Publishers of Stories, Wit and Wisdom from Travelers
Around the World
TravelersTales.com | July 2002
"One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere
Willa Cather wrote these words in 1902 during her first trip to Provence. They suggest in a lovely way that travel may increase the incidence of moments of happiness, but of course the conditions exist close to home as well as far away. Nonetheless the visible and invisible wagon ruts of inertia are deeper at home than when you are traveling. So, if you have no plans this summer to sail the South Seas or hike the Dolomites, go down a street you've never been down, preferably on foot. Change your route to work or the way you go home. Walk a thicket of woods that has always intrigued you or lie down in a field. What we seek in travelmagicis all around, and has never left your doorstep, your bookshelf, your mind and heart.
James O'Reilly, Publisher
IN THIS ISSUE
News Box!Win a free trip to Paris! Wine event; Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference
Book SaleSelected women's titles 50% off!
In the SpotlightTT in the classroom, praise from bookstores
The Flying CarpetThe adventures, rants and raves of the TT staff and friends
Editors' Choice"Great in the Sack," a humorous back road adventure by Suzanne Schlosberg
Submission CallLast calls, revised guidelines
Sample Chaptersfrom America and Coast to Coast in celebration of Independence Day
Travel Tips"Weird Foods: Tips on Fearless Dining" from Shitting Pretty
Web site of the MonthMonk.com
Tell a FriendIf you enjoyed the stories and news, please pass the newsletter on to friends and family
The Last Word"Sea to Shining Sea," by Fred Setterberg, America
Win a trip to Paris!
Pick up a copy of France Today, the Journal of French Travel and Culture at your local magazine shop, and enter a chance to win free copies of Travelers' Tales France and Travelers' Tales Paris
not to mention the Grand Prizea free trip to Paris!
Winelovers, take note! Editor Thom Elkjer will be reading from Adventures in Wine, at
Book Passage on July 8th at 7:00 p.m.
serves up tales of wine, travel and friendship from such writers as Peter Mayle, Kermit Lynch and Gerald Asher." Publisher's Weekly January 2002
Do you want to be a travel writer?
Travelers' Tales is proud to be a sponsor of the Book Passage 11th annual Travel Writers & Photographers Conference August 15-18, 2002 in Corte Madera, CA. Our own Larry Habegger will be teaching at the conference. Registration is currently open. Learn more about the Travel Writers & Photographers Conference here.
Selected women's tales are 50% off. Visit our sale page to buy that gutsy woman in your life a new book, or add to your own Travelers' Tales collection.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
TT Books in the Classroom
Bookstores Praise Travelers' Tales
Professors are finding that the combination of talented writers and engaging subject matter in Travelers' Tales books make them perfect textbooks for college classes. Some of the recent courses using Travelers' Tales titles include a journalism class at Colorado State University (Travelers' Tales Cuba), a travel writing nonfiction class at the University of New Orleans (Travelers' Tales Central America), and Semester at Sea, a program that takes college students around the world in 100 days (The Gift of Travel: The Best of Travelers' Tales). If you or someone you know might be interested in using Travelers' Tales in the classroom please contact us at email@example.com.
We've been getting feedback lately from bookstore personnel about our books
it's nice to know they read our books, too!
"We adore the product as do our customers."
Manager, Tower Books, Mountain View, CA
"We love Travelers' Tales!"
Owner, Book Beat, Fairfax, CA
THE FLYING CARPET
- "Larry's Corner" is a feature in the Editors' Box on the Flying Carpet where Larry Habegger tells stories, talks about travel writing, and ruminates on current events. In "A Tale of Two Parks," Larry reflects on what creates community on a recent visit to his hometown. You can give him your opinion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- TT editor-at-large Sean O'Reilly discovers unlikely histories, epiphanies, and curses in an unusual church in Saint Louis.
Every week we choose one of the great stories we've received from travelers around the world and present it here as our "Editors' Choice." For an archive of these stories go to the Editors' Choice link on The Flying Carpet; for more about the editors, see About Travelers' Tales Staff.
