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"A perceptive, old-school travel writer whose prose brings celebrated and obscure destinations to life." —The New York Times "The Joys of Travel is itself a joy." —Paul Theroux, New York Times bestselling author of Deep South In The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them, veteran travel writer Thomas Swick reflects on what he has identified as “the seven joys of tr "A perceptive, old-school travel writer whose prose brings celebrated and obscure destinations to life." —The New York Times "The Joys of Travel is itself a joy." —Paul Theroux, New York Times bestselling author of Deep South In The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them, veteran travel writer Thomas Swick reflects on what he has identified as “the seven joys of travel”: anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection, and heightened appreciation of home. Coupled with the personal essays are seven true stories that illustrate these joys. Each details the author’s experience visiting destinations across the globe, including Munich, Bangkok, Sicily, Iowa, and Key West. The Joys of Travel awakens readers to pleasures that, as travelers, they may be taking for granted, and shows non-travelers what they’ve been missing. It offers tips on how people can get the most out of their trips, including strategies for meeting locals, and examines how various modes of transportation affect a traveler’s experience. Throughout this enlightening memoir, Swick also supplies readers with the titles of travel classics that will not only prepare them for the places they visit, but make those places more meaningful once they arrive. Before your next trip, be it a family vacation or a backpacking tour of Europe, read The Joys of Travel. It will inspire you to get the most out of your time away from home—and to get away more often.


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"A perceptive, old-school travel writer whose prose brings celebrated and obscure destinations to life." —The New York Times "The Joys of Travel is itself a joy." —Paul Theroux, New York Times bestselling author of Deep South In The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them, veteran travel writer Thomas Swick reflects on what he has identified as “the seven joys of tr "A perceptive, old-school travel writer whose prose brings celebrated and obscure destinations to life." —The New York Times "The Joys of Travel is itself a joy." —Paul Theroux, New York Times bestselling author of Deep South In The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them, veteran travel writer Thomas Swick reflects on what he has identified as “the seven joys of travel”: anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection, and heightened appreciation of home. Coupled with the personal essays are seven true stories that illustrate these joys. Each details the author’s experience visiting destinations across the globe, including Munich, Bangkok, Sicily, Iowa, and Key West. The Joys of Travel awakens readers to pleasures that, as travelers, they may be taking for granted, and shows non-travelers what they’ve been missing. It offers tips on how people can get the most out of their trips, including strategies for meeting locals, and examines how various modes of transportation affect a traveler’s experience. Throughout this enlightening memoir, Swick also supplies readers with the titles of travel classics that will not only prepare them for the places they visit, but make those places more meaningful once they arrive. Before your next trip, be it a family vacation or a backpacking tour of Europe, read The Joys of Travel. It will inspire you to get the most out of your time away from home—and to get away more often.

