How Did I Get Here?: A Story of Interspecies Intimacies (In Nepalese Elephant Stables)

by Kim Idol

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Kim Idol is a writer/instructor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, partial to dogs, guns, rock-climbing and backpack traveling. She has been in love with Nepal since she first visited 8 years ago. She knew she loved the outdoors and that she would love the Himalayas, but she was unexpectedly charmed by the wildlife and the people she met on her first trip and upon returning home immediately began saving and planning in order to return. Eight years later after a tough year at home, a random mouse-click on the word elephant led her to the site that described working at the elephant stables in Chitwan. So she packed up and left home journaling her experiences in Chitwan as she went.

Nepal is the mountain, the jungle and the foothills. The country is blessed and cursed with being a popular tourist destination and while its people take advantage of the luck they are also engaged in a vigorous fight to preserve their culture and protect the park and the mountains that are home to some of the last surviving members of several endangered species including the one horned rhinoceros, the Asian elephant, the sloth bear and many bird and crocodile species. This book is about the outdoors, about a culture straddling the past and the present and about a woman finding a little peace as she treks through the result. The trip changed this traveler and she suspects she might be seeing Chitwan again.

 

Francis Joseph and His Court: From the Memoirs of Count Roger De Rességuier

by Herbert Vivian

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Herbert Vivian was very much of an obnoxious opportunist, and later became a fascist. Born in 1865 in England, he enjoyed a life of privilege and elevated social circles. He was once friends with Oscar Wilde, but after Vivian published “The Reminiscences of a Short Life” Wilde forbid Vivian from coming near. The work caused fallout among Wilde and some of his friends. He was very involved in the Neo-Jacobite Revival, a UK political movement around the 1900s, which looked to replace British parliamentary democracy with a return to monarchy. In 1891, Vivian unsuccessfully ran for office. He still tried to remain in the political sphere, and started a few Jacobite leagues, like the Legitimist Jacobite League of Great Britain and Ireland, since he kept fighting with founding organization partners. Because his reputation in the UK was not good, he ended up becoming a travel writer to earn money and maintain some semblance of his reputation. He published a variety of books and articles on a variety of subjects, from fiction to a faulty gambling system, to mixed reviews. Sometimes he published under a pseudonym, but not to better results. In the 1930s he became a fan of fascist Italy and wrote its praises. By this time, even his attempts at non-fiction writing were advised to be considered mostly fiction. He died in 1940 to little fanfare and many sighs of relief.

 

 

 

 

The Howadji in Syria

by George William Curtis

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George William Curtis (February 24, 1824 – August 31, 1892) was born in Rhode Island, and became a well-known writer. He was deeply moved by the Transcendentalist movement, and was a member of Brook Farm for approximately one year. He traveled across Europe and the Middle East, writing for publications like Putnam’s Magazine and Harper’s Weekly. He was extremely influential in politics, working with Abraham Lincoln and becoming a powerful national speaker for the rights of African Americans and for ending slavery. He later worked with Ulysses S. Grant to reform the political system.Curtis wrote more than a dozen books, including Lotus-Eating (1852), Trumps (1862), Washington Irving: A Sketch (1891). This work is a travelogue that tells of Curtis’ experiences while in Syria.

This new edition is dedicated to Mark Hambley, scholar and interpreter of the Middle East.

 

 

 

Some African Highways: A Journey of Two American Women to Uganda and the Transvaal

by Caroline Kirkland, Introduction by Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell

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Much of this work originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Caroline Kirkland’s goal was to encourage other Americans, particularly women, to make the voyage into Uganda and parts of East Africa. Kirkland described her journey as “made with entire safety and great comfort…where else can you look out from railway carriage windows and see zebras, gnus, giraffes, hyneas, and even lions as you steam through a land?” While this work is greatly valuable as a travelogue by a female traveler, it is not unbound from the social mores of the time. For example, Kirkland also describes Uganda as for,

“the lover of strong contrasts, of high lights and black shadows, of wonderful scenery, of great spaces, of all that is new and free and sitting, I recommend a trip to this dark, mysterious, violent and enchanting country. We two women only touched the surface of it, but we were ever conscious of much we could not see, nor hear, nor formulate, but which exists in a land teeming with fierce and savage life.”

