Book Roundup Wednesday: Responsible International Travel
Grounded: A Down To Earth Journey Around the World (by Seth Stevenson, $15, Riverhead Trade Paperbacks, Apr. 2010): While most choose to fly their way to international destinations, travel writer Seth Stevenson writes an intriguing account of the challenges and wonders of traveling the globe while eschewing airplanes. He boats across the Atlantic on a cargo freighter, traverses Russia by train, and bikes through Vietnam, to name a few adventures – all while experiencing the paradoxical intimacy of such a vast planet.
Planet Backpacker: Across Europe on a Mountain Bike & Backpacking on Through Egypt, India & Southeast Asia – Around the World (by Robert Downes, $14, The Wandering Press, Mar. 2009): For an edgier look into world travel, check out this account of a solo journey of camping, biking, and backpacking around the world. The author's travels lead him to India's Festival of Light, a $5 opera performance in Vienna, and a sailboat ride on the Nile. His candor and conversational tone lays an entertaining foundation to the book's world-history lessons and helpful tips for backpackers looking to start a similar adventure.
Information Earth: United States – Canada – the World: ($13, Hammond World Atlas Corp., Sept. 2009): If you plan to jet internationally this summer, this fact-packed reference book would be a handy carry-on. The compact world atlas and fact book provides bits of information about every nation, including topography, government, and economy, all alongside beautiful color maps. Not traveling anywhere soon? Then simply take a trip through the pages of this enlightening read – it’s an information highway of its own.
Ecotourists Save the World: The Environmental Volunteer's Guide to More Than 300 International Adventures to Conserve, Preserve, and Rehabilitate Wildlife and Habitats (by Pamela K. Brodowsky, $19, Penguin, Apr. 2010): Travel the world and save it too, with this easy-to-read guide to worldly destinations in need of helping hands. Brodowsky highlights more than 300 programs all over the world where ecotourists can make a difference, helping the wildlife they love during their travels. Programs profiled include Peru's Andean Conservation Project, South Africa's Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Portugal's Fascinating Creatures of the Deep Program.
Great Discoveries: Explorations That Changed History (by Time magazine editors, $30, Time Inc., Oct. 2009): Time makes exploring the globe – past and present – simple with its stunning book outlining the world’s most important discoveries in some of its most interesting places. This perfect coffee-table book takes readers through tantalizing tales of discovery, including ancient Egyptian archeological finds, Robert Perry’s Arctic adventures, and the discovery of storms on Jupiter that could one day rival the planet’s Great Red Spot – all beautifully complemented by breathtaking photography.
--Sarah A. Henderson