In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.
"A Book that Never Left Me"
At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
"Glad I Took the Trip"
Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life - from six weeks to four months to two years - to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.
"Loved it! - Great resource"
Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be. To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. She got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world, all alone. This is the absorbing chronicle of that year.
"Witty and Wonderful"
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America - majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way - and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
"What a treat"
The definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Into the Wild. Read by the author. Also, hear a Fresh Air interview with Krakauer conducted shortly after his ordeal.
"An incredible book, beautifully performed"
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.
"Devout Fan Disappointed"
In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America, from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. Travels with Charley is animated by Steinbeck’s attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature—to weather, geography, the cycles of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.
"On the Road Adventure"
The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819 the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, and disease and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.
"Good story, horrible audio"
At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.
"River of Doubt"
Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.
"Laugh out loud funny"
In 1995, Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling.
"No Bryson?? Alas, another disappointed fan"
After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation.
"A solid follow-up"
Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men - John Chatterton and John Mattera - are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. While he was at large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the 17th century, Bannister's exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard's, more daring than Kidd's, but his story and his ship have been lost to time.
To live in a pristine land unchanged by man... to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed... to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin... to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available... to be not at odds with the world but content with one's own thoughts and company. Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them.
Step inside this captivating account of Paulo Coehlo's pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one's own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight.
"A different path of the Peaceful Warrior"
Where's the Next Shelter? is the true story of three travelers on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,000-mile hike that stretches from Georgia to Maine, told from the perspective of Gary Sizer, a seasoned backpacker and former marine who quickly finds himself humbled by the endeavor. If you long for the horizon or to sleep under the stars, then come along for the hike of a lifetime. All you have to do is take the first step.
In the first of three essays included in this audiobook, Bill Bryson decides to move his wife and kids back to his homeland, the United States, after nearly two decades in Britain. But not before taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. The result is a hilarious social commentary.
"A humorist in the Mark Twain tradition."
Get fluent with Fluent Penguin language learning tools. Designed for self-taught language learners, Fluent Penguin picks up where Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone leave off. By exposing you to a wide variety of translated conversations in everyday situations, Fluent Penguin builds your vocabulary and intuitive recognition of grammar, sentence structure, and idiomatic phrases.
"great ear training!"
A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon. After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to find out what happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z.
"A Worthy Read for Armchair Explorers"
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT )is the perfect place for an average person to do something extraordinary. Bill Walker ("Skywalker"), who stands 6'11", might seem like anything but average. Yet in a brutally honest tone, he lays to bare all his considerable weaknesses and fears. Among these are crushing weight loss and fatigue, along with a fear of getting lost or a bear stealing his food. Nonetheless, he is bound and determined to hike the PCT which - at 2,663 miles - runs all the way from Mexico to Canada.
"I wish Bill Bryson attempted the PCT."
A landmark in travel writing, this is the incredible true story of Heinrich Harrer’s escape across the Himalayas to Tibet, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. Heinrich Harrer, already one of the greatest mountaineers of his time, was climbing in the Himalayas when war broke out in Europe. He was imprisoned by the British in India but succeeded in escaping and fled to Tibet.
When Edmund Hillary first conquered Mt. Everest, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was at his side. Indeed, for as long as Westerners have been climbing the Himalaya, Sherpas have been the unsung heroes in the background. In August 2008, when eleven climbers lost their lives on K2, the world’s most dangerous peak, two Sherpas survived. They had emerged from poverty and political turmoil to become two of the most skillful mountaineers on earth. Based on unprecedented access and interviews, Buried in the Sky reveals their astonishing story for the first time.
"Great Storytelling/ Story"
In My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy shares a glimpse of North Korea as it's never been seen before. Even though it's the scariest place on Earth, somehow Wendy forgot to check her sense of humor at the border. But Wendy's initial amusement and bewilderment soon turned to frustration and growing paranoia.
"Hilarious Yet Real"
The “mountain men” were the hunters and trappers who fiercely strode the Rocky Mountains in the early to mid-1800s. They braved the elements in search of the skins of beavers and other wild animals, to sell or barter for goods. The lifestyle of the mountain men could be harsh, existing as they did among animals, and spending most of their days and nights living and camping out in the great unexplored wilds of the Rockies.
"Good for boys"
Trapped in a job he hated and up to his neck in debt, Guy Grieve’s life was going nowhere. But with a stroke of luck, his dream of escaping it all to live in remote Alaska suddenly came true. Miles from the nearest human being and armed with only the most basic equipment, Guy built a log cabin from scratch and began carving a life for himself through fishing, hunting, and diligently avoiding bears. Packed with adventure, humor, and insight, this is the gripping story of an ordinary man learning the ways of the wild.
