My aim on TraveLit is to introduce readers who share my love of travel literature to good books they may not know about. Mostly classics, some new, the books cover travel in its many forms, from exploration to tourism. Along with reviews, TraveLit also brings together provocative, entertaining travel quotations and reader recommendations. I welcome comments on the readings, the reviews, the quotations, or the fascinating enterprise of travel itself.

TraveLit--A blog about travel literature

Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

Travel Quotation

February 23, 2015

"Travelling outgrows its motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you—or unmaking you."
―Nicolas Bouvier, The Way of the World

Book Review

February 21, 2015

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849. Volume 1.
Edited and compiled by Kenneth L. Holmes. Introduction by Anne M. Butler. University of Nebraska Press, 1983, 1996, 280 pp.

Like other American youngsters, I learned about the 19th-century pioneers heading west seeking a new and better life. But my knowledge about their travels was limited, an abstract concept. I certainly had no sense of the remarkable journeys fleshed out by the pioneers themselves in these letters and diaries.

Covered Wagon Women 1840-1849—the first in an eleven-volume series—brings together writings of thirteen pioneer women, including survivors of the Donner Party that went so tragically astray. Most of the women are Anglo Saxon Protestant, but among them are a young Quaker and a Mormon midwife, who delivers babies on her journey from Nebraska to Salt Lake City. The letters, and especially the extended journals, offer great detail about the daily travels, as the groups move slowly onward—“made 12 miles,” “made 20 miles,” “made 4 miles”—struggling with bad weather, bad water, steep inclines, hard-to-ford rivers, runaway cattle, illness, and many deaths. (more…)

Selected Works

Travel Memoir
"Loved this book, which appears to be but is more than an account of an anthropological expedition, more than a travel book, more than a memoir."--Barbara Beckwith, author of What Was I Thinking?: Digging Deeper into Everyday Racism,
"It is undoubtedly the best written account of, and reflection on, fieldwork I have read, and --perhaps -- the best book on fieldwork (period) I have come across. --Joel Savishinsky, Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus), Ithaca College, author of Trail of the Hare.
“An impressively insightful, deftly written, accessibly articulate, expertly knowledgeable, and decidedly analytical survey of…book reviewing today.”
Midwest Book Review
“Captivating stories in an anthology of epistolary fiction from the last 50 years.”

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