Travels With Charley

!! 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.

7 thoughts on “Travels With Charley”

  1. Travels with Charley is the most BORING book I have ever read! I LOVE American literature, but this book just has no point to it!

  2. This book was the best book i have ever read in my entire life it inspired me to go out and travel the country with my dog Homer i only went to 5 states because i got lonely and missed my husband Ali i wish one day we could travel together but he doesnt enjoy moving around because of his car sickness. I would recommend the book to everyone

  3. Loved the book since I read it first in 1968 ( Steinbecks death year). Anybody doing it again – a van/camper and looking and reporting on all of Steinbecks mentioned places in the States? I would love to do it, but as I live in Germany its a bit on the heavy side. But one can always dream, right?!

  4. I have not read the book “Travels with Charley”, but over the past three months numerous people have recommended it. I am traveling the United Stated roofing houses for Habitat for Humanity. I will be roofing one house in every state over the next year. I have read numerous exerpts from the book and have realized how similar our experiences are, even though I am 23 and living in a more commercialized world. I hope to read the book as I continue traveling over the next year.

  5. I haven’t read Travels with Charley either, though people keep telling me I should. I have been on the road in the US for the past year and a half, in a van, and in fact I have been reporting on much of what I’ve found. So if you’re curious, check my website – I recommend you all try it – wherever you live!

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