Note: Lonely Planet has just published Better Than Fiction 2, a compelling collection of true travel stories written by acclaimed fiction writers. We are pleased to excerpt the story below, by novelist Lily King, about a life-changing adventure in Peru. King is the author of four novels, The Pleasing Hour, The English Teacher, Father of the Rain, and, most recently, Euphoria, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Kirkus Award. Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Ploughshares, and Glimmer Train. She lives with her husband, Tyler Clements, and their two children in Maine – when they are not traveling.
I was dating a guy who was hard to read. The first real sign that he liked me, apart from the fact that he asked me out on...
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“Could you bring me back a bull shark?” my six-year-old nephew asked. “Bull sharks can live in saltwater and freshwater.” He pointed to his library book. A menacing beast with wild eyes, crooked fangs, and a burly, muscle-ripped physique snarled back at me.
I was moving to Palau, a Micronesian island in the Pacific Ocean, so my nephew’s plan to populate northern Wisconsin’s lakes with a new invasive species wasn’t unfounded. I laughed the nervous laughter of one who has spent her life land-locked in long johns, whose ocean-savvy was limited to vacations and Jules Verne books. I’ve been swimming since I could toddle off the dock. I was scuba certified in frigid freshwater. But the ocean—that vast blue universe that dictates weather and climate, but remains 95 percent Unexplored Mystery—was another beast, a force that looms supernaturally in mythology for a reason. The Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, was...
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Note: Wanderlust editor in chief Don George has just published the first collection of his own travel stories and essays, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George. The collection presents 35 pieces, set in 24 countries, from 40 years of world-wandering. The story below, reprinted from the book, describes an unforgettable encounter in a sacred setting in the Australian Outback.
The first time you approach Uluru, the world is still dark. You are rolling through the pre-dawn desert in a minivan when the big black monolith looms suddenly through the side window. It is difficult to judge how far away it is, or how close you are, because the whole world is monotone and flat. Yet you feel the power.
You have been wary of your preconceptions about the place—the accumulation of iconography and clichés, photographs seen and descriptions read. You don’t want to feel exactly what you know you are supposed to feel....
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Candace Rose Rardon is an American writer, photographer, and artist who recently returned to the United States after years of living and traveling in Europe and Asia. She sketches as she travels, and these sketches, combined with the stories behind them, charmingly capture those fleeting, layered moments that are the stepping stones of travel. Wanderlust will be presenting her on-the-road sketches and stories from her sketchbook of serendipities–in the months to come.
It’s my last morning in Mumbai and it would be all too easy to sleep in before catching my train to Delhi at 11 a.m. But not so today. I have plans to visit the city’s Dadar flower market, which I’ve heard gets started as early as 4 a.m., and so my alarm goes off at 5.
While I slowly wake up to the world, a local train brings me to Dadar station. Sidewalk flower-sellers, already assembling...
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Note: Wanderlust editor in chief Don George has just published the first collection of his own travel stories and essays, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George. The collection presents 35 pieces, set in 24 countries, from 40 years of world-wandering. The story below, reprinted from the book, is the very personal tale of a universal ceremony: a marriage of souls and cultures, in the heart of the heart of rural Japan.
Of all the journeys in my life, the most extraordinary occurred in the early 1980s in Japan, when my wife, Kuniko, and I traveled to her hometown of Johen to observe and celebrate our marriage in the Japanese Shinto style.
The journey to Johen, a tiny village located in the southwest corner of the island of Shikoku, was a revelation in itself, a trip through layers of modernity into the heart of the country.
We flew first from San...
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