News & Opinion (updated July 31, 2014)
25 Years Later, Shopping for Buddhas Returns!
Jeff Greenwald's beloved book about Nepal, Shopping for Buddhas, is back in print in a 25th anniversary edition. Follow him on his quest for the perfect Buddha statue in the back alleys of Kathmandu and learn why this story is as fresh and entertaining today as it was when it first appeared 25 years ago.
Reviewer Loves 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go
We couldn't agree more with Jessie Voigts in her review of Sophia Dembling's 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go. The book shines a light on this country's top attractions, quirky sites, and lesser-known wonders. Pick up a copy today and start rediscovering the USA.
Beach Reads Just Got Better with Tales To Go No. 5
Issue No. 5 of our new subscription publication for iPhone and iPad, Tales To Go, is now available on the App Store. Download the app and the first issue free, then subscribe to receive four inspiring, transformative travel stories every month. This issue ranges from a saddhu's cave in India to a pharmacy in France, from Cambodia's Angkor Wat to Namibia's arid bush. Again, try it free—we think you’ll be hooked.
It's 4 a.m. on the Carnival Imagination, midway between Miami and the Bahamas, and two Backstreet Boys are giving an impromptu but heartfelt lecture on love, marriage, sharks and Twitter to a handful of fans who stumbled upon the duo while ending their drunken night at the pizzeria.
One is dressed as a Ninja Turtle and slurring his words after downing straight vodka during a midnight "Pyjama Jam." The other is sober but in party mode, having impressively survived on Red Bull on a ship overflowing with alcohol and putting his sobriety to the ultimate test.
Why did I go to Antarctica? A good question, considering the warm-weather joys of the world—the thousands of tropical beaches I’d love to lie on and coral reefs I’ve never scuba dived. The list goes on; I have never:
-Seen any of the seven wonders of the world
-Faced a charging rhino on safari
-Bartered for mangos in a foreign bazaar
-Visited the Louvre
-Thrown a shrimp on the barby (not that I would)
-Played slack-key ukulele while fanned with palm leaves by buff, loin-clothed attendants
-Studied the mystery of the Easter Island heads (Pez dispensers of the gods?)
-Smuggled opiumunder a burka
-Rented an under-age sex slave in front of a giant statue of Buddha (not that I would)
-Met James Bond in a upscale casino (or a crappy one)
-Dismantled the Nazis’ cars and sung my way across the Alps to freedom
60-something Pete looked like he was on heavy sedatives, and to my unsettling surprise, he was also a professional pilot.
"So, you flew commercial airplanes for Air Canada, with passengers in them?" I asked.
"Yes indeed," answered Pete with half-comatose eyes, the words pleasantly escaping from his upturned mouth.
"And you retired, but you still do charter flights with your own private plane?"
"And you moved from Canada down here to Honduras three years ago, to run this inn?"
"That's right! I flew down here with my wife. We took one look at this place and bought it on the spot. Maybe we could have done a little more research, but look at it, it's beautiful!"Read on...
I’d known Jane less than 24 hours when she told me a secret she’d been carrying around for months.
She was driving me to see her Swiss doctor to take care of a bladder infection I'd had since I came to Europe six weeks prior. I was backpacking with three 18-year-old guys, and I was thirsting to speak to a woman—something, at 17, I had been too naive to know I’d need during the three-month trip. But she was 20, and at the time, she seemed to me to belong to the world of adults, one where she had already learned hard truths about being a woman that I had yet to know. Her experience made me feel quiet and shy.Read on...
There is a force stronger than the sea itself in that little fishing town. It is mysterious and unidentifiable, ever changing and unquestionably powerful. I can feel it pounding in the surf that reverberates up the cliff, penetrating my thoughts as I write this. For some, Montezuma is just a speck on the map, a tiny village turned bohemian tourist lure in Costa Rica, a place to visit for a day or two and move on. The forces of Montezuma are selective as to who it chooses to take hold of and refuse to let out of its grasp; not everyone feels it. Those of whom Montezuma has taken hold know it and they know they’re powerless to escape it. She will always force your return, beckoning softly or violently ripping away that which has begun to draw you away from her. She is relentless. There is a sense of natural purity that for awhile can disguise the dark, seductive pull in this modest corner of paradise.Read on...
It’s 4:23 a.m., and all is quiet in the Okavango Delta.
Wait, no. That’s not right. Let’s start over.
