February 2022

by Jeremy Bassetti
St. Emilion, France – December 2021

Dear Friends, I’m back in Florida where the hamster wheel continues its violent, endless spin. And it took all of a few weeks since returning from France for my mind to focus on elsewhere, that special place defined in the negative. Elsewhere is anywhere but here. I’ve found that elsewhere is also temporal designation. It is anywhere — in the past or in the future — but the present.

But I’m not lost in some nostalgic reverie. And the present isn’t a gift I want to unwrap. I’m looking ahead. I’m in planning mode.

Later this year, I’m jumping off the hamster wheel and going on sabbatical. I’ll be away working on some projects and doing research. And I’ll be taking photos and writing about those experiences in a few “pop-up” newsletters, short-lived dispatches from the field that come with the digital equivalent of disappearing ink: an expiration date, after which I close them down. I’ll share more details soon, but I’m excited to have some virtual travel buddies.

Speaking of vicarious travel, February is one of the most exciting months for lovers of travel books. The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards shortlists will be announced sometime today (Feb 1). I’ve linked the awards’ website below, so I’m hoping it will be updated by the time you click on the link. If not, refresh the page throughout the page.

Now, onto what you came for:

Last month we published

2021 End of Year Review on my website
A few “postcards” from France, Morocco, and Spain (Postcards Newsletter) on my website
A podcast with Ursula Pike about her book An Indian Among Los Indígenas on Travel Writing World
A podcast with Gary Fisher and David Robinson on their book Travel Writing in the Age of Global Quarantine on Travel Writing World
An author profile of Taran Khan on Travel Writing World
A book excerpt of Nicholas Jubber’s The Fairy Tellers on Travel Writing World
Street Photography with the Sony a7 III on my website

🏆 The 2022 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards shortlist will be announced on Feb 1!

🗺 Stanford’s book of the month is Otherlands: A World in the Making by Thomas Halliday. They also have a few of in-person author talks scheduled for this month. Their 1904 Siberian Railway map of the month looks great.

🐪 Ryan Murdock speaks with David Eimer about China, its borders, and its ethnic minorities on the Personal Landscapes Podcast

🇮🇳 Rolf Potts speaks with Harley Rustad about his book and the disappearance of Justin Alexander in India.

🛋 Literary loafers was the topic on this wonderful Slightly Foxed Podcast.

👂 Jo Frances Penn speaks with Adam Fletcher about weird travel on her Books and Travel Podcast.

💄 I talk about travel writing and place writing with Kat Caldwell on her Pencils and Lipstick podcast.

🌅 A new collection of essays by Barry Lopez is coming in May, with an introduction by Rebecca Solnit. Remembering the humble soul of Barry Lopez in this YouTube video.

🧭 Tim Leffel interviews Dave Seminara and Beebe Bahraini on Travel Writing 2.0.

🌹 Laurie Lee’s classic vagabond tale channels joy on the open road by Jen Rose Smith.

🚴‍♀️ Julian Sawyer writes about cycling in Spain and Portugal.

🏝 No signs of slowing down. Cal Flyn’s Islands of Abandonment was Waterstone’s Book of the Month (January). It has appeared on the Sunday Times Bestseller list.

🥰 Happy that Travel Writing World was featured in this roundup of travel podcasts on Forbes.

📚 Michel Kerr tags some books he’s looking forward to in 2022 on Deskbound Traveller.

🤯 Too woke to write travel? Tom Chesshyre asks.

🏞 Tom also reviews Thubron’s The Amur River.

🇮🇶 Leon McCarron writes about the Iraqi Site of Assur.

💰 Lotte and Steph talk money in Talking Travel Writing.

🇦🇫 Steve McCurry posted a new collection of photos, “Colors of Afghanistan,” on his blog.

🇵🇱 A new species of animal was named after Polish travel writer Andrzej Stasiuk.

🇺🇸 Americans are reading fewer books.

🏆 The TravMedia Awards finalists for 2021 have been announced. The winners will be announced now in April 2022

🌾 J. R. Patterson writes that Seamus Heaney’s “Field Work” is the perfect travel companion.

Talking Place, a symposium in September, is calling for papers.

🙏 The Other Side of Hope, a new literary magazine run by refugees and immigrants, is launched.

📚 Guardian readers talk about their favourite travel books.

Books received (bought and/or gifted)

🚵‍♀️ Martijn Doolaard. Two Years on a Bike: From Vancouver to Patagonia. Gestalten 2022.
🇮🇳 Harley Rustad. Lost in the Valley of Death. Harper 2022.

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