES, PEOPLED WITH ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS–In Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club acclaimed travel writer Paul Gogarty shares his life on the road in 26 A-Z stories recording his very particular engagement with some highly eccentric characters. An eclectic range of destinations sees Gogarty skiing in Algeria, deep sea fishing in Kenya and attending a George Formby ukulele convention in Blackpool. Often hilarious, these tales range from an end-of-the-line bachelor auction in Alaska to attending the Henley-on-Todd Regatta in the parched dustbowl of Alice Springs. A passion for music is a thread running through several of the stories. In “Caister Soul Weekender” Gogarty checks into an East Anglian static caravan site for three days of dance, Red Bull and camaraderie. After hanging out with country wannabes in Nashville and attending the Delta Blues Festival in Greenville his car breaks down at the very crossroads where bluesman Robert Johnson reputedly sold his soul to the devil in return for guitar mastery. Nor is Gogarty afraid to sign up for the bizarre, whether visiting a homemade Stonehenge, taking an Arctic plunge protected only by swimming trunks, or learning the arcane art of healing and dowsing for hereditary diseases in Basingstoke. This collection showcases the diversity and possibilities of travel writing. More than anything else these tales underline a fascination with people and an openness to experience the world in all its diversity.

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