What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?
In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and “discovered” Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer’s perilous path in search of the truth—except he’d written about adventure far more than he’d actually lived it. In fact, he’d never even slept in a tent.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu is Adams’ fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world’s most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: Just what was Machu Picchu?
“Real” travel writers are glamorous, but real traveling is all I know. Vacations are when everything is safe and convenient and when you come to expect words like ‘aioli’ on the menu and when every “adventure” can be charged to American Express. Real traveling, on the other hand, is when everything can happen and nothing happens as planned and, whatever happened, mañana it will seem like a damn fine stroke of luck. At its most banal, day-to-day, real traveling is anything but normal and never glamorous. Except, maybe, in retrospect. The reality is that —very often— I have no idea where I’m going, except that I am. Nor how I’m gonna get there, except that I will. All these stories unfold as they may. That’s what these books are about. That’s what makes them different.
The Travelogues pick up where traditional travel literature leaves off. They don’t mess around, pretending to describe every experience as if it were the feature in Condé Nast Traveler. They do, however, reveal what it’s really like to travel Out There. They describe everything: the good, the twisted, the ugly, and —occasionally— the sublime. No punches are pulled. It’s all in there. These are all out-of-the-ordinary experiences that lie within reach of ordinary people like you and I. Anyone can go and do those things. You too..., but only if you want to.
That’s what the Travelogues are. That’s what “The South” is. Go ahead: discover the new kind of travel writing.