Edited by James O’Reilly, Sean O’Reilly, and Richard Sterling

Stories from Barbara Kingsolver, Sogyal Rinpoche, Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., Pico Iyer, Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, and more

Does the soul survive the body? Do the bonds between loved ones transcend earthly existence? Do guardian angels protect us? Do actual ghosts torment us? Is there a God? Is there a heaven? What does it really mean to be dead…and alive?

The Ultimate Journey: Inspiring Stories of Living and Dying (Travelers’ Tales; March 2000; Trade Paperback Original, $17.95) is a stunning collection of stories from spiritual counselors, social activists, scientists, novelists, and acclaimed travel writers that will profoundly alter your thinking about these burning questions. Whether through “clinical” death or uncanny occurrences, these mortals have happily glimpsed the most elusive destination: The world after life and beyond earth.

What prompted a travel publisher to produce a book about death? James O’Reilly, president of Travelers’ Tales, who edited the compendium with Sean O’Reilly and Richard Sterling, provides this simple answer: “Travel mirrors the journey we all face, the journey on which we are already booked. When we travel, we cut ties, leave family and home behind, to face new worlds. Much like death, travel changes us, leavening our pride, changing our in short, transforming us.”

The Ultimate Journey presents more than forty stirring reflections on death, revolving around five timeless themes: Mysteries, Encounters, Rituals, Shadows, and Blessings. Told in diverse voices and set in disparate including Benares, Greenland, Madagascar, Auschwitz, and Boca Raton, these revelatory accounts all attest to an uplifting message: Death is not only the inevitable culmination of life, but also a potentially rewarding and wondrous one.

David Yeadon shares his eerie escape from certain death in the Elburz Mountains of Iran–and his newfound awareness of the “fragility and wonder” of life. Mary Morris attends a Day of the Dead party at a cemetery in Mexico to meet a mysterious old woman who seems to know her better than her own mother does. Fred Alan Wolf has an amazing out-of-body-experience that takes him into a vivid parallel universe. Jacques Lusseyran, a blind man, returns from the brink of death in Buchenwald free of fear and energized by a clear vision of life’s promise. Diana V. Culbertson discovers the identity of the “angel” who has greeted her once during the throes of severe illness and again after a near-fatal car accident: a great uncle who was killed in battle long before she was born. Peter Holt visits a revered Indian fortune-teller and comes to a striking realization: He doesn’t want to know when and where he is going to die.

The Ultimate Journey features gifted writers who have traveled to the realm of death to find greater clarity and peace in life and have lived to share this ultimate adventure.

About the Editors
James O’Reilly is president and series editor of Travelers’ Tales. He has visited more than forty countries, along the way meditating with monks in Tibet, participating in West African voodoo rituals, and hanging out the laundry with nuns in Florence. Sean O’Reilly, a former seminarian, is editor-at-large and director of international sales for Travelers’ Tales. He most recently completed an 18,000-mile odyssey around the United States. Richard Sterling, a navy Vietnam Veteran, is the editor of The Adventure of Food and the award-winning Food, and the author of The Fearless Diner.

About Travelers’ Tales
Founded in 1993, Travelers’ Tales publishes a unique kind of travel book, one that paints a portrait of a country or a subject area through the personal stories of many writers. The series includes country and regional guides, books on women’s travel, spiritual travel, travel advice, adventure and the outdoors, food, and most recently, the Footsteps: The Soul of Travel, a series, that features single-author travel narratives.

The Ultimate Journey: Inspiring Stories of Living and Dying
Edited by James O’Reilly, Sean O’Reilly, and Richard Sterling
Published by Travelers’ Tales
Publication Date: March 2000
Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 1-885211-38-4; 302 pages; $ 17.95 U.S., $27.95 Canada
Available from bookstores, 1-800-247-6553, or www.travelerstales.com