Inspired Journeys

“Despite yourself, you arrive, and you’ve become someone else.”

Full of humor, profundity, and obsession, these are tales of writers on peregrine paths. Some set out in search of legends or artistic inspiration; others seek spiritual epiphany or fulfillment of a promise.

Their journeys lead them variously to Dracula’s castle, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie, the Grimms’ fairy-tale road, Mayan temples, Nathaniel West’s California, the Camino de Santiago trail, Scott’s Antarctica, the Marquis de Sade’s haunted manor, or the sacred city of Varanasi.

All of these pilgrimages are worthy journeys—redemptive and serious. But a time-honored element of pilgrimage is a suspension of rules, and there is absurdity and exuberance here as well

Recommended as one of the top ten anthologies for armchair travelers by National Geographic Magazine.

“Whether you’re an armchair traveler looking for a quick getaway or a restless adventurer who’s already at the airport, these stories are sure to satisfy your inner nomad’s needs. Snack on sushi in the belly of Japan, visit the sacred city of Varanasi, and trek across the Sahara with these captivating reads.” —

From the Introduction

“There are several sub-genres of travel narrative—fictive, ekphrastic, adventure, public diary, destination-driven, event-driven. But ironically it is increasingly difficult to get movement in a piece of travel writing.

Since we’ve removed most of the journeying part of travel from the process (get to your gate and knock yourself out with a Xanax for most of the flight), there is only the place to write about. The desire, then, is to lard the paragraphs with detail, details that are meant to give a vivid sense of that place, and all its things…

But real travelers move through both time and place and tend to understand real distances of both the ‘here and there’ of ‘this place and that place,’ as well as ‘now and then.’ And they know that the journey is just as important as the arrival.” — Brian Bouldrey, editor

Praise for Inspired Journeys

“The tremendously satisfying and uplifting sense of these essays is the ongoing nature of human pilgrimage, whether to the center of the self or the ends of the earth. After reading this book, I want to go on a journey myself! Highly recommended.”
—Antonya Nelson, author of Bound
“These stories of pilgrimage span six continents, touch on eons of history, and offer insights and quirky anecdotes told without melodrama or excess baggage. Like Chaucer’s travelers in the Canterbury Tales, each writer included here is a distinctive and entertaining storyteller.”
—Gillian Kendall, author of Mr. Ding’s Chicken Feet