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Topic: True Adventure/Foreign Travel

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Subject: True Adventure/Foreign Travel
Date Posted: 7/6/2011 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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Can't say I ever had a burning desire to know more about how a newspaper is managed, but I loved  NY journalist Jennifer Steil's story of how she got a wild hair to go to Yemen and train a newsroom full of aspiring reporters.  Loved how she researched, immersed herself and came to love the people of a very different culture!  

Can any of you recommend similiar stories of immersion travel?  All sounds very adventurous to me cool

Date Posted: 7/7/2011 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2006
Posts: 516
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Looks interesting.  Below are a few books you might enjoy.

So Many Enemies, So Little Time by Elinor Burkett.  It is about a writer that decides that she wants to teach journalism in a foreign country.  She becomes a Fulbright professor and moves to Kyrgyzstan with her husband a week before 9/11.  The book is about her experiences teaching journalism and her travels throughout the former USSR and Middle East.  There were several parts of the book that really made me smile.  One was when she was told not to sit on the concrete steps since it might freeze her private parts and make it so she can't have children.  Another was when she tried to get an answer as to why she could only buy chicken thighs (called Bush Legs) and not breasts.

Around the Bloc:  My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana by Stephanie Elizondo Griest.  This is another book by a writer that wants to experience foreign lands, especially Communist controlled countries.  She spent a significant amount of time in Russia and China (several months) while working as a journalist.  The short trip to Cuba was actually my favorite part.  She traveled through Mexico and convinced the Cuban authorities not to stamp her passport. 

Stasiland:  True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder.  Ms Funder is an Australian who lived in Berlin right after the wall fell ('90 or '91).  She writes about meeting different sort of people that lived in East Germany, including guards, Stasi police, a woman whose rapist was jailed by the East German authorities but now is worried that he was let out with all the confusion, people that escaped over the wall, and the sanctioned East German rock star.  The book is written in two parts as a family member's illness caused Ms. Funder to leave Germany for five years and the huge differences that happened during that time.

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2011
Posts: 9,684
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The Posionwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover.  This is an intense book about a family who is unwillingly moved to deepest Africa in the 1950s when their husband/father answers God's calling to become a missionary. The experience of living in tribal Africa under the control and neglect of a man who is consumed by what he considers his life's calling is told from the seperate prespective of each of the daughters and his wife.  It is not a happy read but a compelling one. 

Shortly after I finished this book I befriended a woman who's family had just returned from years in the jungles of Papua New Guinea where she raised her children while her husband served as a missionary.  I gave her the book to read and when she gave it back she said it was the most difficult book she'd ever read as it was like reading her life story set on page. 

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2011
Posts: 9,684
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If you like non-fiction books about what life is like living/traveling in other countries and you're into total trivia immersion, read Bill Bryson's books.  I've enjoyed all of his books but the ones I enjoyed most are "Notes from Small Country" which is about his last travels through England before moving back to the States and "In a Sunburned Country" which is about his travels in Australia, and, although not about foreign travel what I consider his best book, "A Walk in the Woods," which is about his attempt to conquer the Appalachian trail.  Bryson has a hysterical knack for turning a clever phrase and digging up the most amazing, trivial data and putting it down in an entertaining story. 

I'm not one of those people who can recall and quote entire passages from books I've read but I will forever remember Bryson describing his experience of renting a car in Oxford, England and promptly getting lost trying to drive out of town and describing it as, "My experience with rental cars is that generally they won't let you leave a city until they've given you a chance to say good-bye to most of it."   

If you like these books and you are entertained by words and the use and history of words and about things "Americana," read his "Made in America: An informal History of the English Language in the United States" and "Mother Tongue."  Bryson is an incomparable researcher and you have no idea what you don't know until you read his books.



Last Edited on: 6/8/13 10:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/11/2011 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 8
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Singular Pilgrim by Rose Mahoney is an account of the author's travels in several countries, including Spain, India, Israel, on various pilgrimages. I would pay to read this woman's shopping lists. Her writing takes you right there & you feel like you've met the people she describes. All her books are great. She penned another one called Whoredom in Kimmage, about living in Ireland for a year. Top of the line.

A Primate's Memoir, by Robert Sapolsky is a sometimes hilarious account of living in Africa, studying baboons. He is a neuroscientist but it is written for anyone to understand. Highly recommended.

Date Posted: 7/11/2011 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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An older book, but one I love: Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage.  A married couple decides to bike across the country, then the world through 25 countries over 2 years.  They aren't hard core bikers at the start, and it is somewhat refreshing to read about 2 "normal" people doing something like this.  They go through everything from truck accidents to being robbed by monkeys before the tale is through, with great descriptions of the cultures they experience on the way.

Date Posted: 7/12/2011 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2010
Posts: 12
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Travels by Michael Crichton is excellent!  Even if you are not a fan of his fiction, this non-fiction account of his life's travels is easy to love.  I really enjoy adventurous foreign travel, and my husband and I are planning another trip soon!  I will definitely re-read this book to get in the spirit!

Date Posted: 7/16/2011 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2011
Posts: 6,260
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I recommend "Honeymoon in Purdah" by Alison Wearing.  Liked it very much.

Date Posted: 8/8/2011 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2009
Posts: 1,938
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The Sex Lives of Cannibals : Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

+1. I work in the international development field so this book really hit home with me.