One for the Road (01/18/06)

I enjoyed Thomas Swick’s guest blogging at World Hum last week and decided to profile one of his travel books for today’s suggestion: A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania With a Maverick Traveler was published in 2003, and includes many stories that first appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where Swick has been the Travel Editor since 1989. Some of the places he visits and mentions in his stories include trips to Turkey, France, Hungary, Ohio and Minnesota. Here’s a World Hum interview with Swick from when the book was released. It sounds like a neat collection. Also be sure to check out Swick’s posts from his recent week at World Hum — he shared some really great stuff about travel and the travel writing profession, that is sure to be of particular interest to aspiring wanderlust writers.

One for the Road (01/10/06)

This book by Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan was released in 2004 and was turned into a television show in 2005. No Opportunity Wasted: Creating a List for Life is not exactly a travel book, but Keoghan shares his personal travel experiences in the Yucatan Jungle and African Congo to encourage readers to face their own fears and test personal limits. Last year his N.O.W. self-improvement philosophy was transformed into the N.O.W TV show, a globetrotting adventure series on Discovery HD and Fit TV. Each week on No Opportunity Wasted, one person is given three days (72 hours) and $3,000 to make their biggest dream a reality. You can view Phil’s List for Life as well as lists submitted by readers to get some travel inspiration. Check out the show or book to learn more about this adventure guru’s 8 Ways to Create a List for the Life You Want.

Perspectives on Travel Writing

I wanted to point out two satirical pieces I read this week centered in some way around the wonderful world of travel writing. The first is a short blog post over at Words without Borders: A good travel guide beats reality. The musings of Arnon Grunberg made me chuckle, especially as I look around my bedroom at the six or so guidebooks I currently have scattered about. It looks like I’m trying to cram in lots of juicy guidebook details before I head off on my trip. Maybe I am?! I plan to leave all but one book behind — which will make the cut? And what happens if none of what I read is true once I’m on the road?!?! Will all our greatest travel fantasies really come true if the guide book says they will? The second piece is a smart travel essay by Rolf Potts: The Art of Writing a Story About Walking Across Andorra is based on a true travel story but told with a strong satirical twist. Potts unleashes his perspective on the “…conventions and clichés of mainstream travel writing” in a creative and captivating essay. Two very unique pieces of writing that focus on different genres — I think both are worth a read if you enjoy any kind of travel writing.

La Sabranenque

I received something in the mail from La Sabranenque today, which I must have requested awhile back. I’m very interested in vacations that have a restoration or preservation component to them (although I’ve yet to try anything like this myself) so find that I’m often drawn to reading about these hands-on vacation programs (like the Forest Service one I mentioned the other day). Maybe it all goes back to those camping trips I took as a young Girl Scout, when we were always building something or frolicking in the woods searching for firewood. I like to be active when I travel…most of the time. La Sabranenque offers a variety of weeklong sessions in France and Italy that keep visitors moving while still enjoying a relaxing, vacation-like atmosphere. Some weeks are purely volunteer driven, and others combine volunteer work with hike and tour options. The two locations are in Provence, at St. Victor la Coste, France and in the southern Italian town of Altamura. All activities, housing and home-cooked meals are included. Yum. They have some off-season sessions that I might actually consider doing if my itinerary and budget allow. I’m off to investigate this further…

One for the Road: Ski Snowboard Europe

I was reading Tripso’s 11 Perfect Gifts For Travelers and agreed with author Charles Leocha’s suggestion that niche guidebooks which focus on particular interests of travelers are indeed super gift ideas. Of course, Leocha used this gift idea list as an opportunity to recommend his own niche travel guides: Ski Snowboard Europe is a step-by-step guide to planning a winter adventure in the Alps in Austria, Italy, Switzerland or France as well as some resorts in Norway, Spain and Andorra. Leocha points out which resorts are best for families or singles and which are recommended for different skill-level skiers and snowboarders. The book also includes helpful details about the atmosphere of particular lodges and updated contact information to make booking your trip easy as a ski down the bunny slope. Leocha is a black-diamond skier who has also written Ski Snowboard America and Canada. The latest editions of both books were released in October 2005.