Tag: Jeffrey Tayler

Inspiration, Travel Writing and L’Esprit Frondeur

Inspiration, Travel Writing and L’Esprit Frondeur iStockPhoto

What will you do that will be different and worthy of recounting? Jeffrey Tayler on the writer's life.

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Trekking the High Atlas, Taking the Pain

Trekking the High Atlas, Taking the Pain iStockPhoto

A fall in Morocco's rugged mountains left Jeffrey Tayler writhing in agony -- and wondering whether to abandon his journey

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Yunnan’s ‘Treats’

In one of Kunming's finest restaurants, Jeffrey Tayler samples the dragonfly larvae, bamboo bugs and grasshoppers

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Michael Jackson and Me: Strangers in Moscow

Michael Jackson and Me: Strangers in Moscow REUTERS

Jeffrey Tayler recalls a cold night in 1993 when he took a break from writing his first book to see a performance by the "King of Pop"

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Face-Off on the Congo

Face-Off on the Congo REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Jeffrey Tayler was cooking lunch along the Congo River when armed men approached, making demands. Enter the Big Man.

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‘Murderers in Mausoleums’: What Counts Is Your Blood

Jeffrey Tayler's latest book is a masterful guide to the divisions that define so much of human civilization. Jason Daley explains.

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Insanity and the Traveling Life

Insanity and the Traveling Life iStockPhoto

In an essay adapted from a talk to writing students, Jeffrey Tayler makes the case for a life of mad (but not unhinged) adventures

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Black Gold and the Golden Rule

Black Gold and the Golden Rule Photo by Terry Wha, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In Nigeria, Africa's leading petrostate, a local oil worker named Sunday had every reason for rage and despair, but as Jeffrey Tayler discovered, he turned the other cheek.

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Walking Off the Karakoram Highway

Walking Off the Karakoram Highway Photo by bongo vongo via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

On a winding route to Pakistan's Rama Lake, taunted and ignored, Jeffrey Tayler learns the truth of the saying, "All politics is local"

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The Woman in the Keffiyeh

kuffiya Photo illustration by Jim Benning.

In southernmost Turkey, women are known as the forbidden ones. So when a beautiful local invited Jeffrey Tayler for a ride on her horse-drawn cart and unmasked herself, he tried not to look. But he failed.

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Killing Yourself to Make a Living

Killing Yourself to Make a Living Photo by Kelly Amabile

Jeffrey Tayler, who has undertaken harrowing expeditions in remote Africa and Siberia for books like "Facing the Congo," explains how to turn "thrilling inklings" into epic journeys -- and live to tell the tale.

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World Hum’s Top 30 Travel Books

We recently counted down the best travel books of all time. Here's the entire list -- and loads of picks from World Hum readers.

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No. 28: “Facing the Congo” by Jeffrey Tayler

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 2000
Territory covered: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa

Though “adventure” travel writing has come to the point where it often blurs with extreme sports coverage, Tayler’s chronicle of his 1995 pirogue trip down the Congo River proves that the most engrossing adventure tales don’t involve corporate sponsors and television crews. Frustrated with a dead-end life as a Moscow-based expatriate, the author travels to what was then Zaire to re-create British explorer Henry Stanley’s trip down the legendary Central African river in a dugout canoe. Tayler’s underlying impetus for the journey is to find meaning in his life by testing its limits—which proves to be no problem, as the author continually faces smothering heat, corrupt soldiers, lawlessness, hunger, swarms of insects, and a creeping sense of fear. Though Tayler occasionally illuminates moments of natural beauty, he never glosses over the reality of his journey, which is marked by an uncertain relationship with his guide, Desi, and ongoing suspicion from locals who, perhaps understandably, can’t understand why an outsider would want to submit himself to such a dangerous adventure. Drawn into Tayler’s heart of darkness, the reader feels the dread (and slaps at the mosquitoes) as the harrowing journey plays out.

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