Feed the Wanderlust
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 Reviews). This far-ranging collection of top notch travel writing is, quite simply, the genre’s gold standard.
The only medieval traveler known to have visited the lands of every Muslim ruler of his time, Ibn Battuta was born into a family of highly respected religious judges and educated as a theologian. Leaving his native city of Tangier in 1326, he traveled — over the next several years — to East Africa, Byzantium, Iraq, southern Russia, India, Ceylon, and China. His account of the journey, dictated on his return, not only provides vivid accounts of an odyssey that took him to exotic lands, but also describes in great detail Muslim maritime activities in the Middle and Far East, fascinating elements of foreign architecture, and agricultural activities of diverse cultures.
A rare and important work covering the geography and history of the medieval Arab world, this primary sourcebook will be welcomed by students and scholars for its inherent historical value.
On his forty-forth birthday, Eric Newby sets out on an incredible journey: to travel the 1,200-mile length of India's holy river. In a misguided attempt to keep him out of trouble, Wanda, his life-long travel companion and wife, is to be his fellow boatwoman. Their plan is to begin in the great plain of Hardwar and finish in the Bay of Bengal, but the journey almost immediately becomes markedly slower and more treacherous than either had imagined - running aground sixty-three times in the first six days.
Travelling in a variety of unstable boats, as well as by rail, bus and bullock cart, and resting at sandbanks and remote villages, the Newbys encounter engaging characters and glorious mishaps, including the non-existence of large-scale maps of the country, a realisation that questions of pure 'logic' cause grave offense and, on one occasion, the only person in sight for miles is an old man who is himself unsure where he is. Newby's only consolation: on a river, if you go downstream, you're sure to end up somewhere...
Whether you're dreaming in an armchair, have packed, or are unpacking, Postcards from Europe will inspire a love of travel, of Europe, and of Europeans.
In the transnational village that our world has become, travel and technology fuel each other and us. As Iyer points out, "everywhere is so made up of everywhere else," and our very souls have been put into circulation. Yet even global beings need a home.
Using his own multicultural upbringing (Indian, American, British) as a point of departure, Iyer sets out on a quest, both physical and psychological, to find what remains constant in a world gone mobile. He begins in Los Angeles International Airport, where town life — shops, services, sociability — is available without a town, and in Hong Kong, where people actually live in self-contained hotels. He moves on to Toronto, which has been given new life and a new literature by its immigrant population, and to Atlanta, where the Olympic Village inadvertently commemorates the corporate universalism that is the Olympics' secret face. And, finally, he returns to England, where the effects of empire-as-global-village are still being sorted out, and to Japan, where in the midst of alien surfaces, Iyer unexpectedly finds a home.
"As a guide to far-flung places, Pico Iyer can hardly be surpassed," The New Yorker has written. In The Global Soul, he extends the meaning of far-flung to places within and all around us.
From the Hardcover edition.
The relationship between man and horse on the Eurasian steppe gave rise to a succession of rich nomadic cultures. Among them were the Mongols of the thirteenth century – a small tribe, which, under the charismatic leadership of Genghis Khan, created the largest contiguous land empire in history. Inspired by the extraordinary life nomads lead, Tim Cope embarked on a journey that hadn't been successfully completed since those times: to travel on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary.
From horse-riding novice to spending months in the saddle, he learnt to fend off wolves and would-be horse-thieves, and grapple with the haunting extremes of the steppe as he crossed sub-zero plateaux, the scorching deserts of Kazakhstan and the high-mountain passes of the Carpathians. As he travelled he formed a close bond with his horses and especially his dog Tigon, and encountered essential hospitality – the linchpin of human survival on the steppe – from those he met along the way.
Cope bears witness to how the traditional ways hang in the balance in the post-Soviet world – an era that has brought new-found freedom, but also the perils of corruption and alcoholism, and left a world bereft of both the Communist system upon which it once relied, and the traditional knowledge of the nomadic forefathers.