Here's an excerpt from this week's story "Great in the Sack," a funny backroad adventure by Suzanne Schlosberg.
On a recent road trip around the West, Alec and I were driving down the Extraterrestrial Highway, a barren stretch of highway in southern Nevada where UFO sightings are frequently reported. We stopped at a diner for pie, and Alec noticed a flyer on the window for an event called the Great American Sack Race. I assumed it was one of those three-legged races and dismissed the idea instantly.
But Alec, a veteran cop with instincts for the peculiar, kept reading. "You don't hop in the sack," he said. "You carry it. For five miles. You're strong—you could do this!" According to the flyer, the event dated back to 1910, when five farmworkers from Wabuska, Nevada, bet their boss, Harry Warren, that he couldn't carry a 120-pound sack of wheat into Yerington, 10 miles away. Harry won the bet and the Great American Sack Race was born. It is now held every four years in Yerington.
The door closes on the women's humor book July 15. Women, don't miss your chance to be in this great collection of laughable misadventures. Check out our guidelines to get the most current list of new books, deadlines, and amended rates. It's always best to check this page for changes, especially as it's getting close to a due date.
In celebration of Independence Day, here are two stories on America.
In "Iron Horse Blues," author Linda Niemann reflects on life as an itinerant brakeman.
What I really want is to derail somewhere, not to go on with this pursuit of work, to come to rest so that the babble can stop, so that an overwhelming beauty can color me. There could be no further beauty than this country here, chocolate mesa fingers washed in lavender distances, streaks of green and rose, the grey highway following the contours of the land. Navajo sandstone bluffs turned on a lathe, saturation of color dependent on the changing light, a landscape continually repainting itself. I could have just stopped here, let the railroad find me, let my careening mind go on alone. I could have just stopped, but instead drove on, pushed the curtain of evening through the deeper canyonlands courting the swollen rush of the Colorado River. Hearing her now in the dark, I take only one breath of her swift presence, and then I flee. I inhale the icy ideas of her, get close to the great geographical imperative, the defining arterial fact of the Western states, feel her power, her tumbling mist on my face, and I turn away to the south. Like my own power, my own river of strength within, it is too mysterious and frightening now. Drawn to it, I turn away when I feel its presence near me.
In "New York,New York," travel legend Jan Morris describes the New York of the 1950s.
At one time or another I have approached some splendid places, most of them instinct with mystery or age: Venice on a misty post-war morning, silent and shrouded, like a surrendered knight-at-arms; Everest, the watchtower, on the theatrical frontiers of Nepal and Tibet; or Krak of the Crusaders, high and solitary in the mountains of Moab. All are celebrated in history or romance; but none lingers so tenaciously in my memory as the approach to the City of New York, the noblest of American symbols.
The approach from the sea is marvelous enough, but has become hackneyed from film and postcard. It is the road from inland that is exciting now, when Manhattan appears suddenly, a last outpost on the edge of the continent, and the charged atmosphere of the place spreads around it like ripples, and you enter it as you would plunge into a mountain stream in August. A splendid highway leads you there. It sweeps across the countryside masterfully, two white ribbons of concrete, aloof from the little villages and farms that lie beside it. You can enter in only at tollgates, and stop only at specified places (for a hamburger or a tankful of petrol), so the cars move in an endless, unbroken, unswerving stream. They carry the savor of distant places: cars from Georgia, with blossoms wilting in the back seat, or diesel trucks bringing steel pipes from Indiana; big black Cadillacs from Washington, and sometimes a gaudy convertible (like a distant hint of jazz) from New Orleans or California.
Here is an excerpt and some useful travel tips from Shitting Pretty: How to Stay Clean and Healthy While Traveling by Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth.
CHAPTER 4WEIRD FOODS: The Risks of Fearless Dining
I was walking through some rice fields in rural Thailand with a local engineer when a slender green snake shot across the path just ahead of us. Interested in my friend's lack of reaction to the animal, I asked," Was that a venomous snake?"