It’s 4:23 a.m. in the Okavango Delta, and I can’t sleep because the birds are antagonizing me. I don’t know what their problem is. Sure, I’ve come to Botswana to check out the wildlife, but it’s too early for such boisterous chirping.
You would think that in rural Africa, if an animal was going to disturb me with loud noises, it would be a big animal like a roaring lion or a trumpeting elephant. But no. It’s the birds. Some warble. Some squawk. Some chatter. Some cluck. One species sounds like a frog. Another sounds like that guy behind you in the supermarket line who you want to strangle because he will not stop whistling the same six notes, over and over. Then there’s the Blacksmith Lapwing, so named because its call resembles a blacksmith’s hammer striking an anvil. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to sleep while someone banged on an anvil outside your bedroom, but it’s not a restful experience.Read on...
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25th Anniversary Edition!
“A wonderful travel companion for anyone who wants to view afresh the wonders and oddess of humankind.” — Amy Tan
“Asia is a mythical jubilee,” writes Jeff Greenwald, “full of characters more strange and entertaining than anything you’ll find in Star Wars.” On his quest for the perfect Buddha statue, Greenwald treks to a lofty nunnery to meet “one of the most powerful women in Tibet—known to fly through the air.” He visits Kathmandu’s first indoor shopping mall (where a ride on the country’s first escalator is a near-religious event), and befriends a sly mystic named Lalji, whose often abrasive teaching methods prod him along the spiritual path. This 25th anniversary edition of his beloved book contains a new Preface by the author that brings us up to date on life in Nepal and introduces readers both new and old to this magical story. Read a sample chapter.
Seeking an unusual place to escape with friends? Want to indulge in a perfect hot spring or mountain retreat? Hoping to gain perspective by exploring women's history or touring a quirky museum? 100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go will both inspire and compel you to hit the road—in a group, with a friend, or solo. Divided into sections such as "Get to Know America," "Americans’ History," "Participate," and "X (Chromosome) Rated," this guidebook unveils places you've never heard of and gives you a new outlook on places you think you know. It illuminates attractions close to home and reminds you why it's time to plan that special trip far away. The book is packed with breezy reviews, insightful advice, and engaging anecdotes sure to set you on your way. Read Sophia Dembling's Introduction.
Deer Hunting in Paris is an unexpectedly funny exploration of a vanishing way of life in a complex, cosmopolitan world. Sneezing madly from hay fever, a Korean-American preacher’s daughter refuses to get married, travels the world, and ends up learning how to hunt from her boyfriend’s conservative family. As she navigates the perils of an unlikely romantic relationship from Paris, France, to Paris, Maine, Paula Young Lee skewers human foibles while she celebrates hunting, DIY food culture, and what it means to be a carnivore. She finds herself trying to keep from being “mistaken” for a deer and getting shot at the clothesline, while also avoiding becoming dinner for bears. Along the way, this former vegetarian finds lessons about life, love, and loss in a hacksaw and a haunch of venison. Read the Prologue or a sample chapter.
The Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 9 invites readers to ride shotgun alongside intrepid female nomads as they travel the globe to discover new places, people, and facets of themselves. The stories in this edition are as diverse as the destinations, the common thread being fresh, compelling storytelling that will make you laugh, weep, wish you were there, or be glad you weren’t. You'll tangle with snakes and alligators in Bangladesh, experience life under niqab in Egypt, find love in a tree house in Laos, and much more. Read Lavinia Spalding's Introduction or a sample chapter.
Ghost Dance in Berlin is an unlikely declaration of love by the American-born son of German-speaking Jewish refugees. From a temporary perch in a villa on Berlin’s biggest lake, Wortsman imagines the parallel celebratory haunting of two sets of ghosts, those of the exiled erstwhile owners, a Jewish banker and his family, and those of the Führer’s Minister of Finance and his entourage, who took over title, while in another villa across the lake another gaggle of ghosts is busy planning the Final Solution.
Where the Wall once stood dividing East and West the city remains bisected by invisible borderlines, across which the author hops with an eye for telling detail and an ear for memorable conversations with street musicians, winos, lawyers, bankers, politicians, a taxi driver, a hooker, and a Michelin star chef, with cameo appearances by Henry Kissinger and the shade of Marlene Dietrich. Read the Foreword or a sample chapter.
Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana is the 9th book in the best-selling Travelers' Tales humor series, which began with There's No Toilet Paper on the Road Less Traveled and blossomed into a classic "underwear" women's humor series, including Sand in My Bra and The Thong Also Rises. This laugh-out-loud collection will resonate with experienced travelers and novices alike and includes hilarious misadventures with packing, border crossings, travel fashion, language faux pas, weird food encounters, and romantic overtures abroad. Read Marcy Gordon's Introduction or a sample chapter.
The Best Travel Writing, Volume 9 is the latest book in the annual Travelers’ Tales series launched in 2004 to celebrate the world’s best travel writing—from Nobel Prize winners to emerging new writers. These 27 stories cover the globe, from finding peace with a father's spirit in Mexico to getting caught off guard by a mad dog in Bhutan to crossing the Sahara in a convoy. The points of view and perspectives are global, and themes encompass high adventure, spiritual growth, romance, hilarity and misadventure, service to humanity, and encounters with exotic cuisine. Read the Introduction by Tim Cahill and a sample chapter, "The Offer that Refused Me" by Marcia DeSanctis.
“Makes me want to pack my bag and follow Van Allen’s alluring suggestions for traveling in Italy. Her knowledge reveals an intimacy with the country and a honed sense of adventure. Andiamo!”
—Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
Imagine creating your Italian dream vacation with a fun-loving savvy traveler girlfriend whispering in your ear. Go along with writer Susan Van Allen on a femme-friendly ride up and down the boot, to explore this extraordinarily enchanting country where Venus (Vixen Goddess of Love and Beauty) and The Madonna (Nurturing Mother of Compassion) reign side-by-side. With humor, passion, and practical details, this uniquely anecdotal guidebook will enrich your Italian days. Read the Introduction, and also this superb review.
“A most diverting and picaresque tale, one that reads like a sentimental journey of a hundred years ago.”
—the late Norman Cousins
In the early 1960s, a young, self-taught musician set out to travel the world with no money, equipped only with his guitar, his voice, and his belief in the goodness of people. Along the way, blown by the winds of fortune, guided by instinct, he played for kings and paupers, soldiers and servants, artists and terrorists. His name is Moro Buddy Bohn, and his unlikely and powerful story will uplift you and inspire you to live the life you want.
His audiences have included Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Frederick IX of Denmark, Pablo Picasso, Rita Hayworth, Patty Duke, Lee Marvin, Howard Hughes, King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, and he was the first musician to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam. Read the Preface or a sample chapter.
“This book is very sick. Highly recommended.”
—J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals
Travelers' Tales/Solas House proudly presents its first work of fiction, Gary Buslik's wacky satire on power-mongers of all stripes. In this rollicking story, Iranian president Akhmed teams up with the leaders of Venezuela and Cuba and their American intelligence agents to smuggle radioactive matzo balls into Miami Beach. But intelligence being as slippery a concept to these nincompoops as chicken fat on linoleum, when each member of the gang decides to ladle out his own personal nuke soup, holy terror Akhmed is left steaming. Will his plan to destroy America float like a fly or sink like a lead dumpling?
Star-crossed lovers, conniving academics, and blustery social climbers collide with ravenous termites, international do-badders, and multi-level marketing in a plot as fast-paced and hilarious as a runaway mountain bus. Radioactivity has never been so much fun.
“Lavinia Spalding has given travelers a witty, profound, and accessible exploration of the hows and whys of keeping a journal. Novices and veterans alike will find inspiration and fresh ideas on every page, along with practical suggestions to bring out the best writer in anyone.” —Anthony Weller, author of Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road
Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, inspires budding memoirists and jetsetting scribes alike. But Writing Away doesn’t stop there—author Lavinia Spalding spins the romantic tradition of keeping a travelogue into a modern, witty adventure in awareness, introducing the traditional handwritten journal as a profoundly valuable tool for self-discovery, artistic expression, and spiritual growth. Read the Introduction.
Cruise Confidential: a hit below the waterline
“Part Love Boat, part Mutiny on the Bounty, Cruise Confidential does for cruising what Animal House did for higher education.” —J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals
Cruise Confidential is a delightfully funny, wild, and romantic adventure that reveals what it's really like working on a cruise ship. Brian David Bruns worked for a year in the ships' restaurants and his account will astonish you as you are assaulted with circumstances ranging from the absurd to the bizarre. Did you know that waiters are required to steal cutlery and even food from each other for their own guests? Can you imagine what the crew thinks of the passengers? And sex, don't forget the sex. Read Chapter 1 here.