A journey of adventure, endurance and eventual triumph, On the Trail of Genghis Khan is at once a celebration of and an elegy for an ancient way of life.
In 2001, at the age of 69, Ted Simon decided to retrace his journey, and DREAMING OF JUPITER is the result. It took him two and a half years - during which time he revisited all the countries he had travelled through in the 1970s. He found much had changed, and he reflects upon the increased poverty, political upheavals, environmental issues and indeed the changes in himself.
But ultimately, DREAMING OF JUPITER is a hugely inspiring read with a positive message at its heart - that even at the age of 70 you can still set off on an adventure, and be surprised and excited by what life throws at you along the way.
Percy Adams skilfully portrays the emergence of the novel in the fiction of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and traces in rich detail the history of travel literature from its beginnings to the time of James Cook, contemporary of Richardson and Fielding. And since the recit de voyage and the novel were then so international, he deals throughout with all the literatures of Western Europe, one of the book's chief themes being the close literary ties among European nations.
Equally important in the present study is its demonstration that, just as early travel accounts were often a combination of reporting and fabrication, so prose fiction is not a dichotomy to be divided into the "adult" novel on the one hand and the "childish" romance on the other, but an ambivalence -- the marriage of realism and romanticism. Travel Literature and the Evolution of the Novel not only shows the novel to be amorphous and changing, it also proves impossible the task of defining the recit de voyage with its thousand forms and faces. Often the two types of literature are almost indistinguishable; even before Don Quixote, Adams writes, many travel accounts could have been advertised as having "the endless fascination of a wonderfully observed novel."
This study by Percy Adams will both modify opinions about the novel and its history and provide an excellent introduction to the travel account, a form of literature too little known to students of belles lettres.
Torre DeRoche is at rock bottom following a breakup and her father's death when she crosses paths with the goofy and spirited Masha, who is pusuing her dream of walking the world. When Masha invites Torre to join her pilgrimage through Tuscany--drinking wine, foraging wild berries, and twirling on hillsides--Torre straps on a pair of flimsy street shoes and gets rambling.
But the magical hills of Italy are nothing like the dusty and merciless roads of India where the pair wind up, improvising a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Gandhi along his march to the seaside. Hoping to catch the nobleman's fearlessness by osmosis and end the journey as wise, svelte, and kick-ass warriors, they are instead unravelled by worry that this might be one adventure too far. Coming face-to-face with their worst fears, they discover the power of friendship to save us from our darkest moments.
In AD 587, two monks, John Moschos and Sophronius the Sophist, embarked on an extraordinary journey across the Byzantine world, from the shores of the Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. Their aim: to collect the wisdom of the sages and mystics of the Byzantine East before their fragile world shattered under the eruption of Islam. Almost 1500 years later, using the writings of John Moschos as his guide, William Dalrymple set off to retrace their footsteps.
Taking in a civil war in Turkey, the ruins of Beirut, the tensions of the West Bank and a fundamentalist uprising in Egypt, William Dalrymple’s account is a stirring elegy to the dying civilisation of Eastern Christianity.
When Beppe Severgnini and his wife rented a creaky house in Georgetown they were determined to see if they could adapt to a full four seasons in a country obsessed with ice cubes, air-conditioning, recliner chairs, and, of all things, after-dinner cappuccinos. From their first encounters with cryptic rental listings to their back-to-Europe yard sale twelve months later, Beppe explores this foreign land with the self-described patience of a mildly inappropriate beachcomber, holding up a mirror to America’s signature manners and mores. Succumbing to his surroundings day by day, he and his wife find themselves developing a taste for Klondike bars and Samuel Adams beer, and even that most peculiar of American institutions -- the pancake house.
The realtor who waves a perfect bye-bye, the overzealous mattress salesman who bounces from bed to bed, and the plumber named Marx who deals in illegally powerful showerheads are just a few of the better-than-fiction characters the Severgninis encounter while foraging for clues to the real America. A trip to the computer store proves just as revealing as D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration, as do boisterous waiters angling for tips and no-parking signs crammed with a dozen lines of fine print.
