Tom Lutz is on a mission to visit every country on earth. And the Monkey Learned Nothing contains reports from fifty of them, most describing personal encounters in rarely visited spots, anecdotes from way off the beaten path. Traveling without an itinerary and without a goal, Lutz explores the Iranian love of poetry, the occupying Chinese army in Tibet, the amputee beggars in Cambodia, the hill tribes on Vietnam’s Chinese border, the sociopathic monkeys of Bali, the dangerous fishermen and conmen of southern India, the salt flats of Uyumi in Peru, and floating hotels in French Guiana, introduces you to an Uzbeki prodigy in the market of Samarkand, an Azeri rental car clerk in Baku, guestworkers in Dubai, a military contractor in Jordan, cucuruchos in Guatemala, a Pentecostal preacher in rural El Salvador, a playboy in Nicaragua, employment agents in Singapore specializing in Tamil workers, prostitutes in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, international bankers in Belarus, a teacher in Havana, border guards in Botswana, tango dancers in Argentina, a cook in Suriname, a juvenile thief in Uruguay, voters in Guyana, doctors in Tanzania and Lesotho, scary poker players in Moscow, reed dancers in Swaziland, young camel herders in Tunisia, Romanian missionaries in Macedonia, and musical groups in Mozambique. With an eye out for both the sublime and the ridiculous, Lutz falls, regularly, into the instant intimacy of the road with random strangers.
Arc and the Sediment: a Novel
Christine Allen-Yazzie Utah State University Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3601.L439A73 2007 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Gretta Bitsilly, a gin-steeped mother of two and self-proclaimed expert at standing just outside the margins of ethnicity and peering in, has been all but eclipsed by the world that eludes her—as a wife, as a writer, as a skeptic in "the other land of Zion," Utah. Gretta has set off to Fort Defiance, Arizona, where she hopes to convince her Navajo husband, who has escaped not from his family but from alcoholism, to come home. Over a sputtering two-steps-forward, one-step-back desert journey, Gretta is diverted by chance, by seizures, an inconstant memory, and the disjointed character of her irresolute quest. She is fueled by a volatile mix of rage and curiosity and is rendered careless by ambivalence toward her marriage—she knows a welcome mat will not be waiting for her, "that white girl" who can't seem to get anything right. On route Gretta fi nds herself lost in the landscape, in strange company, or in her own convolution of language and inner space. With a dictionary and a laptop she attempts to write herself into a better existence—a hopeful existence—and to connect points of intellectual, physical, even spiritual reference.
This tale, though dark and difficult, is infused with tart, twisted humor. Confused, disheveled, self-deprecating, and self-destructive, Gretta is also sharp and funny. Here, first-time novelist Christine Allen-Yazzie breaks apart her own narrative arc but with gritty reality seals it near-shut again, if in rearrangement, drawing us into Gretta's wrestling match with herself, her husband, her addiction, and the road.
The Arc and the Sediment received an honorable mention from the James Jones First Novel Competition, and it won the Utah Arts Council Annual Writing Competiton Publishing Prize.
The Black Penguin
Andrew Evans University of Wisconsin Press, 2018 Library of Congress G465.E835 2017 | Dewey Decimal 910.4092
As an awkward gay kid—bullied, bored, and eventually ejected from the Mormon Church—Andrew Evans escaped into the glossy pages of National Geographic and the wide promise of the world atlas. The Black Penguin chronicles his journey riding public transportation toward his ultimate goal: Antarctica. Part memoir, part travel tale, and part love story, with each new mile comes laughter, pain, unexpected friendships, true weirdness, and hair-raising moments that eventually lead to a singular discovery on a remote beach at the bottom of the world.
Through personal journeys both interior and across the globe, Alden Jones investigates what motivates us to travel abroad in search of the unfamiliar.
By way of explorations to Costa Rica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, and around the world on a ship, Jones chronicles her experience as a young American traveler while pondering her role as an outsider in the cultures she temporarily inhabits. Her wanderlust fuels a strong, high-adventure story and, much in the vein of classic travel literature, Jones's picaresque tale of personal evolution informs her own transitions, rites of passage, and understandings of her place as a citizen of the world. With sharp insight and stylish prose, Jones asks: Is there a right or wrong way to travel? The Blind Masseuse concludes that there is, but that it's not always black and white.
American writer and world traveler Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–1894) was author of more than fifty short stories, four novels, a novella, and numerous poems and travel essays. During her lifetime, she achieved both popular and critical success, but much of her work is no longer available. This volume, as the first anthology to collect representative samples of her stories, travel sketches, poems, and correspondence, represents a major advance toward re-establishing her place in nineteenth-century literature and letters. As these pieces demonstrate, Woolson offered keen observations on the issues she cared most deeply about, namely the cultural and political transformation of the United States in the wake of the Civil War, the status of women writers and artists in the nineteenth century, and the growing implications of nationalism and imperialism.
