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TraveLit--A blog about travel literature. 

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

Book Recommendation

Under African Sun

By Marianne Alverson. University of Chicago Press, 1987, 233 pp.

In 1972, Alverson went to live in Botswana with her anthropologist husband, Hoyt, and their two young sons. Unlike most expatriates in the region, the family lived on the lands, in the homestead of the village elder Rre Segalthe, who adopted them. Alverson, who learned the Setswana language, immersed herself in the lives of her neighbors, adapting to their customs and in time starting a school. Her memoir is perceptive, entertaining, and so rich in detail that I too found myself immersed in the community and in the author's moving experience. Read More 

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Travel Quotation

"Take more time, cover less ground."
―Thomas Merton
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Book Review

Travels with Epicurus:
A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

By Daniel Klein. Penguin, 2012, 164 pp.

In his early seventies, faced with the prospect of devoting an entire year to major dental surgery, Daniel Klein decided it was time to deal with the realities—and conceptions—of old age. Questioning what he calls the “forever young” movement prevalent in America—where the elderly keep striving for new goals and submitting to cosmetic surgery—he determined to find a better philosophy.

Having spent time previously on the Greek island of Hydra, where he found the elderly “uncommonly content with their stage of life,” he thought this was the place to find some answers. Packing up a load of philosophy books, he set off on his quest.

In Travels with Epicurus, Klein takes us on his philosophical journey.  Read More 

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Book Review

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
By Laurie Lee. Drawings by Leonard Rosoman. Atheneum, 1969, 248 pp.

The opening of this wonderful book reminded me of one of those fairy tales where the youngest son sets out with his small bundle of possessions to seek his fortune in the world. Laurie Lee was just 19 when he left his small village in Gloucestershire to see the world, and among his few possessions—which included a tent, a blanket, a change of clothes, and a tin of treacle biscuits—was a violin, which he planned to play to earn his living. Like those storybook figures, he was very young, and everything lay before him. As he says, recapturing the wonder many years later, “Everything I saw was new.”

As you would expect of an English youth, Lee heads for London, though his main destination is Southampton, to see the sea. But after working at a buildings job for a year, his journey takes him to Spain, where he trudges through hot fields, wanders into strange villages, takes in cities—Madrid, Toledo, Seville—and at last, wintering in tiny Castillo, finds himself amidst the beginnings of the Spanish civil war.  Read More 

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