By the end of his visit, Severgnini has come to grips with life in these United States -- and written a charming, laugh-out-loud tribute.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the author of the Samuel Johnson Prize-shortlisted ‘The Return of a King’, this is William Dalrymple’s captivating memoir of a year spent in Delhi, a city watched over and protected by the mischievous invisible djinns. Lodging with the beady-eyed Mrs Puri and encountering an extraordinary array of characters – from elusive eunuchs to the last remnants of the Raj – William Dalrymple comes to know the bewildering city intimately.
He pursues Delhi’s interlacing layers of history along narrow alleys and broad boulevards, brilliantly conveying its intoxicating mix of mysticism and mayhem.
‘City of Djinns’ is an astonishing and sensitive portrait of a city, and confirms William Dalrymple as one of the most compelling explorers of India’s past and present.
Before Nick Carraway was drawn into Daisy and Gatsby’s sparkling, champagne-fueled world in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald vacationed in the French Riviera, where a small green lighthouse winked at ships on the horizon. Before the nameless lovers began their illicit affair in The Lover, Marguerite Duras embarked upon her own scandalous relationship amidst the urban streets of Saigon. And before readers were terrified by a tentacled dragon-man called Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft was enthralled by the Industrial Trust tower-- the 26-story skyscraper that makes up the skyline of Providence, Rhode Island.
Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history's greatest writers. From the "dangerous, dirty and seductive" streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante's famous Neapolitan novels, to the "stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths" of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice's adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A classic of travel writing, ‘A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush’ is Eric Newby’s iconic account of his journey through one of the most remote and beautiful wildernesses on earth.
It was 1956, and Eric Newby was earning an improbable living in the chaotic family business of London haute couture. Pining for adventure, Newby sent his friend Hugh Carless the now-famous cable - CAN YOU TRAVEL NURISTAN JUNE? - setting in motion a legendary journey from Mayfair to Afghanistan, and the mountains of the Hindu Kush, north-east of Kabul. Inexperienced and ill prepared (their preparations involved nothing more than some tips from a Welsh waitress), the amateurish rogues embark on a month of adventure and hardship in one of the most beautiful wildernesses on earth - a journey that adventurers with more experience and sense may never have undertaken. With good humour, sharp wit and keen observation, the charming narrative style of ‘A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush’ would soon crystallise Newby's reputation as one of the greatest travel writers of all time.
One of the greatest travel classics from one of Britain's best-loved travel writers, this edition includes new photographs, an epilogue from Newby's travelling companion, Hugh Carless, and a prologue from one of Newby's greatest proponents, Evelyn Waugh.
During the "honeymoon," Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective. The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting fifty-three countries for the next two years. In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew.
Starting in November 2013 in a forest in Rwanda, where a modest spring spouts a trickle of clear, cold water, Wood set forth on foot, aiming to become the first person to walk the entire length of the fabled river. He followed the Nile for nine months, over 4,000 miles, through six nations—Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and Egypt—to the Mediterranean coast.
Like his predecessors, Wood camped in the wild, foraged for food, and trudged through rainforest, swamp, savannah, and desert, enduring life-threatening conditions at every turn. He traversed sandstorms, flash floods, minefields, and more, becoming a local celebrity in Uganda, where a popular rap song was written about him, and a potential enemy of the state in South Sudan, where he found himself caught in a civil war and detained by the secret police. As well as recounting his triumphs, like escaping a charging hippo and staving off wild crocodiles, Wood’s gripping account recalls the loss of Matthew Power, a journalist who died suddenly from heat exhaustion during their trek. As Wood walks on, often joined by local guides who help him to navigate foreign languages and customs, Walking the Nile maps out African history and contemporary life.
An inimitable tale of survival, resilience, and sheer willpower, Walking the Nile is an inspiring chronicle of an epic journey down the lifeline of civilization in northern Africa.
