Slumdog Millionaire’s victory at the Oscars last night, just at the time I’m working on Lunatic, reminded me again of the importance of plain old story, told simply and well. It wasn’t a perfect movie, but it had the essential elements that we ALL struggle with every day: love, betrayal, struggle, dreams of triumph, comedy and tragedy, told in an easily accessible way, against a compelling and exotic backdrop.
When I was traveling across the US on Greyhound I looked at my fellow passengers with a cynicism I never felt in Bangladesh or Peru or India. My seatmates on Greyhound with their plastic trash bags of clothes seemed sad losers; my boat mates on the ferry out of Dacca seemed worthy of sympathy and empathy. Their plight was, no doubt, the same in many ways. Still, at least I was looking at those travelers on Greyhound, thinking about them and my own country, and that’s what travel is all about: making you look. Seeing with a fresh eye, which is hard to do when the venue never changes.
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Carl Hoffman is traveling for The Lunatic Express, to be published by Broadway Books in 2009. He is a contributing editor at Na…
One of the opportunities afforded by writing a book like Lunatic is to put a long journey into perspective and to look back over my notes.
One of the things I’m pondering while looking back at my notes and writing Lunatic is the idea of traveling alone, of escaping into the furthest corners of the world, which has always felt good to me.
The crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo on February 11, 19 days after ending my traveling is a strange reminder of the unpredictability of, well, your fate.
When I landed in Los Angeles I was a five-hour flight from home, which is why climbing on a Greyhound for 72 hours of sitting bolt upright instead took enormous willpower.
Three days on Isla del Sol, in Lake Titicaca; natural beauty and Inca legends
Differences in daily life between Canada and Peru
Iquitos: the largest and most popular jungle destination in Peru
Madrid's Festival of San Isidro has morphed from a religious procession to a full scale arts festival