Kirkland took the journey with her mother, and an Italian maid, Nannina, who was to work for Kirkland’s sister residing in Central Africa. Her work includes a historical sketch, and numerous photographs.

 

The Barbary Coast: Sketches of French North Africa

by Albert Edwards

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The region, French North Africa, was a group of territories in the upper portion of Africa. It emerged after the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which lost control of the region in 1830 when French forces captured Algiers. Algiers became the site of power for France, until the powerful Algerian independence movement fought for free rule in 1962. Morocco overthrew the French protectorate in 1955, and Tunisia in 1956.

Albert Edwards’ work illustrates a xenophobic look at the people, culture and customs he encountered in North Africa. Despite his biased critiques of his encounters, he offers insight on the architecture, markets, and other aspects of the region at the time.

 

Iceland: Horseback Tours in Saga Land

by W. S. C. Russell

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Waterman Spaulding Chapman Russell, wrote under the much abbreviated name, W. S. C. Russell (1871-1918). Though a many year resident of New Hampshire, he enjoyed traveling, particularly to Iceland. He was fascinated with the country, its fire and ice and sagas, and surprised by the scant ethnographic, geological, or other studies of it. He took it upon himself to study the area, and wrote multiple books on Iceland, including Askja, A Volcano in the Interior of Iceland (1917). Russell spent a great deal of time in Iceland, living there for a while, and because of this, he felt his accounts of the region and its people were superior. He energetically encouraged others to visit, study and learn more about what he felt was one of the most fascinating places in the world.

 

Adrift on an Ice-Pan

by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

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Snow and ice can present significant danger, which can produce considerable self-examination. In Adrift on an Ice-Pan, Wilfred Thomason Grenfell discusses his experience of being trapped on an ice-pan. Grenfell was an Englishman who became a doctor and decided to serve the remote populace of Labrador, comprised of fishers and villages with limited access. This book carries a very moralistic and Christian approach, and also offers conflicting thoughts and portrayals on the value of life. As Grenfell states in the introduction, “ is little book is only the story of a Doctor in the wilds. His name and his identity do not matter. They will soon be forgotten anyhow. It was only a nameless fisher-lad whose life was at issue.”

Grenfell was born in 1865 in Chester, England to a family of several distinguished scholars and members of the military. Grenfell enjoyed his childhood in a rural area, and was ingrained with a deep appreciation for nature. The advantages of family wealth and pedigree allowed him to be able to concentrate on schooling, at Marlborough College, University of London, and then an internship at London Hospital. Seeking adventure, an advisor recommended Grenfell join the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. At the time, it served four hospitals, with isolated persons attended to by doctors driving dogsleds across a very treacherous landscape.

 

Illustrated Sketches of Death Valley: and Other Borax Deserts of the Pacific Coast

by John R. Spears

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John R. Spears was born in 1850 in Van Wert, Ohio. Though an inveterate traveler, particularly out west, he ended up residing in Little Falls, New York. He wrote a great deal, particularly for the
New York Sun, and his books include The Port of Missing Ships and Other Stories of the Sea (1896), The Story of Nee England Whalers (1908), and The Story of the American Merchant Marine (1910). A great deal had been written about life in gold and silver mining camps, as well as the terrain surrounding them. However, Spears felt less attention had been paid to the desert, and wanted to depict the life in Death Valley, which he described as, “a gruesome story of a rugged  country…a story, too, of apparent paradoxes and of wonders.” Spears’ photographs offer a useful historical record of Death Valley, its people and animals, as they were in the 1890s.

