Wanderlust Read: A Sentimental Journey, by Laurence Sterne
Default / 04/04/2018

Though unlikely to appear in contemporary “Best Travel Writing” lists, this Laurence Sterne text is the foundation of the genre. Published in 1768, the book portrays Sterne’s 1765 travels through France and Italy. Upon release, the text was extremely popular, establishing travel writing as the dominant genre of the late 18th century. A Sentimental Journey discusses travel in a new light—rather than focusing on skills and lessons gleaned through travel, the narrator emphasizes subjective discussions of personal taste and sentiment.   The story’s narrator, Reverend Mr. Yorick, is a barely disguised alter ego of Sterne himself. The journey begins in Calais, where Yorick meets a monk begging for donations to support his convent. Yorick refuses to give anything to the monk, but regrets his decision, later deciding to exchange snuff boxes with the man. He then travels to Montreuil, hiring a servant, La Fleur, to accompany him on the journey.   Yorick runs the risk of imprisonment while traveling in Paris; the story takes place before the end of the Seven Years’ War, and Yorick’s lack of passport and English ancestry force him to flee to Versailles to acquire a passport. He then returns to Paris, continuing his voyage to…

Series Spotlight: Lonely Planet
Default / 19/03/2018

Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world. In just over forty years, they have printed over 120 million books, becoming the most successful travel publisher ever. They have around 500 titles that span 195 countries, hiring a combination of travel and local writers to strike a balance between insider tips and foreign perspective. Additionally, these guides are updated with new additions every two years, allowing for new information and highlights with each edition.   These guide books are great because they are straightforward and to-the-point. They are printed in double-columned pages and small print, which can be difficult on the eyes, but ensures for maximum information incorporation. The guides are separated into four major sections: Plan Your Trip, On the Road, Understand, and Survival Guide. The first section covers all vital information one might need to make their trip happen—a cultural etiquette primer, maps, month-by-month calendars of major cultural events, and sample itineraries. The second section comprises the majority of the book; it covers individual areas, breaking down neighborhoods and cities into highlight sites, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, and food recommendations. The Understand section provides a brief history of the country and culture,…

Wanderlust Read: A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
Default / 05/03/2018

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is Bill Bryson’s autobiographical account of his attempt to complete the AT. Bryson moves deftly between humorous observation and serious discussions relating to the trail’s history and his hiking experience, covering sociology, ecology, botany, zoology, and anthropology.   The book begins with Bryson’s vivid description of his personal interest with the Appalachian Trail. A piece of the trail runs by his home, and the occasional traveler passes by throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. After several years, Bryson and his friend, Stephen Katz, set out to hike the trail from the south end—from Georgia to Maine. The first half of the book is heavy with grief and frustration; Bryson’s travel partner, Katz, is crude, overweight, and a recoverin alcoholic—even less prepared for the trip than Bryson himself. They struggle with gear, decide to discard expensive equipment and food, and stumble through the heat of America’s south and mid-Atlantic.   Upon reaching Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the two decide that the entire trail is too much of an undertaking. They skip a massive section of the trail, picking up again in Roanoke, Virginia. After nearly 800 miles of hiking the two…