Woolson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and began her career writing regional travel stories about the closing of the American frontier in the old Northwest Territories (now known as the Great Lakes region). During the Civil War, she worked for a variety of Union causes and in 1873 moved to St. Augustine, Florida. Traveling throughout the South, she wrote stories and travel narratives that highlighted the wholesale changes facing Americans after the Civil War.
In 1879, Woolson left the United States for Europe. There, she engaged her passion for nature and exercised her gift for social satire. In her European writings, she deplored the Americans’ slavish devotion to the ubiquitous guidebooks of the nineteenth century, and she chose instead to spend long periods of time in one place in order to better learn about it. Throughout her time in Europe (including visits to North Africa), Woolson often commented that she could not describe landscapes, only experience them. By the time of her death in Venice at age fifty-three, she had become convinced that the colonial agendas of the United States and Europe would transform landscapes and peoples in far-reaching and ultimately dangerous ways.
This collection features selections from each of the three distinct periods of Woolson’s career and includes a chronology of her life and travels. Focusing primarily on Woolson’s short stories, editors Victoria Brehm and Sharon L. Dean also include a representative letter, poem, and travel sketch for each section.
Victoria Brehm is associate professor of English at Grand Valley State University. She is editor of three anthologies, including “A Fully Accredited Ocean”: Essays on the Great Lakes and Sweetwater, Storms, and Spirits: Stories of the Great Lakes.
Sharon L. Dean is professor of English at Rivier College and is author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Homeward Bound and Constance Fenimore Woolson and Edith Wharton: Perspectives on Landscape and Art.
In 1550 the German adventurer Hans Staden was serving as a gunner in a Portuguese fort on the Brazilian coast. While out hunting, he was captured by the Tupinambá, an indigenous people who had a reputation for engaging in ritual cannibalism and who, as allies of the French, were hostile to the Portuguese. Staden’s True History, first published in Germany in 1557, tells the story of his nine months among the Tupi Indians. It is a dramatic first-person account of his capture, captivity, and eventual escape.
Staden’s narrative is a foundational text in the history and European “discovery” of Brazil, the earliest European account of the Tupi Indians, and a touchstone in the debates on cannibalism. Yet the last English-language edition of Staden’s True History was published in 1929. This new critical edition features a new translation from the sixteenth-century German along with annotations and an extensive introduction. It restores to the text the fifty-six woodcut illustrations of Staden’s adventures and final escape that appeared in the original 1557 edition.
In the introduction, Neil L. Whitehead discusses the circumstances surrounding the production of Staden’s narrative and its ethnological significance, paying particular attention to contemporary debates about cannibalism. Whitehead illuminates the value of Staden’s True History as an eyewitness account of Tupi society on the eve before its collapse, of ritual war and sacrifice among Native peoples, and of colonial rivalries in the region of Rio de Janeiro. He chronicles the history of the various editions of Staden’s narrative and their reception from 1557 until the present. Staden’s work continues to engage a wide range of readers, not least within Brazil, where it has recently been the subject of two films and a graphic novel.
For Lucy Jane Bledsoe, wilderness had always been a source of peace. But during one disastrous solo trip in the wintry High Sierra she came face to face with a crisis: the wilderness no longer felt like home. The Ice Cave recounts Bledsoe’s wilderness journeys as she recovers her connection with the wild and discovers the meanings of fear and grace.
These are Bledsoe’s gripping tales of fending off wolves in Alaska, encountering UFOs in the Colorado Desert, and searching for mountain lions in Berkeley. Her memorable story “The Breath of Seals” takes readers to Antarctica, the wildest continent on earth, where she camped out with geologists, biologists, and astrophysicists. These fresh and deeply personal narratives remind us what it means to be simply one member of one species, trying to find food and shelter—and moments of grace—on our planet.
Robin Magowan Northwestern University Press, 2002 Library of Congress G465.M333 2002 | Dewey Decimal 910.4
All writers risk their identities, some with each sentence. But abroad, writing about a life that can't help but seem elusive, the charlatan in oneself may feel all too exposed. Limited to the surface, to the most fortuitous of impressions, how can a foreign pair of eyes hope to pen anything that can vie with something an insider, born there, carrying that landscape in his bones, might write?
