We travel initially to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves… And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in and fall in love once more.
This excerpt from Pico Iyer’s essay “Why We Travel” fittingly opens this collection of travel writing snippets from an array of authors and destinations, one for each day of the year. Those who appreciate the exhilaration of travel will find it difficult to read just one piece at a time: contributions from writers such as Vita Sackville-West, Agatha Christie, Saul Bellow, Mark Twain, and Charles Kuralt span every aspect of the journey beyond their comfortable, known surroundings. Armchair travelers, backpackers, luxury travelers, and adventurers alike will “get taken in” by Bach’s well-chosen and varied selections.
Writers express the reasons they travel: to see sights, to escape domestic chores, to dream, to find hope, to experience the excitement of seeing a place for the first time. William Langewiesche describes every detail down to the “baked soil” smell of the air upon arriving at the Sahara, and Mary Morris writes of the “endless possibility” that compels her to leave home. Others speak of everyday emotions that are heightened on a journey: love, loneliness, fear. They describe the pleasures of meeting locals and of making lifelong friends and the frustrations (and humor) of trying to order breakfast in another tongue. They also share their adventures: dancing samba in Brazil, hitchhiking in Iceland and being fed cured herring and warm Coke by the driver, playing cricket in India, and waking up to a poisonous snake on the wrong side of the mosquito net.
Though selections hail from around the globe—Paris, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Bhutan, Nepal, Bogota, New York Harbor, Cuba, Tahiti, Delhi, Brussels, Prague—a simple travel truth provides incentive to read 365 Travel even without plans for an immediate departure: “…the motion of travel takes place as much in the psyche as anywhere else.”
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