"Maybe not really kinda true?"
Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’ insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance.
"Travel for Love and Love of Travel"
In the fall of 1978, Ray Ordorica packed everything he thought he would need into his Toyota LandCruiser and drove north to Alaska. He came to a land he had never seen, to find something he wasn't even sure existed: a wilderness cabin he could use for a year or more to live, think, relax, read, and write. Ordorica found his cabin, fixed it up, and, although it was just an un-insulated 12- by 16-foot one-room log structure, he spent three winters in it in relative comfort.
Why would a middle-aged businessman who had never even spent the night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid walker, had developed a virtual obsession to hike this historic 2,175 mile footpath in one hiking season. In the spring of 2005 he set off from his home state of Georgia, hoping to make it to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine before the arrival of winter.
"Liked the story, but the recording quality was fair."
Bewitched by Indonesia for twenty-five years, Elizabeth Pisani recently traveled 26,000 miles around the archipelago in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation. Fearless and funny, Pisani shares her deck space with pigs and cows, bunks down in a sulfurous volcano, and takes tea with a corpse. Along the way, she observes Big Men with child brides, debates corruption and cannibalism, and ponders "sticky" traditions that cannot be erased.
"Bill Bryson channels Margaret Mead"
The real stories behind the scenery of America’s national parks. For 12 years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.
Like a well-crafted stage play, Just Passin' Thru delivers one suspenseful scene after another. But in this historic setting a store on the Appalachian Trail called Mountain Crossings the characters who show up are no fictional creations. Like any good drama, there are the good guys (and gals) and the weirdos, too. Some show up once (and that’s enough), and some appear again and again. But all are united by two things: the author’s story-capturing talent, and whatever it is that lures them to attempt (or conquer) a 2,200-mile path that climbs and plummets from Georgia to Maine.
"Well Worth it!"
Gerald Asher, who served as Gourmet's wine editor for 30 years, has drawn together this selection of his essays, published in Gourmet and elsewhere, for the collective insight they give into why a wine should always be an expression of a place and a time. Guiding the reader through 27 diverse wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and California, he shows how every wine worth drinking is a reflection of its terroir - in the broadest sense of that untranslatable word.
"An educational look at wine"
Reunited in love after 35 years and suffering from a serious case of pre-retirement wanderlust, Lynne and Tim Martin made a life-altering decision: They sold their house and possessions and hit the road to live internationally full-time. Now tethered to nothing but their suitcases, each other, and their next exotic location, they've never looked back. From sky-high pyramids in Mexico to monkeys in Marrakech, this delightful, inspiring memoir is a romantic tale of derring-do for grown-ups and a road map for anyone who dreams of turning the idea of life abroad into a reality.
"She makes it sound SO unappealing!"
In May 2006, armed only with a small rucksack and a staff, Tony Kevin, an overweight, sedentary, 63-year-old former diplomat, set off on an eight-week trek across Spain. But this was not just a very long walk — it was a pilgrimage. From Granada, in the southeast, to Santiago de Compostela, in the far northwest, Tony followed the Via Mozarabe and the Via de la Plata, two of the many pilgrim trails that crisscross Spain and Portugal and that all lead to a single destination.
In 2001, martial arts-trained biker Glen Heggstad began a journey from California to the tip of South America on his motorcycle and made it as far as Colombia, where he was kidnapped by local rebels and held captive. Undeterred by more than a month of traumatic incarceration, the 'Striking Viking' finished his trip after being released. Three years later he set out into the world on his bike again, this time searching for truth on his own terms in a world that had become strangled by a climate of fear.
"motorcycles, travel, and good company"
A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people.
"Another Excellent Work"
In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China.
"In defense of the narrator"
While birding literature is filled with tales of expert observers spotting rare species in exotic locales, John Yow reminds us that the most fascinating birds can be the ones perched right outside our windows. In thirty-five engaging and sometimes irreverent vignettes, Yow reveals the fascinating lives of the birds we see nearly every day. Following the seasons, he covers forty-two species, discussing the improbable, unusual, and comical aspects of his subjects' lives.
"Thoroughly enjoyed - inspired"
In the 17 wide-ranging essays collected for the first time in Love and Other Ways of Dying, he brings his full literary powers to bear, pondering happiness and grief, memory and the redemptive power of human connection. In the remote Ukranian countryside, Paterniti picks apples (and faces mortality) with a real-life giant; in Nanjing, China, he confronts a distraught jumper on a suicide bridge.
"This was just so so for me..."