Travel Blog: R.I.P.

R.I.P. Jerrie Mock, First Woman to Fly Around the Globe Solo

Jerrie Mock, the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe solo, died earlier this month at her home in Florida. Mock was 88.

From her obituary in the New York Times:

When she took off on March 19, 1964, from Columbus, Ohio, Ms. Mock was a 38-year-old homemaker and recreational pilot who had logged a meager 750 hours of flight time. She returned there on April 17—29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes later—after a 23,000-mile journey over the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Pacific, with stops in the Azores, Casablanca, Cairo, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Honolulu, among other places.

She was stalled by high winds in Bermuda and battled rough weather between Casablanca and Bone, Algeria. She navigated 1,300 miles over the Pacific from Guam to tiny Wake Island, three miles in diameter, without the benefit of ground signals. Between Bangkok and Manila, she flew over embattled Vietnam.

“Somewhere not far away a war was being fought,” she wrote later, “but from the sky above, all looked peaceful.”

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R.I.P. Peter Matthiessen

Prolific writer and three-time National Book Award winner Peter Matthiessen died Saturday at age 86. Matthiessen was a former CIA agent, one of the founders of The Paris Review, and the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books.

He’s best known in travel writing circles for his 1978 travelogue, “The Snow Leopard.” In 2010 we listed it as one of our 100 most celebrated travel books of all time.

Rolf Potts celebrated The Snow Leopard on World Hum in 2006, writing that the book offers “a gentle reminder that life consists of what each moment brings us; that it’s futile to obsess on the workings of the past and future if you’re missing out on experience of the present moment.”

The New York Times notes that Matthiessen was “one of the last survivors of a generation of American writers who came of age after World War II and who all seemed to know one another, socializing in New York and on Long Island’s East End as a kind of movable literary salon peopled by the likes of William Styron, James Jones, Kurt Vonnegut and E. L. Doctorow.”

His final novel, “In Paradise,” is due out tomorrow.

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R.I.P. Roger Ebert

The film critic with the famous thumbs died last week at age 70. He was a TV host, author, and—later in his life—a prolific blogger and Twitter user. He was also, as Meg Nesterov points out over at Gadling, an occasional travel writer. Here’s her roundup of his best travel-focused work.

Esquire has made its 2010 profile of Roger Ebert freely available online. It’s worth your time.

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R.I.P. Peter Root and Mary Thompson, RTW Bloggers

Very sad news from Thailand, where round-the-world cycle-tourists and bloggers Peter Root and Mary Thompson, of Two on Four Wheels, have been killed in a road accident. The couple, both 34, had been cycling since mid-2011, and had successfully crossed Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China before arriving in Southeast Asia. They were hit by a pickup truck east of Bangkok last Wednesday.

“What helps me is to think of how happy they were with each other,” Root’s father, Jerry, told the AP. “They were leading the life they wanted to. It was the happiest, the most fruitful of lives.”

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Travel Song of the Day: ‘Maps’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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