!http://photos11.flickr.com/12355345_ad6a0ff74d_t.jpg! Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck is one of the most insightful commentaries on the travelling bug. For those looking to learn about America beyond the glossy lifes played out on american TV this book is the best I have come across. It is wonderfully written, and some of the passages are downright profound. It was written in the fifties, but Steinbeck saw today’s world approaching way back then and explains it better than most commentators today.
In a nutshell: Steinback and his dog Charley set off for a 10,000 mile drive around the United States and this book is the result. He explains the travelling bug very well and how it affects others around the one travelling.
From a review at Amazon:
bq. The worst part about the book is it is far too short, leaving a reader desiring more. Steinbeck’s journey touches a side of America, the true awe and wonder for the land and her people like few novels. The work is full of humor and insight, both profound and personal. Perhaps only a handful of books pierces the American experience like “Travels with Charley”. It is a book that requires a slow pace, to savor the voyage across this great land and her treasures.
About all the people who came to visit him before he left, Steinbeck writes:
bq. I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation – a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, any place, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go some day, to move about, free and unanchored, not towards something but away from something.
Most people who don’t have the travel bug can never comprehend it, so sometimes it can be hard to understand the passion driving those bitten by it.