One for the Road Review: The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2007

I’ve been thumbing through Travelers Tales The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2007 for the past week or so, diving in to different stories as they speak to me or call my name. That’s what I love so much about anthologies like this — you can read them any which way you please, in any order, at any time, again and again.

When I crack open a new anthology and scan the table of contents, sometimes I search for names of writers I may know. This time, I turned first to Abbie Kozolchyk’s “A.K. Phone Home”, because I recently had the pleasure of meeting her. The humorous and heartwarming story about Abbie’s travels in Bolivia is all about personal connections: with those she encounters on the road, and those back home that she makes special effort to remain in touch with.

Travelers’ Tales (and many other “best of” travel writing collections) usually include country names in the table of contents, so readers can easily find stories about a particular place. I next searched for stories about China (a place I’ll be visiting soon) and found two: Shari Caudron’s insightful piece about a three-week tour through China with her mother, and Nicole Clausing’s amusing holiday tale of two turkeys in Shijiazhuang.

Other navigational tactics I employ when reading travel anthologies is to scan the author bios at the end of each piece, in search of new writers. In this case, I found several first-time published writers, and particularly enjoyed Carmen Semler’s return to Malta and Laurie Coven’s Chaing Mai cleansing.

Editor Lucy McCauley did an excellent job of gathering a wonderful cross-section of voices and varied experiences, from Laurie Weed’s torrid love affair with a sexy Spaniard to Lonia Winchester’s moving personal piece about her life growing up in Poland during WWII. If a certain story doesn’t grab you at first, flip the page and move on to the next. Or put the book aside and return to it another day. There are countless ways to go about reading these adventures. It doesn’t really matter how you chose to do so, but just be sure you do.

Several of the contributors will be reading at bookstores later this summer. Check out Travelers Tales website to learn more about the book and upcoming events.