Tag

travel literature

The Best Books I Read in 2020

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Do you have a book addiction? Well I’m here to make it worse. I love a good reading list like a hobo loves Aqua Velva. As the year comes to a close, and as dark Berlin huddles beneath a pandemic sky, I’d like to take a moment to share my top reads from the past twelve months. Each book made my list because it was memorable, important, or just thoroughly enjoyable. And each is worth your time. I...

Do you believe in the spirit of place?

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The novelist and island writer Lawrence Durrell believed we are each aligned with certain places. This is where we do our best work because we resonate with the Spirit of Place.  He believed landscape is not a projection of the psyche — an interpretation of your surroundings based on your interior — but a tutelary spirit which guides the growth of personality and art. This isn’t an original...

Will travel writing survive COVID-19?

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The future looks bleak for travel writing — at least, for the highly commercialized side — but I don’t think this is true for travel literature. They aren’t the same thing. What’s on the ropes? Most commercial travel writing exists symbiotically with the tourism industry, living off press junkets, review writing and advertising. It’s designed to sell a product or a destination. This side of...

The Riverbones

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It’s been a while since I reviewed a recent travel book. This one stood out among the books I read last month. The Riverbones by Andrew Westoll Andrew Westoll spent a year as a primatologist chasing monkeys through the jungles of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. He returned five years later as a writer obsessed with finding the secret soul of this poorly understood country. Few...

The Saddest Pleasure

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Born in 1915 to great wealth in Seattle, Moritz Thomsen died miserably poor in the tropics, of cholera, in 1991. He served as a bombardier in WWII, farmed in California, and at age 44 gave it all up to join the recently-formed Peace Corps. His book about that experience, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the best Peace Corps memoirs ever written. When his service was over, he chose to remain. He...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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