For more than four decades, poet Robin Magowan has journeyed in search of ecstatic spiritual experiences. Hitchhiking and walking, by bus or boat or when necessary by horse, he has explored lands as exotic as Nepal and New Guinea, as classic as Italy or France, and as forgotten as Persia and pre-Castro Cuba. All the while he has submerged himself, whether in the mysteries of Haitian voodoo or the simples pleasures of Burgundian peasant life. Known for the beauty, wit, and expressive power of his prose, Magowan's writing vibrates with the intensity of an outsider who crawls into the skin of a country--and emerges transformed.
Full of humor, profundity, and obsession, these are tales of writers on peregrine paths. Some set out in search of legends or artistic inspiration; others seek spiritual epiphany or fulfillment of a promise. Their journeys lead them variously to Dracula’s castle, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie, the Grimms’ fairy-tale road, Mayan temples, Nathaniel West’s California, the Camino de Santiago trail, Scott’s Antarctica, the Marquis de Sade’s haunted manor, or the sacred city of Varanasi. All of these pilgrimages are worthy journeys—redemptive and serious. But a time-honored element of pilgrimage is a suspension of rules, and there is absurdity and exuberance here as well.
Winner of the Elizabeth Agee Prize for best manuscript in American Literature
With the publication of The Innocents Abroad (1869), Mark Twain embarked on a long and successful career as the 19th century's best-selling travel writer. Jeffrey Melton treats Twain's travel narratives in depth, and in the context of his contemporary travel writers and a burgeoning tourism culture. As Melton shows, Twain's five major travel narratives--The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, A Tramp Abroad, and Following the Equator--demonstrate Twain's mastery and reinvention of the genre.
The conception of the Other has long been a problem for philosophers. Emmanuel Levinas, best known for his attention to precisely that issue, argued that the voyages of Ulysses represent the very nature of Western philosophy: "His adventure in the world is nothing but a return to his native land, a complacency with the Same, a misrecognition of the Other." In Memories of Odysseus, François Hartog examines the truth of Levinas' assertion and, in the process, uncovers a different picture. Drawing on a remarkable range of authors and texts, ancient and modern, Hartog looks at accounts of actual travelers, as well as the way travel is used as a trope throughout ancient Greek literature, and finds that, instead of misrecognition, the Other is viewed with doubt and awe in the Homeric tradition. In fact, he argues, the Odyssey played a crucial role in shaping this attitude in the Greek mind, serving as inspiration for voyages in which new encounters caused the Greeks to revise their concepts of self and other. Ambitious in scope, this book is a sophisticated exploration of ancient Greece and its sense of identity.
is the story of two voyages: an Atlantic crossing in the 33-foot cutter
, bound for Scotland; and the hard voyage of self-discovery that finally brought Bill Storandt to his life partner.
Storandt’s account of the adventure he had carefully planned with longtime partner Brian Forsyth and their friend Bob soon turns into a white-knuckled sailing tale, as they encounter a fierce storm four hundred miles from the Irish coast that tests their courage and all their sailing skills. The sea story, vividly evoking life in a small boat on a big ocean, is interwoven with Storandt’s flashbacks to his earlier life. Outbound delivers its share of excitement, but it’s also a moving reflection on how circuitous our paths can be, even when the destination is clear and beckoning.
Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress G156.S73 2015
Based on a controversial opinion piece originally published in the New York Times, Reclaiming Travel is a provocative meditation on the meaning of travel from ancient times to the twenty-first century. Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison seek to understand why we travel and what has come to be missing from our contemporary understanding of travel. Engaging with canonical and contemporary texts, they explore the differences between travel and tourism, the relationship between travel and memory, the genre of travel writing, and the power of mapmaking, Stavans and Ellison call for a rethinking of the art of travel, which they define as a transformative quest that gives us deeper access to ourselves.
Tourism, Stavans and Ellison argue, is inauthentic, choreographed, sterile, shallow, and rooted in colonialism. They critique theme parks and kitsch tourism, such as the shantytown hotels in South Africa where guests stay in shacks made of corrugated metal and cardboard yet have plenty of food, water and space. Tourists, they assert, are merely content with escapism, thrill seeking, or obsessively snapping photographs. Resisting simple moralizing, the authors also remind us that people don’t divide neatly into crude categories like travelers and tourists. They provoke us to reflect on the opportunities and perils in our own habits.
In this powerful manifesto, Stavans and Ellison argue that travel should be an art through which our restlessness finds expression—a search for meaning not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. It is not about the destination; rather, travel is about loss, disorientation, and discovering our place in the universe.