 

 

Through the Heart of Africa: Being an Account of a Journey on Bicycles and on Foot from Northern Rhodesia, past the Great Lakes, to Egypt, Undertaken While on Leave in 1910

Frank H. Melland and Edward H. Cholmeley

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In 1910, Fheartrank H. Melland and Edward H. Cholmeley undertook a remarkable journey from southern to northern Africa. While the general premise is that they traveled by bicycle, in reality, it was a more elaborate expedition than they let on and they partly walked, partly biked and had “native porters” carry their gear, which required sixty bearers “to carry a certain quantity of respectable clothing…drugs, carbide, cameras, books, five loads of spirit tanks, and other apparatus for the preservation of zoological specimens” which the duo considered “for two travellers, by no means an excessive allowance.” This work highlights what extreme wealth can command—the pleasures and adventures of imperial voyeurism and curiosity in the colonial era.

This edition is dedicated to Daniel Gutierrez-Sandoval, bicyclist and world traveler.

 

 

A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt: 1920s Travel Recollections

by Grace Thompson Seton

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The author, Grace Gallatin Seton Thompson (1872-1959) was a remarkable voyager to distant places. Her first work, A Woman Tenderfoot (1900), offered a detailed, illustrated guide for women to traverse, hunt and explore the Rocky Mountain area. She was an outspoken leader in the women’s suffrage movement and other causes advancing women’s rights both in the United States and around the world. She played a major part in directing aid to France during World War I, began the Biblioteca Femina, served as president of the Connecticut Women Suffrage Association and Pen and Brush, among numerous other activities.

This work, A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt, details her experiences in Egypt. She also explored China, India, Japan, parts of South America and numerous other places throughout her life, but particularly during the 1920s-30s. She wrote accounts of some her travels in works like Chinese Lanterns (1924) and Yes, Lady Saheb (1925).

This new edition is dedicated to Professor Marianne Marchand of the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, another traveler of note and a teacher of distinction.

The Land of the Date

by C. M. Cursetjee

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In December 1916 the SS Zaiyanni left Bombay bound for the port of Basra, at the head of the Persian Gulf. On board was C. M. Cursetjee, a 69-year-old Oxford-educated Indian Parsee, on his way to see his nephew who was serving in the Indian forces. The boat, carrying much commercial cargo, stopped at all the major ports on the voyage, and the author kept a diary of this remarkable journey upon which this book was based.  

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The Land of the Date is an exceptional study in that it provides important information in two areas. On the one hand, it furnishes a unique and highly entertaining record of life in the Gulf ports in the heady days of the First World War. Cursetjee brings the feel of the times vividly to life: from the pearl divers of Bahrain to the street traders of the bazaars of Basra, all are discussed and described, often with a dry humor.  


The book also, however, serves to bring an Indian perspective to bear on the situation in the Gulf which, considering the large Indian involvement with the Empire’s ventures in the region, has been greatly overlooked. Cursetjee emerges as a stanch imperialist, referring throughout to the greater potential for the future offering to the inhabitants by British rule and fully believing that the Gulf should be British after the war. He also encouraged Indian entrepreneurship in the region, seeing considerable commercial opportunities.  


The author clearly foresaw strategic importance of Kuwait, due to its geographical relationship to the prime port of Basra, as well as the power that oil would have in the area’s future. Whilst fully supporting the British in their Middle Eastern endeavors he was tellingly critical of their attitude in occupied areas, “if only British rule were impressed…with less of that overweening self-importance, haughty aloofness and mischief-brewing superciliousness with which the Britisher makes himself obnoxious in many lands.”

Hadji in Syria, or, Three Years in Jerusalem

by Sarah Barclay Johnson

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Sarah Barclay Johnson (1837-1885) traveled throughout the Middle East as a missionary in the hadjiCampbellite church. Her father, James Turner Barclay, was a minister in the
same church and wrote narratives about his missionary attempts in the region. Further solidifying her links to the area, Johnson married the US consul to Syria, Augustus Johnson.