Condé Nast Traveler is the preeminent travel magazine in the United States, boasting a readership of 3.5 million. This second collection of the award-winning magazine's best travel writings, includes essays by luminaries such as, Robert Hughes, Russell Banks, E. L. Doctorow, André Aciman, Pico Iyer, and Edna O'Brien.
As the world becomes smaller and ever more accessible, interest in travel writing is only growing greater. So whether readers are preparing for their own journeys or just indulging in an armchair adventure, this new volume of The Condé Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys will open their eyes to the world.
• financing your travel time
• determining your destination
• adjusting to life on the road
• working and volunteering overseas
• handling travel adversity
• re-assimilating back into ordinary life
Praise for Vagabonding
“A crucial reference for any budget wanderer.”—Time
“Vagabonding easily remains in my top-10 list of life-changing books. Why? Because one incredible trip, especially a long-term trip, can change your life forever. And Vagabonding teaches you how to travel (and think), not just for one trip, but for the rest of your life.”—Tim Ferriss, from the foreword
“The book is a meditation on the joys of hitting the road. . . . It’s also a primer for those with a case of pent-up wanderlust seeking to live the dream.”—USA Today
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a whole different ethic of travel. . . . [Potts’s] practical advice might just convince you to enjoy that open-ended trip of a lifetime.”—Rick Steves
“Potts wants us to wander, to explore, to embrace the unknown, and, finally, to take our own damn time about it. I think this is the most sensible book of travel-related advice ever written.”—Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A thrilling and dangerous adventure through Arunachal Pradesh, one of the world's least explored places.
'A fabulously thrilling journey through a beguiling land' Joanna Lumley
'With tremendous verve and determination Antonia plunges through an extraordinary world. Thank heavens she survived to tell this vivid and thoughtful tale' Ted Simon, author of Jupiter's Travels
'A tale of delight and exuberance - and one I'd thoroughly recommend. Bolingbroke-Kent proves a great travelling companion - compassionate, spirited and with a sharp eye for human oddity' Benedict Allen, author of Edge of Blue Heaven and Into the Abyss
'A transformative journey that gripped me from the very first page' Alastair Humphreys, author of The Boy Who Biked the World and Microadventures
'Remote, mountainous and forbidding, here shamans still fly through the night, hidden valleys conceal portals to other worlds, yetis leave footprints in the snow, spirits and demons abound, and the gods are appeased by the blood of sacrificed beasts'
A mountainous state clinging to the far north-eastern corner of India, Arunachal Pradesh - meaning 'land of the dawn-lit mountains' - has remained uniquely isolated.
Steeped in myth and mystery, not since pith-helmeted explorers went in search of the fabled 'Falls of the Brahmaputra' has an outsider dared to traverse it.
Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent sets out to chronicle this forgotten corner of Asia. Travelling some 2,000 miles she encounters shamans, lamas, hunters, opium farmers, fantastic tribal festivals and little-known stories from the Second World War.
In the process, she discovers a world and a way of living that are on the cusp of changing forever.
'A beautifully written, exciting and revealing book that harks back to a golden age of travel writing' Lois Pryce, author of Revolutionary Ride
The Joys of Travel awakens readers to pleasures that, as travelers, they may be taking for granted. It also shows non-travelers what they’ve been missing. It offers tips on how people can get the most out of their trips, as well as the titles of travel classics that will not only prepare them for the places they visit but make those places more meaningful once they get there. And it tells, through memories and stories, the tale of someone who has made a living writing about travel. In fact, the story of Thomas Swick’s life as a traveler neatly parallels the examination of a journey from beginning to end.
Before you next trip, be it a family vacation or a backpacking tour of Europe, read The Joys of Travel. It will inspire you to get the most out of your time away from home and to get away more often.
