It’s almost like being there too

Part 2 (read part 1 here)

Bhutan, Egypt, Jamie Zeppa, off-the-beaten-path travel, personal journeys, Rosemary Mahoney, travel essays, travel writers, vicarious travel

Once again, get your shots, grab your passport and your gear, and prepare to experience – vicariously – some great off-the-beaten-path journeys.

  1. Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney
    Mahoney’s story is told in her 120-mile solo voyage down Egypt’s Nile River in a borrowed rowboat. She transplanted her passion – rowing – from the coast of Maine to the Nile between the cities of Aswan and Qena.Like the Nile, which flows north rather than south, Egypt was a place where down meant up – where a woman poking around the docks in search of a skiff was unheard of. This did not phase Ms. Mahoney. Whether struggling to buy a boat or visiting historic sites, innocent encounters became psychological and philosophical labyrinths which she expertly navigated.

    This is great travel writing. Mahoney’s style is easy and in balanced contrast to the physically demanding environment she describes so well. I relished her tales of negotiating Egyptian culture. Experiencing a country’s culture is the most exciting part of travel for me, and Down the Nile transported me to the heart of Egypt.

  2. Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa
    In 1989, Canadian Jamie Zeppa committed to a two-year teaching contract in Bhutan, a Shangri La, known for its mantra of “gross national happiness.” After a brief orientation, Jamie landed at a remote Bhutanese village. She battled fleas, landslides, rats, leeches and illness. Zeppa felt she wouldn’t survive two weeks, let alone two years, as she struggled to bridge the cultural and political divides that seemed as steep as the Himalayas. With help from her young students, she overcame her culture shock and fear, and soon began her love affair with the country.This book is written as a personal journey. As a traveler in Bhutan, I relived many of Ms. Zeppa’s experiences and laughed along with her recounts of the cultural oddities that we would both come to accept and love. Her journey, along with my personal experiences there, reminded me that travel, especially adventure travel, is as much about enjoying the physical place as the transformative power of the journey one undertakes to complete it.

I’m always on the lookout for great travel books, so let me know if you have any recommendations.

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