Johnson’s work, Hadji in Syria, is different from her father’s writings because she focuses on the present day issues and her differing viewpoints from other travelers, notably J. Ross Browne. Still, the focus is largely Christianity in the area, as she examines the Church of the Holy Sepulcher controversies and battles ideas of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox religious traditions. She also critiques the precarious role of women in the region from an American perspective.

This new edition is dedicated to Cheryl Walker, with hopes she travels far with distinction.

 

The Buccaneers of America

by John Esquemeling

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Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin (1645-1707) was known by several names due to poor transcriptions of his name, including John Esquemeling, among others. Despite how much he wrote chronicling the history of piracy in America, not much is clear about Exquemelin. It is believed that he was born in France, but then settled in Holland because he was a Huguenot, then later lived in Tortuga, working for the buccaneersFrench West India Company, served as a surgeon in Amsterdam, then served as a surgeon in the Caribbean. He was said to be a part of Henry Morgan’s pirate band, and some of their exploits are accounted for in The Buccaneers of America. Yet, not even The Buccaneers is a clear historical record. The work underwent many editions and translates across various languages, from the original Dutch to Spanish, French and English. This is perhaps the most useful version, and the new edition is dedicated to Russ Charvonia, who likes a good story and works within a beach umbrella’s shadow of the most storied slice of the California coast.

Observations of a Bahai Traveler

by Charles Mason Remey

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Observations of a Bahai Traveller

Charles Mason Remey (1874-1974) was the son of Admiral George Collier Remey and grew up in the house at 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, which is the headquarters of Westphalia Press and the Policy Studies Organization. He drew plans and did a study of the house, which is deposited in the Library of Congress. He studied to be an architect at Cornell (1893-1896) and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1896-1903) where he learned about the Bahai movement.

Remey became president of the Bahai international council and when Shoghi Effendi, the supreme leader or Guardian of the faith died in 1957, Remey asserted that he was the new Guardian. Most did not accept this claim and his own followers subsequently split in different groups. Regardless of his later problems in asserting his supreme leadership, his books about his early travels and his architectural drawings and criticisms are outstanding.

Mexico: The Wonderland of the South

by W. E. Carson

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William English Carson (1870-1940) was a controversial writer about social issues but when his book about Mexico first appeared in 1910, critics enthused:

“Mr. Carson knows Mexico thoroughly …It would be hard to discover anything worth seeing that he has not seen. He has wandered around the Mexican capital and other old cities; he had explored the gold and silver mines and visited some of the quaint health resorts; he had gone mountain climbing and tarpon fishing …compendious, concise and clear”.

Mexico COVER FRONT ONLYA century later Anthony Burton was less impressed: “Despite being an enthusiastic traveler, many of his views about Mexicans will strike modern readers as stereo-typical. For example, he dedicated an entire chapter to The Mexican Woman, which makes for fascinating reading despite many statements which read today as outrageous over-generalizations, such as “no foreigner, unless he be associated with diplomacy, is likely to have any chance of studying and judging the Mexican women”; “the Mexican girl has but two things in life to occupy her, love and religion”; “As a rule, the Mexican women are not beautiful”. !!! While readers may not agree with Carson’s views, the volume remains a classic depiction of Mexico in an era of turmoil.

Take a look at the book’s Original 1909 Cover.

A Trip to Palestine and Syria

by John P. Hackenbroch

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In 1913, the same year that this nuanced and colorful account of the Middle East was published, a group of Arab students living in Paris proposed an international meeting about Syria and Lebanon to A Trip to Palestine & Syria COVER FRONT ONLYdiscuss the decay of the Ottoman Empire, the part the European powers were playing in the region, Zionist settlements in Palestine, and the signs of growing crisis in the region. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to be the sponsor. The congress was held June 18-23 and there were delegates representing all the major faiths, as well as a spectrum of political positions, and a hopeful discussion that looked to the future. Of course World War I began in July 1914 and the Arab Congress of 1913 was not replicable. Nor of course were the travels of John Hackenbroch in this volume. A hundred years have passed and the problems remain.