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Reviews

Travels with Herodotus

T

In 1955, just out of university, the Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski made his first disoriented forays into the world outside the Iron Curtain. He had only dreamed of the simple act of “crossing the border”. Instead, he found himself sent to India, then China, and then Africa as a foreign correspondent. Untrained for the job and unsure of himself, he takes along a copy of...

Untitled #23

U

In addition to reviewing classic works of travel literature, I’d also like to draw your attention to works of outstanding artistic merit. The sort of thing that’s likely to appeal to those who enjoy my prose. The music of The Church has formed the soundtrack for every journey I’ve ever taken. Allow me to introduce you to their latest album: Untitled #23.     Untitled...

As a Friend

A

I normally stick to recommending classics of travel literature, but I’m going to break my own habit because I enjoyed this book so much. This slim first novel from renowned poet Forrest Gander punches well above its weight in ounces. It’s the perfect size for the side pocket of your backpack, and great travel reading because, like poetry, you’ll find yourself returning to it...

Vehicle-Dependent Expedition Guide

V

Ten years after its original release — and at least eight years since second-hand copies began fetching astronomical prices on eBay — the bible of overlanding is available once more. It’s no longer an underground secret of expedition professionals, because independent travel should be accessible to anyone. Whether you’re planning a weekend excursion close to home or a major crossing...

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

T

Though Henry Miller’s book on Greece, The Colossus of Maroussi, is generally regarded as his greatest achievement, he also wrote a second travel book which should be regarded as a definite classic of the genre. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare chronicles Miller’s return to America in 1939, hot on the heels of the Greek trip referred to above, and from what he believed would be an open...

Travels in Arabia Deserta

T

Charles Doughty’s imposing 1,400 page tome is one of those strange books many people hail as a masterpiece of travel literature but which few of those people have read. Famous among scholars of Arab history and culture, it’s more often been described as “an achievement” than a gripping read. But thanks to this well chosen selection from Dover Publications, the casual...

Riding Theroux’s Ghost Train

R

If you want to write meaningful travel literature, you’ve got to immerse yourself in everything that’s been published in the genre. In addition to reading broadly, I’ve made it a habit to read deeply of specific writers whose work truly resonates with me. I first read everything they’ve ever published. Next, I read their collected letters and journals. After that comes...

Painkiller

P

Every journey needs a soundtrack. The music of The Church has always formed the backdrop of mine. The band’s singer, Steve Kilbey, an accomplished lyricist, poet, blogger and painter, has also been one of my most significant writing influences. Allow me to introduce you to Kilbey’s recent solo album: Painkiller.   I’ve made it a habit — well, call it a ritual — that each...

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