West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Travel Adventures

Are you dreaming of traveling? Try these travel narratives.

Voyager : travel writings by Banks, Russell

The award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays. Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. In this compelling anthology, he writes that since childhood he has "longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery and intrigue." The longing for escape has taken him from the "bright green islands and turquoise seas" of the Caribbean to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond. Banks shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh to marry his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset-orange metallic Hummer down Alaska's Seward Highway. In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park, he traces his own timeline: "I keep going back, and with increasing clarity I see more of the place and more of my past selves. And more of the past of the planet as well." Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest: "One climbs a mountain, not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky," he explains. Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, this book brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.--Adapted from dust jacket.

The monk of Mokha by Eggers, Dave

Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. On the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs began to rain down. Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with dueling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea

A walk in the woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bryson, Bill

Traces the author's adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts

When in French : love in a second language by Collins, Lauren

"When New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins moves to Geneva, Switzerland, she decides to learn French--not just to be able to go about her day-to-day life, but in order to be closer to her French husband and his family. When in French is at once a hilarious and idiosyncratic memoir about the things we do for love, and an exploration across cultures and history into how we learn languages, and what they say about who we are"--

From scratch : a memoir of love, Sicily, and finding home by Locke, Tembi

"A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour"--

Atlas Obscura by Foer, Joshua

"Wonder meets wanderlust in an extraordinary new travel book. Created by the founders of AtlasObscura.com, the vibrant online destination and community with over 3 million visitors a month, Atlas Obscura is the bucket-list guide to over 700 of the most unusual, curious, bizarre, and mysterious places on earth" --

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Strayed, Cheryl

Traces the personal crisis the author endured after the death of her mother and a painful divorce, which prompted her ambition to undertake a dangerous 1,100-mile solo hike that both drove her to rock bottom and helped her to heal

Alone time : four seasons, four cities, and the pleasures of solitude by Rosenbloom, Stephanie

"A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller--and even in one's own city--is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world--patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds--in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others. Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations--Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York--are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associatedwith the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives--facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend--and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures"--

Hell or high water : surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River by Heller, Peter

It is the Everest of rivers, a maelstrom of water and rocks, gradient and flow. It is the world's last great adventure prize, remote, forbidding, and hidden from Western eyes. Long considered unrunnable, the Tsangpo River has drawn extreme kayakers since the sport was born. It's killed them too. One group did it. A mammoth, old-school adventure team led by a young, fiery river cowboy battled the white water, their Sherpa, and a Himalayan winter to log the first descent of the Tsangpo. Peter Heller, himself an accomplished kayaker, was along for the ride. In this beautifully written and exciting tale, he takes us into the water and down the cataclysmic vertical drops, painting a portrait of a grand adventure in a place that time never touched

Ten years a nomad : a traveler's journey home by Kepnes, Matt

New York Times bestselling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Matthew Kepnes knows what it feels like to get the travel bug. After meeting some travelers on a trip to Thailand in 2005, he realized that living life meant more than simply meeting society's traditional milestones, such as buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. Inspired by them, he set off for a year-long trip around the world before he started his career. He finally came home after ten years. Over 500,000 miles, 1,000 hostels, and 90 different countries later, Matt has compiled his favorite stories, experiences, and insights into this travel manifesto. Filled with the color and perspective that only hindsight and self-reflection can offer, these stories get to the real questions at the heart of wanderlust. Travel questions that transcend the basic "how-to," and plumb the depths of what drives us to travel ― and what extended travel around the world can teach us about life, ourselves, and our place in the world. Ten Years a Nomad is for travel junkies, the travel-curious, and anyone interested in what you can learn about the world when you don’t have a cable bill for a decade or spend a month not wearing shoes living on the beach in Thailand. -- Amazon.com

Dame traveler : live the spirit of adventure by Yakoub, Nastasia

Celebrate the diversity and bravery of solo women travelers who are not afraid to think (and trek) outside the box.

The unlikely adventures of the Shergill sisters by Jaswal, Balli Kaur

"The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters--Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina--were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking "good" sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life. On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she's always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother's request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina's in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time. Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives--and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago--a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again."--

Curiosities and splendour : an anthology of classic travel literature

Journey back in time with this collection of classic travel writing from great authors and adventurers. These extraordinary odysseys over land and sea captivated audiences and gave them a glimpse into countries, cities and cultures like never before. Tales include Robert Falcon Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition of 1910-13; Robert Byron's ten-month journey through Persia to Afghanistan in the early 30s; Jack London's 1907 sailing adventure across the south Pacific; and Teddy Roosevelt's scientific exploration of the Brazilian jungles exotic flora and fauna. Each author and their piece of writing is introduced by editor Mark Mackenzie, who gives context to the work and provides an insightful look into how travel has changed since they were originally published

Eat, pray, love : one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Gilbert, Elizabeth

Like many others, around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. Although she had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want, including a husband, a home, and a successful career, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. This is an account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life

Traveling with pomegranates : a mother daughter story by Kidd, Sue Monk

The authors describe their introspective journeys to Greece and France, during which they reconnected while Sue grappled with midlife challenges and writer's block and Ann struggled with heartbreak and post-college career questions

A year in the world : journey of a passionate traveller by Mayes, Frances

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 - elebration 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 Andalucí 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

In other words by Lahiri, Jhumpa

"A series of reflections on the author's experiences learning a new language and living abroad, in a dual-language edition"--

A Beginner's Guide to Japan : Observations and Provocations by Iyer, Pico

“Arguably the greatest living travel writer” (Outside magazine), Pico Iyer has called Japan home for more than three decades. But, as he is the first to admit, the country remains an enigma even to its long-term residents. In A Beginner’s Guide to Japan, Iyer draws on his years of experience—his travels, conversations, readings, and reflections—to craft a playful and profound book of surprising, brief, incisive glimpses into Japanese culture. He recounts his adventures and observations as he travels from a meditation hall to a love hotel, from West Point to Kyoto Station, and from dinner with Meryl Streep to an ill-fated call to the Apple service center in a series of provocations guaranteed to pique the interest and curiosity of those who don’t know Japan—and to remind those who do of its myriad fascinations.

Assassination vacation by Vowell, Sarah

A tour of key historic sites in America where incidents of political violence have occurred reveals lesser-known points of interest pertaining to each and shares information about how history has been shaped by popular culture and tourism

A year in Provence by Mayle, Peter

In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.
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