It was the original Survivor series, only without the omnipresent cameras, paramedics, and faux tribal rituals. Between the spring of 1947 and the summer of the year 2000, more than forty expeditions sought to drift across the oceans of the world on rafts made from straw, from bamboo, and from the same kinds of wood that children use to make model airplanes. These audacious raft voyages began with the legendary Kon-Tiki expedition, under the leadership of the renowned Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. The Kon-Tiki balsa wood raft drifted more than four thousand miles from Peru to Polynesia, and remained afloat months after experts predicted it would sink to the bottom of the Pacific. Heyerdahl’s radical thesis of a prehistoric world where ancient mariners drifted between continents on ocean currents electrified the postwar world. His Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft sold twenty million copies in sixty-five languages.
Sea Drift is the first and only book to document all of the transoceanic raft expeditions that were organized and carried out in the half century after Kon-Tiki. But it is much more than a simple history of exploration. Readers learn of the Mormon who drifted to Hawaii to prove that wise men from Israel had colonized America, and the Frenchman who squeezed fresh water from the entrails of fish as he drifted alone across the Atlantic in a rubber boat. Then there was the anthropologist who put five men and six women on a raft to see who would make love to whom first.
Spanning more than fifty years and recounting more than forty expeditions, Sea Drift is a riveting chronicle of human daring, endurance, and folly.
The Trail North is the story of a young man who comes into his own during a summer on the Pacific Coast Trail. With only his horse for company, Hawk Greenway tasted the freedom and wildness of the high mountains, weathered the loneliness of solitary campfires, and witnessed important changes within and around him. This straight-talking record of a teenager's growth and adventure is a valuable example for young people everywhere, and a rich experience for readers of all ages.
A much-needed contribution to the expanding interest in the history of travel and travel writing, Voyages and Visions is the first attempt to sketch a cultural history of travel from the sixteenth century to the present day. The essays address the theme of travel as a historical, literary and imaginative process, focusing on significant episodes and encounters in world history.
The contributors to this collection include historians of art and of science, anthropologists, literary critics and mainstream cultural historians. Their essays encompass a challenging range of subjects, including the explorations of South America, India and Mexico; mountaineering in the Himalayas; space travel; science fiction; and American post-war travel fiction. Voyages and Visions is truly interdisciplinary, and essential reading for anyone interested in travel writing.
With essays by Kasia Boddy, Michael Bravo, Peter Burke, Melissa Calaresu, Jesus Maria Carillo Castillo, Peter Hansen, Edward James, Nigel Leask, Joan-Pau Rubies and Wes Williams.
Tobias Schneebaum University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Library of Congress G465.S36 2003 | Dewey Decimal 910.92
Part autobiographical journal, part social-historical novel, Wild Man tracks Tobias Schneebaum's fascinating and almost epic life story, from his earliest contemplation of homoerotic desire through his life in Peru, Borneo, and beyond. A young man from New York, Schneebaum "disappeared" in 1955 on the eastern slopes of the Andes. He was, in actuality, living for more than a year among the remote Harakhambut people, discovering a way of being that was strange, primitive, and powerfully attractive to him. This longing to find the "wild man" in other cultures—and in himself—eventually led him on an odyssey through South America, India, Tibet, Africa, Borneo, New Guinea, and Southeast Asia. He lived among isolated forest peoples, including headhunters and cannibals, in regions where few, if any, white men had ever been.
Many people are familiar with American Commodore Matthew Perry’s expedition to open trade relations with Japan in the early 1850s. Less well known is that on the heels of the Perry squadron followed a Russian expedition secretly on the same mission. Serving as secretary to the naval commander was novelist Ivan Goncharov, who turned his impressions into a book, The Frigate Pallada, which became a bestseller in imperial Russia. In A World of Empires, Edyta Bojanowska uses Goncharov’s fascinating travelogue as a window onto global imperial history in the mid-nineteenth century.
Reflecting on encounters in southern Africa’s Cape Colony, Dutch Java, Spanish Manila, Japan, and the British ports of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, Goncharov offers keen observations on imperial expansion, cooperation, and competition. Britain’s global ascendancy leaves him in equal measures awed and resentful. In Southeast Asia, he recognizes an increasingly interlocking world in the vibrant trading hubs whose networks encircle the globe. Traveling overland back home, Goncharov presents Russia’s colonizing rule in Siberia as a positive imperial model, contrasted with Western ones.
Slow to be integrated into the standard narrative on European imperialism, Russia emerges here as an increasingly assertive empire, eager to position itself on the world stage among its American and European rivals and fully conversant with the ideologies of civilizing mission and race. Goncharov’s gripping narrative offers a unique eyewitness account of empire in action, in which Bojanowska finds both a zeal to emulate European powers and a determination to define Russia against them.