Blog posts of '2015' 'April'

An Interview with Charlie Carroll
Inspired by a long-time obsession with Tibet, high school English teacher Charlie Carroll, took a sabbatical to explore the country of his dreams, contending with Chinese bureaucracy, struggling across harsh terrain and encountering breathtaking altitudes. At a teahouse on the border of China and Tibet, he met Lobsang, a Tibetan exile who crossed the Himalayas years before. Carroll discusses his decision to tell the story of both of their journeys in the volatile region in Peaks on the Horizon, Two Journeys in Tibet.
All the Wild That Remains
Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire resides on many an environmentalist’s bookshelf and Wallace Stegner is to many Westerners a hallowed name. However, David Gessner worries that Abbey’s dog-eared paperback may have collected its own desert of dust, and that most of us are long overdue for a trip to Big Rock Candy Mountain. In his dual biography of the writers, All the Wild That Remains, Gessner lays out why “Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey, far from being regional or outdated, have never been more relevant.
In Montmartre
Certain neighborhoods are forever linked with certain time periods and movements: Harlem with its literary renaissance in the 1920s, Haight-Ashbury with the hippie subculture in the 1960s and Montmartre with the birth of modernity in the early 1900s. In her new book, In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art, art historian Sue Roe captures the zeitgeist of this exciting Parisian neighborhood as it witnessed the unveiling of novel art movements during its cultural zenith.
Kaleidoscope City
“Perhaps for all of us,” Piers Moore Ede begins his new book Kaleidoscope City, “there is a single country, and within that a single place, in which some essential element of the world is illuminated for the first time.” For Ede that place is Varanasi, a city in Northeast India he first visited at 25 and later returned to for a year with the sole purpose of writing about it. India can be intimidating to travelers unused to its chaos and crowds. To Ede, Varanasi captures the essence of the larger country, melding the nation’s colors and contradictions into the microcosm of one city.
Grosseto, Italy
Kindly contributed by Italy correspondent for The Economist John Hooper, who explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in his new, illuminating portrait The Italians. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the country as it exists today.
  For the traveller, unexpected discoveries are commonplace; unexpected journeys are rarer. I had been at a conference in Siena. On the night before my departure, there was one of those apocalyptic storms that break surprisingly often in the skies over Italy. At the railway station the next day they told me the line to Florence was impassable -- hopelessly flooded. The only way back to Rome was by way of Grosseto.
Time to Go: Cuba
"I think if you want to see what Cuba was," Jo Ann Bell, senior vice president of programs at Road Scholar, told the Miami Herald, "you're going to have to go in the next year or two." If the changes in U.S./Cuba relations has you contemplating travel to Cuba, start your planning now by reading up on the country. We're offering this essential package of 6 items as a set for $146, including shipping, 15% off the retail price. And you'll get free shipping on anything else you order. Just enter Item EXCBA107 online or ask for it over the phone. For even more recommended reading on the country, 
Savage Grace
“My feeling for wilderness or wildness was both a revolt from something and an impulse towards. Towards unfetteredness, towards the sheer and vivid world.” With these words, intrepid nature-lover Jay Griffiths introduces Savage Grace, her lucid cri de coeur about untamed landscapes and indigenous culture. Her writing touches on five peoples represented by natural elements: The Aguaruna of the Amazon (Earth), the Inuit of Nunavut (Ice), the Bajo of Indonesia (Water), the Aborigines of the Australian desert (Fire) and the Dani of West Papua (Air).