Armed with a reporter's notebook and an open mind, Oliver Balch hits the road in search of answers. With the ghost of Simón Bolívar as guide, the quest takes the reader off the tourist trail and into the weird and wonderful worlds of South American culture and society. By stepping into people's homes and into inmates' prison cells, by climbing onto dance floors and over road blocks, Oliver Balch unearths untold stories from the front line of South America's contemporary fight for freedom.
Oliver Balch is a UK freelance journalist, whose work has appeared in a wide range of international publications, including the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Traveller. Viva South America! was shortlisted as 'Book of the Year' at the UK Travel Press Awards and his latest book is the critically acclaimed India Rising: Tales From A Changing Nation.
By the Si-o-seh pol bridge in Isfahan, Iran, Byron wrote: “The lights came out. A little breeze stirred, and for the first time in four months I felt a wind that had no chill in it. I smelt the spring, and the rising sap. One of those rare moments of absolute peace, when the body is loose, the mind asks no questions, and the world is a triumph, was mine.”
In thirty-two personal essays—more than half of which are here published for the first time—the writers describe how they were seduced by Paris and then began to see things differently. They came to write, to cook, to find love, to study, to raise children, to escape, or to live the way it’s done in French movies; they came from the United States, Canada, and England; from Iran, Iraq, and Cuba; and—a few—from other parts of France. And they stayed, not as tourists, but for a long time; some are still living there. They were outsiders who became insiders, who here share their observations and revelations. Some are well-known writers: Diane Johnson, David Sedaris, Judith Thurman, Joe Queenan, and Edmund White. Others may be lesser known but are no less passionate on the subject.
Together, their reflections add up to an unusually perceptive and multifaceted portrait of a city that is entrancing, at times exasperating, but always fascinating. They remind us that Paris belongs to everyone it has touched, and to each in a different way.
A stunning tour of China, its people, and its history. Chosen as one of the best travel books of 1996 by the New York Times Book Review.
The Lunatic Express is the story of traveling with seatmates and deckmates who have left home without American Express cards on conveyances that don't take Visa, and seldom take you anywhere you'd want to go. But it's also the story of traveling as it used to be -- a sometimes harrowing trial, of finding adventure in a modern, rapidly urbanizing world and the generosity of poor strangers, from ear cleaners to urban bus drivers to itinerant roughnecks, who make up most of the world's population. More than just an adventure story, The Lunatic Express is a funny, harrowing and insightful look at the world as it is, a planet full of hundreds of millions of people, mostly poor, on the move and seeking their fortunes.
From the Hardcover edition.
Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t.
Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his matchless instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his unerring eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers acute and perceptive insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today.
Nothing is more entertaining than Bill Bryson on the road—and on a tear. The Road to Little Dribbling reaffirms his stature as a master of the travel narrative—and a really, really funny guy.
From the Hardcover edition.
In January of 1921, D. H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, set out for unspoiled country: the pristine island of Sardinia. For the following nine days, Lawrence fixes his unflinching gaze upon the Mediterranean island, where ancient ruins collide with the detritus of a modernizing society. Blending mythology with historical fact, his account is both lyrical and shrewdly observed. With a keen awareness of the socio-political climate, Lawrence captures a Sardinia that is both timeless and of the moment.
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The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself—and her readers—in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places.
A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes—a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. An ideal travel companion, Frances Mayes brings to the page the curiosity of an intrepid explorer, remarkable insights into the wonder of the everyday, and a compelling narrative style that entertains as it informs.
With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. In Andalucía, she relishes the intersection of cultures. She cooks in Portugal, gathers ideas in the gardens of England and Scotland, takes a literary pilgrimage to Burgundy, discovers an ideal place to live in Mantova, and explores the essential Moroccan city of Fez. She rents houses among ordinary residents, shops at neighborhood markets, wanders the back streets, and everywhere contemplates the concept of home. While in Greece, she follows the classic Homeric voyage across the Aegean, lives in a bougainvillea-draped stone house in Crete, and then drives deep into the Mani. In Turkey with friends, she sails the ancient coast, hiking to archaeological sites and snorkeling over sunken Byzantine towns. Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions of each area, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to the reader. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savored by all who loved Under the Tuscan Sun, A Year in the World is travel writing at its peak.
