Posts Tagged ‘wanderlust’

The Sahara Desert

10 Favorite Travel Books

          I’m reading Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert by William Langewiesche. My reading is inching forward across a land the size of the United States a chapter a day – and taking notes like I do when I travel by vehicle and foot.

          It’s the way this 81-year-old non-wandering wanderer living on Covid time is mollifying her wanderlust – and constantly thanking the universe for travel writers and their books.

          Michelle Morano says that when we travel, our powers of   observation are unmoored from everyday and we pay keener attention to things around us.

           I’m following Langwiesche’s journey using the map at the book’s beginning. So far, I’ve only traveled from Algiers to Ouargla, savoring every mile. As Ursula K. Le Guin said, “It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters.”

        My love of travel books was quite evident when I recently read a list of the best 100. I had read 82 of them — and am trying to find the remaining 18, most of which are out of date.

          And I added a new one to that wanted list, Sand, Wind and War: Memories of a Desert Explorer, while reading Sahara Unveiled. Lanhwiesche mentioned the author, Ralph A. Bagnold, who studied sand “grain by grain.” I looked up Bagnold online to learn more about him, and found his story fascinating.

          Meanwhile, here are 10 of my favorite travel books

          Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. An early model for my own travels.

          Road Fever by Tim Cahill. He makes me laugh, and I thrill at his adventures.

          I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson. The first travel book I read. I was 10 years old.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Serious nature writing.

          Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck. Another model for my own travels.

          Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. One of my very favorite, irreverent, authors. I also consider his The Monkey Wrench Gang a travel book.

          A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  Lots of hiking while laughing.

          The Man Who Walked Through Time by Collin Fletcher. A serious backpacker’s journey down the Grand Canyon.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Great, inspiring story.

Travels with Maggie by Pat Bean. Well, it is one of my favorite travel books. And I dedicated it to all of the great travel writers who inspired me.

        Perhaps you would like to share some of your favorite travel books? The wanderlust in me is itching to know.

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” –  Cesare Pavese 

I don't drive at night, but I do like to be on the road in time to catch the sunrise. I caught this one on my last road trip to Texas. = Photo by Pat Bean

I don’t drive at night, but I do like to be on the road in time to catch the sunrise. I caught this one on my last road trip to Texas. = Photo by Pat Bean

Upcoming Road Trip

            I just started reading A Way to See the World by Thomas Swick, who begins the book by explaining how he became addicted to travel while still a teenager. It’s kind of how I begin my just completed travel book, Travels with Maggie.  

Pepper and I didn't see any rattlesnakes at this rest stop on one of our trips to Texas to see family, but in an unmanicured area just beyond the building, she got into a nest of burrs that took me a good half hour to pick out before we could continue on our way. Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper and I didn’t see any rattlesnakes at this rest stop on one of our trips to Texas to see family, but in an unmanicured area just beyond the building, she got into a nest of burrs that took me a good half hour to pick out before we could continue on our way. Photo by Pat Bean

          While our stories are quite different, both of us clearly have a gene of wanderlust in our souls that made itself know at a young age.     As I’m reading Swick’s book, it gets my mind thinking about my upcoming road trip to Texas for a writer’s conference. It’s a 900-mile adventure over familiar territory, so I know I’m going to have to look at the roadside landscape with fresh eyes.

But then that’s one of the best things about travel, at least for me. I just can’t wait to get on the road again,” as Willie would say.

Or as Robert Louis Stevenson said: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

And I’m going to follow the advice of Molsih Eddin Saadi, who believes we should use our eyes when we travel: “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: More Travel Quotes: http://tinyurl.com/3p8msma I love them all.

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Tom Mix Memorial -- Photo by Pat Bean

“I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ‘Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.’ I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.” – Harry S. Truman

Cowboy Memorial

While driving a lonely stretch of Highway 79 in Arizona awhile back, I came upon this Tom Mix Memorial. Mix, just for all you youngsters out there who may never have heard the name, made over 325 movies between 1910 and 1935. All but nine of them silent films.

While this cowboy was a bit before even my time, I did see a few of his last movies when they played as Saturday matinees at the Lisbon Theater in Dallas. Looking at the memorial I could almost smell the popcorn and feel the rough-cushion of the seats in that old theater.

Landscape near where Tom Mix crashed his vehicle and died of a broken neck in 1940. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I wonder if it’s still there, on Lancaster Avenue in South Oak Cliff. I couldn’t find it on the Internet, but I did come across a site for Lisbon Elementary, which I attended in the first grade.

Mix died in 1940, very near this memorial, which it was evident had seen better days.

Traveling is a two-part journey. First there’s the joy of seeing new sights and learning new things, and then comes the connections that take one back to other times and other places.

It takes both things to satisfy my wanderlust.

Bean’s Pat: Things I love http://tinyurl.com/87gobqe I have Portuguese in my genes, but I would love this blog even if I didn’t.

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Canyonlands National Park, Islands in the Sky -- Photo by Pat Bean


“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac.

Travels With Maggie

Good-byes and hellos with months between hugs from loved family members have long been a part of my life. It began when I left home at 16, continued when my children left home and is still a way of life today.

My five children are not among those who settled down in the same town in which they grew up, the kind of place where your best friend is that freckled-face boy or curly-haired redhead girl who sat behind you in kindergarten.

For people who need roots – and a part of me envies them – it’s a great life. But my children must have had too much of my wander lust in their genes to take this route.

They scattered to the four winds, almost before the ink on their high school diplomas was dry. At one time, I had a daughter in Canada, a son in Korea, a son in Japan, a son in Hawaii and a daughter in Utah. A few years later and they were all scattered elsewhere.

For this mom, who had long dreamed of living on the road as William Least Heat Moon did in “Blue Highways,” this wasn’t a bad thing. When I sold or gave away most of my possessions and took to the road in a 22-foot RV with my dog, Maggie, I wasn’t leaving any child behind.

My living on the road has meant I probably get to see my children more than I would if Maggie and I had stayed put – but certainly not as often as the mom whose children live next door, or even just across town. It means my hugs have to be squeezed into limited visits.

I’ve come to think of my life as one of those bitter-sweet oxymorons. While I love the hugs and hellos I also treasure the good-byes. There’s still way too much of the world out there I still haven’t seen.

I’m always hearing people say they want my life. I usually believe a few of them.

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