Travel Blog: Life of a Travel Writer

Christopher P. Baker Wins Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year

Baker leads the winners of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism awards for 2008, which were handed out this weekend. Among other winners: National Geographic Adventure took the prize for best travel magazine, and the Boston Globe captured the prize for best online travel journalism site. Congratulations to the winners.

Update, 10:19 p.m. ET: The Daily Travel and Deal Blog has links to all the winners.

Related on World Hum:
* World Hum Wins Lowell Thomas Gold


Peter Matthiessen Nominated for National Book Award

The 81-year-old author was nominated in the fiction category for his 890-page book “Shadow Country.” But many of us know him best for his travel and outdoors writing. His classic book about Nepal, The Snow Leopard, ranked No. 11 on our list of the top 30 travel books of all time. Here’s Matthiessen talking about “Shadow Country” and his non-fiction on “Charlie Rose” earlier this year:

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Stephen Fry Comes to America

Looks like we might have another celebrity-turned-travel-writer on our hands. British comedian Stephen Fry recently made his way to all 50 American states, and the resulting BBC mini-series (and accompanying book) lands in the U.K. this month. The American release isn’t until January, but the British papers offer a tantalizing preview of Fry’s mixture of humor and thoughtfulness.

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Press Trips: ‘Too Much Noisy Fun, Too Little Job Satisfaction’

Usually, when travel writers criticize the press junket phenomenon, they focus on the ethical issues involved. Not so for the Telegraph’s Paul Mansfield, who takes aim at the actual substance of the typical press trip in this fun essay. “The atmosphere is like a school trip,” he writes, “competitive, cliquey, with a tendency towards booze-fuelled indiscretions and adolescent mischief.”


Theroux, Horwitz and the Frommers Featured at National Book Festival

They’ll be on the Mall in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, talking travel and signing books. So will U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan. I wonder if the organizers flew her out from California, or if this is how she decided to spend part of her $5,000 travel allowance?


Restless Legs Meets Litquake

The latest installment of Restless Legs—David Farley’s “reading series for the wanderlust stricken”—takes place 6 p.m. Saturday at New York City’s Lolita Bar. Mary Morris and Ayun Halliday are the featured speakers for the event, which is also part of the first-ever New York City Litquake. Details of an upcoming World Hum-themed Restless Legs event coming soon.

Related on World Hum:
* Q&A with David Farley: The Restless Legs Reading Series


Next up for Author of ‘Banned’ Harry Potter Lexicon: A Harry Potter ‘Travel Memoir’?

It, too, has drawn scrutiny from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. The author’s “agents have asked to see a copy of In Search of Harry Potter before it is published next month to ensure it does not breach copyright,” according to the Times of London

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Matt Gross: More Reflections on the Grand Tour

The New York Times Frugal Traveler and World Hum contributor will appear in New York City twice during the next week to discuss his summer on the road in Europe, where he updated the Grand Tour for the information age. He’ll be speaking at Idlewild Books Thursday at 7 p.m., and at the New-York Historical Society next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Related on World Hum:
* Matt Gross: Looking Back on the Grand Tour
* Confessions of a Frugal Traveler


Happy Birthday, Marco Polo

Polo was born on this day in 1254. As Garrison Keillor points out in today’s “Writer’s Almanac,” Polo’s book about his travels, creatively titled “The Travels of Marco Polo” in English, was “a huge sensation” when it came out in 1298. Keillor notes that Polo wrote the book while bored in prison, dictating it to a fellow writer held in his cell.


Mapped: ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’

Rachel Leow has put together an excellent Google Maps mashup based on the Yule-Cordier edition of The Travels of Marco Polo. (via Kottke)


For Sale: Train Trip with Writer Paul Theroux. $12,000.

Photo by einalem via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

Exeter International is offering a 14-day trip aboard the Trans-Siberian Express to the Arctic Circle with none other than Paul Theroux. The trip is scheduled for June 2009 and starts at “just” $12,795 per person based on double occupancy.

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Blog To Watch: Orwell Diaries

In August 1938, George Orwell started keeping a diary—and now, 60 years later, those entries are appearing day by day in a new blog, complete with a Google map to track his movements around England and the world.

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The Ethics of Nicholas Kristof’s Travels

The New York Times columnist has famously purchased the freedom of Cambodian slave-prostitutes and taken college students with him on trips to Africa. He’s even said that travel should play a central role in American education. His heart is surely in the right place. But is he ethical?

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The Art of Noticing: ‘People Don’t Notice That Noticing is Important!’

Intriguing conversation between Steve Portigal and Dan Soltzberg about “the importance of being aware and the advantages of tapping into your ‘super-noticing power.’” The emphasis is on design, but the exchange covers much for travelers and travel writers to think about. (via Kottke)


R.I.P. Dave Freeman, Coauthor of ‘100 Things to do Before You Die’

Dave Freeman, coauthor of 100 Things to Do Before You Die, died Aug. 17 after he fell and hit his head at home, the Los Angeles Times reports. Freeman’s 1999 book, which he cowrote with Neil Teplica, was subtitled “Travel Events You Just Can’t Miss.” It inspired legions of imitators and highlighted experiences such as running with the bulls in Spain and taking a voodoo pilgrimage to Haiti.

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