Category Archives: Travel/ Exploration

A Time to Keep Silence

Last year, one of the best books I read was Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts: his account of his 1933 journey, on foot, at the age of 19, from Rotterdam to Hungary. Fermor’s humor, his humility, his lively … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Travel/ Exploration | 13 Comments

Song of the Dodo

When I was in school, science was by far my least favorite class. (Well, except for P.E., which was not so much a class as an exercise in humiliation.) It was just so deadly dull. We memorized one thing after … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 18 Comments

Skating to Antarctica

Jenny Diski explains her desire to get to Antarctica — or as close as she can get by cruise ship — as a desire for absence. If I trace it back, that wish for whiteout began with the idea of … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 9 Comments

An African in Greenland

Tété-Michel Kpomassie was born in Togo. The first few chapters of his memoir, An African in Greenland, are spent establishing the everyday African life of his boyhood: palm trees, steamy heat, spicy food, catching lizards, snake worship, and the family … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 9 Comments

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms

When you think of the great 19th-century explorers of Africa, what names spring to mind? Livingston, Stanley, and Burton, sure. Speke, Denham, and Baker, if you’ve done your reading. But Heinrich Barth? Who’s he? In A Labyrinth of Kingdoms, Steve … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Tagged | 11 Comments

A Time of Gifts

Way back in 2009, I read Litlove’s review of A Time to Be Silent, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his time spent in three different monasteries. Her hints at his biography and his skill at writing made me think that … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 19 Comments

Brazilian Adventure

In 1925, Percy Harrison Fawcett went into the Amazon, looking for traces of a lost civilization. In the face of conventional wisdom, he was convinced that, centuries ago, there had been a grand city in the midst of that jungle … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 13 Comments

Travels with Charley

In 1960, at the age of 58, John Steinbeck decided that he’d been making a living writing about an America he no longer knew. He wanted to travel, to see the United States one more time as it now existed, … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 22 Comments

Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels

In 1892, twin sisters Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson crossed an Egyptian desert in search of a treasure at the foot of Mount Sinai. Devout Presbyterians with a gift for languages, the sisters had learned of a cache of ancient … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 14 Comments

Lost in Shangri-La

In 1945, a group of 24 U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Dutch New Guinea took a pleasure flight over the mountains, hoping to catch a glimpse of the native villagers who lived there in isolation from the modern world. That … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Tagged | 5 Comments