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Blog posts of '2015' 'February'

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Kindly contributed by writer and blogger Sasha Martin, who set out on a 195-week trip around the world -- without leaving her kitchen. Her culinary journey is captured in her new book Life from Scratch. Determined to cook (and eat!) a meal from every country in the world, Martin makes peace with her past through the prism of world cultures and cuisine. As she cooks, Martin writes not only about the meals but of the memories they evoke. Martin’s favorite spot is her kitchen in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but she shares how her recipes were inspired by travel and can, in turn, inspire the reader to travel beyond the kitchen to explore the origins of international cuisine.
An Interview with Michael Meyer
Michael Meyer, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, discusses his latest book In Manchuria. Working in the groove of many great travel writers, Meyer blends narrative nonfiction, memoir and reportage for an honest look at rural Northeast China (Dongbei, formerly known as Manchuria). Traveling by train and bus across the region in search of its history, which has been largely erased due to the Cultural Revolution, he gives voice to a phenomenon that is sweeping China as villages shift from commune to company town. Meyer has written previously on China in
In Manchuria
Chinese youth who live in the countryside often dream of moving to the city. Conversely, Michael Meyer lived in Beijing but dreamed of moving to Manchuria, the northeastern province of China known locally as Dongbei (rhymes with “wrong way”), where he eventually resided among his wife’s family in a village called Wasteland. With his new book In Manchuria, Meyer uses trains as a vehicular lens through which to see and explore the region’s history. When not teaching English in Wasteland (where students know him as “Professor Plumblossom”), he tours the countryside, searching for traces of history from before the 1950s. But in Manchuria, the past can be hard to come by.
She Weeps Each Time You're Born
April 30, 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, the day the Viet Cong swept the city, the last Americans were evacuated and the Vietnam War was finally over. According to Quan Barry, poet and author of the new book She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, this was also the moment that most Americans stopped thinking about Vietnam. Yet, as tourism to Southeast Asia increases, Barry explained in a recent interview, travelers should remember that Vietnamese history didn’t start and end in the 1960s and ’70s.
ETC 2015
Longitude spent last week in snowbound Boston for the Educational Travel Conference, where we met with our travel partners and explored the world of educational travel through panels, meetings and a talented host of keynote speakers, among them, veteran travel writer Pico Iyer. Iyer has written on Cuba and the Night, on Video Night in Kathmandu, on the global journey of the fourteenth Dalai Lama (The Open Road) and on some of the loneliest places in the world (Falling Off the Map), among many other destinations.
Peaks on the Horizon
“Go to Tibet,” the Dalai Lama famously instructs, “and then tell the world about it.” Charlie Carroll has done just that with his new book Peaks on the Horizon: Two Journeys in Tibet. The two journeys, told in alternating chapters, are Carroll’s account of his lifelong fascination with Tibet that eventually drove him to visit “the roof of the world” and the re-imagined story of Lobsang, a Tibetan national who fled to Nepal at the age of five. The chapters carrying Carroll’s travelogue are nicely balanced between Tibetan history and descriptions of its landscape and people.
An Interview with Aaron Frankel
An interview with Managing Director of Groovy Map Aaron Frankel, who has lived in Bangkok for 40 years, growing up there and returning to start his own advertising company after college. Frankel discusses his map business, Groovy Map Co. Ltd., which he founded in 1999. Groovy Maps are easy-to-use, laminated map guides to cities and countries throughout Asia. Each map contains helpful listings, such as transportation options, cuisine, nightlife, shopping and local culture.
  Longitude. Window seat or aisle? Frankel. Window seat whenever possible.  My favorite activity on-board is comparing the on-board aircraft location maps to the real cities below.
Sri Lanka
Kindly contributed by Romesh Gunesekera whose stories, set in his native Sri Lanka, are steeped in the spirit of place. In his early collection Monkfish Moon a diverse set of characters ask the question, "what's happened?" as Gunesekera forces them (and us) to deal with the reality of a nation embroiled in Tamil-Sinhala strife. His slim novel Reef tells the haunting story of modern Sri Lanka through the eyes of a servant and his oblivious master.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People
“When faced with the happiest, most trusting, and successful people on the planet, one’s natural instinct is to try to find fault.” At least, that’s British journalist Michael Booth’s impulse in his new book, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, as he journeys to each of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden), propelled by the world’s increasing interest in these so-called perfect societies. Booth is especially intrigued because, after living in Denmark for more than a decade, he doesn’t see the relationship between the hype and the reality.
Spring Travel Titles
A recent issue of Publishers Weekly highlighted 60 titles to watch for this spring. From their list, we culled five forthcoming books of interest to the avid traveler. To see more books were excited to see published this season, click here.