Now with an excerpt from Frances Mayes's latest southern memoir, Under Magnolia
In Encore Provence, Mayle gives us a glimpse into the secrets of the truffle trade, a parfumerie lesson on the delicacies of scent, an exploration of the genetic effects of 2,000 years of foie gras, and a small-town murder mystery that reads like the best fiction. Here, too, are Mayle's latest tips on where to find the best honey, cheese, or chambre d'hìte the region has to offer. Lyric, insightful, sparkling with detail, Encore Provence brings us a land where the smell of thyme in the fields or the glory of a leisurely lunch is no less than inspiring.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
With his unique blend of intrepidity, tongue-in-cheek humor, and wide-eyed wonder, Ian Frazier takes us on a journey of more than 25,000 miles up and down and across the vast and myth-inspiring Great Plains. A travelogue, a work of scholarship, and a western adventure, Great Plains takes us from the site of Sitting Bull's cabin, to an abandoned house once terrorized by Bonnie and Clyde, to the scene of the murders chronicled in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. It is an expedition that reveals the heart of the American West.
After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they're given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don't overthink it; share your experiences; don't feel pressured to give it all away.
Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving—of ourselves—is transformational.
Kaplan takes us on a spellbinding journey into the heart of a volatile region, stretching from Hungary and Romania to the far shores of the oil-rich Caspian Sea. Through dramatic stories of unforgettable characters, Kaplan illuminates the tragic history of this unstable area that he describes as the new fault line between East and West. He ventures from Turkey, Syria, and Israel to the turbulent countries of the Caucasus, from the newly rich city of Baku to the deserts of Turkmenistan and the killing fields of Armenia. The result is must reading for anyone concerned about the state of our world in the decades to come.
The Wayfarer's Handbook is a treasure trove of information about the art of travel that is specifically crafted for the modern adventurer. The book is an offbeat guide full of actionable advice, a worldwide exploration reference work, an unconventional collection of world trivia, and an exciting resource of inspiration, all designed for use in a great global adventure.
With a visual aesthetic inspired by the look of vintage field guides, The Wayfarer's Handbook is tailor-made for modern readers, providing the distilled essentials of hundreds of interesting topics, presented in a direct and precise but stylish way. This twist on traditional travel genres covers everything from the world's 27 most common travel scams and the fascinating history of hot air balloons to everyday gestures that are offensive in foreign cultures and how to avoid a hippopotamus attack. Sketches, infographics, small maps, and illustrative charts appear throughout, allowing readers to open to any page and discover fascinating new insights into the art of travel.
Though The Wayfarer's Handbook is compact enough for the road, it is equally suited to be a gem in the library of anyone interested in exploration.
The adventures of Patrick “Paddy” Leigh Fermor, Britain’s most beloved traveler, began in 1933, when he embarked on a walk from Holland to Constantinople—the entire length of Europe—at the tender age of eighteen. Sleeping in barns, monasteries, and, on occasion, aristocratic country houses, the young adventurer made way his through the Old World just as everything was about to change.
Words of Mercury collects pieces from every stage of Leigh Fermor’s life, from his journey through Eastern Europe just before the outbreak of the Second World War—described in gorgeous, meditative detail—to his encounter with voodoo in Haiti, to a monastic retreat to Normandy to try to write a book. Also included is the story of one of his most well-known exploits from the war—his planned and executed kidnap of a German general under British orders. Ever the student, “Paddy” also wrote extensively on his encounters with polymaths, linguists, and artists all over the world.
Over the course of his illustrious lifetime, Leigh Fermor wrote several acclaimed travel books, countless essays, translations, and book reviews, many of which are compiled in this anthology. His unique experiences out in the world fed his insatiable curiosity and voracious appetite for scholarship. His tales, written in a singular, elegant style, have inspired generations of writers and continue to shape the language of travel.