"No, it wasn't venomous and it is not good to eat either. In his eyes, this species was a complete write-off. Later I sat down to a delicious and diverse meal of all kinds of tasty tidbits of assorted textures and flavors. I asked about the slightly gelatinous black cubes in the stir-fry. "This is congealed ducks' blood," my host explained, delighted I was enjoying the food. At this point I stopped enjoying the food. Thailand is renowned for its delicious cuisine and for its amazing range of foods. Shopping in Thailand is fascinating; I find myself wondering how the weird ingredients can be prepared for the table. Who, for example, might want to nibble giant water scorpions (known also as toe-biters) that seem to be a local delicacy?
Unfortunately the foods that Thais, and many of the people of Southeast and East Asia, enjoy cause some special health problems. This is because many "delicacies" are eaten raw or undercooked, and it is this lack of cooking (rather than the weird ingredients) that causes trouble.
If you are in doubt about the safety of a new or weird food, ask locals about it, and do not overindulge yourself at first.
Most weird foods will be safe to eatif unaestheticonce they have been well cooked and are served hot.
Beef or yak raised in less than-sanitary conditions may carry tapeworm that will infest you unless the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Avoid eating red or brightly colored fruits and berries unless you know them to be harmless.
Never eat anything, which looks like a tomato (unless you know it is one), even if it smells pleasant.
Do not eat roots, fruits, or vegetables with a bitter, stinging, or otherwise disagreeable taste. Try them with the tip of your tongue if in doubt.
Consuming uncooked wild watercress in regions where freshwater is polluted carries a risk of liver fluke infestation.
Seaweeds are all edible as long as you are not in a highly polluted area. The tastiest kinds are generally the pink, purple, reddish, or green types.
Do not eat small wild birds in Papua New Guinea or Indonesian Irian Jaya.
The liver of dogs, bears, and other carnivores is so loaded with vitamin A as to be toxic. Don't eat it.
Cannibals in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea suffered slow neurological decline over months or years because they ate the brains of their victims. The disease, kuru, was due to a virus akin to the agents causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob or "mad cow" disease, and appeared after ten to twenty years incubation. Such "slow virus" infections come from eating brain, bone marrow, liver, or spleen of infected animals (or people).
WEB SITE OF THE MONTH
Have you heard of the Monks? Travel writers old and new will be inspired by Jim Crotty and Michael Lane's dedication to the great highway. From a '72 Ford Econoline, to a 26-foot Fleetwood Bounder motorhome, and then finally a 12-foot Subaru, these guys traveled on the road with their cats Nurse and Nurse's Aid for 13 years, publishing the world's only mobile magazine. Monk.com is launching its new look July 4th, and you'll still be able to read stories from the Monks' early adventures through America, as well as recent essays on current events. Their motto "Look Deeper" is more than appropriate for their writing, and you just might find yourself laughing along to their tales as well. Two new sections to their Web Site will welcome submissions under 1000 words. Slant will focus on social commentary, while Story will feature travel stories.
TELL A FRIEND
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THE LAST WORD
Then how, finally, should we characterize this country that continues to engage, enrage, confound, and inspire the rest of the worldeven as it ceaselessly draws visitors to its shores and sends the rest of us bounding around its borders.
I think all we can say is that it's vast, copious, and contradictory.
From Many. One.
"Always have a guide in the U.S.," writes Englishman Adam Nicolson, "it's a much more foreign place than you think."
Good adviceas far as it goes. These fifty states and assorted possessions (How easily we forget our imperial grasp of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam) comprise one of the grandest, strangest, most influential societies ever to stake out borders on planet Earth. Yet even those of us who have always lived here may benefit from the eyes and insights of plucky travelersbe they peregrinating foreigner or uprooted resident. In truth, we need regularly to be reminded about the kind of daft and beguiling land we inhabit.
Fred Setterberg, Travelers' Tales America "From Sea to Shining Sea," excerpted in 365 Travel: A Daily Book of Journeys, Meditations and Adventures from the introduction to Travelers' Tales America.
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