30 review for The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I experienced many moments of joy reading this book by a seasoned fellow traveler. Each time I came back to it, I quickly re-engaged, as the writing had a familiarity that made me feel like I was catching up with a past acquaintance. I would settle back into my chair cushions with a hot cup of tea and enjoy the next installment. Here are my favorite quotes: The author suggests that when researching possible vacation locations, we network by talking to all our friends and acquaintances, including I experienced many moments of joy reading this book by a seasoned fellow traveler. Each time I came back to it, I quickly re-engaged, as the writing had a familiarity that made me feel like I was catching up with a past acquaintance. I would settle back into my chair cushions with a hot cup of tea and enjoy the next installment. Here are my favorite quotes: The author suggests that when researching possible vacation locations, we network by talking to all our friends and acquaintances, including immigrants to gain useful information. Indeed, "Immigrants may be bitter, homesick, or conflicted, but they're insiders who've seen their country from the outside." On bringing something familiar with you on your journey: "A magazine you subscribe to helps personalize an alien space; a bit of your house is coming along with you." On travel as a disruption to our daily routine and the comforts of home: "This is how many people confront change - by bringing along something that is dear." Regarding hotels, our substitute homes: "Even the lowly ones we cherish, because in a place where all our senses are stretched - a new city, a foreign land - they make it okay to fall unconscious." I love to walk, so these next two quotes were especially poignant: "The thrill of walking comes not so much from movement - except for the initial turning of a step out the door into a journey - but from its gifts of freedom and nonconformity." And, "In a world built on speed, walking somewhere is an act of rebellion." Regarding change and when things don't go as planned as they invariably don't: "What doesn't totally freak you out makes you more interesting, tolerant, and sweet." Finally, the last section of the book includes several travel stories, "Warsaw Redux" is my favorite and genuinely moved me, and then, "The Train to Bagan" made me laugh out loud. Truly, if you pluck up the courage to leave the comfort of your home and perhaps, your country, you will be irrevocably changed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I love to travel, but I hate to fly so I had to force myself to get on a plane to see 25 counties. Fortunately, the 50 states were easier, even if some flying was necessary. Unhappily, most of my traveling has come to an end because of finances and a physical disability, but I still like to read about those who do travel. The author of this book is a professional travel writer who has been to many places. He gives some hints, tells some stories and tries to encourage people to travel too. All wel I love to travel, but I hate to fly so I had to force myself to get on a plane to see 25 counties. Fortunately, the 50 states were easier, even if some flying was necessary. Unhappily, most of my traveling has come to an end because of finances and a physical disability, but I still like to read about those who do travel. The author of this book is a professional travel writer who has been to many places. He gives some hints, tells some stories and tries to encourage people to travel too. All well and good, except he is paid to travel, which lessens his impact since he doesn't travel for the same reasons that I did. His base line seems to be meeting people so he has stories to tell. I traveled to see places that had meaning to me. I visited battlefields all over the U.S. and Europe. I would drive miles to see lighthouses, covered bridges and waterfalls. I didn't need people to talk to on my solo trips. Hanging out at bars so I could talk to the locals was just not my thing. I enjoyed this book somewhat, but his need to publish what he thinks would be interesting to readers colored my thinking about what he wrote, especially his questionable attitude towards some women he met. He also constantly questioned why people wouldn't have a passport. Money might be a good answer, plus you don't need a passport to travel around the U.S.--at least not yet. Being paid to travel is a dream of mine. It's too bad Swick can live that dream, but doesn't do more with it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave Seminara

    If you're the kind of perceptive traveler who likes to ride trains, strike up conversations with strangers and go to places that aren't mentioned in your guidebook, meet Thomas Swick, a traveler writer you will surely love. It was a pleasure to spend 300 pages or so with him, revisiting places that have been important to him, learning about his travel philosophies and reminding oneself about, yes, the Joys of Travel! Swick's writing style is engaging and accessible and he has a great sense of hu If you're the kind of perceptive traveler who likes to ride trains, strike up conversations with strangers and go to places that aren't mentioned in your guidebook, meet Thomas Swick, a traveler writer you will surely love. It was a pleasure to spend 300 pages or so with him, revisiting places that have been important to him, learning about his travel philosophies and reminding oneself about, yes, the Joys of Travel! Swick's writing style is engaging and accessible and he has a great sense of humor. If you like Paul Theroux's travel narratives, you'll love this book. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    Short but great read. The book consists of three sections, The second consisting of actual travel writing, which was quite interesting (although I am really not into short travel stories). The third section consisting of stories of the tribulations of being a travel writer, with book signings etc, and the first section-which was by far the most interesting and which I could relate to-the nuances of travel which seem to be rarely written or talked about. I.e. the feeling of walking out of the air Short but great read. The book consists of three sections, The second consisting of actual travel writing, which was quite interesting (although I am really not into short travel stories). The third section consisting of stories of the tribulations of being a travel writer, with book signings etc, and the first section-which was by far the most interesting and which I could relate to-the nuances of travel which seem to be rarely written or talked about. I.e. the feeling of walking out of the airport in a city/country never visited before and being somewhere totally new, the last-minute regrets of leaving the comforts of home, and most touchingly, returning from a long trip to a distant land chock-full of cool stories, and finding that your home-bound friends have little to no interest in hearing about them. As someone who traveled overseas for 8 months, Mr Swick captured my feelings to the tee.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    Travel writer Thomas Swick richly describes seven joys connected to travel-- anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection, and heightened appreciation of home-- and then illuminates each with a story from his own journeys. If you're not currently planning a trip, you'll be itching to do so after reading this book. An insightful and highly enjoyable read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pilgrim Traveler Books

    A Joy to Read As a fellow traveler if often only through Books I enjoyed Thomas's perspective on travel. I do hope we American's Fund the joy of travel and reading. What a shame so few do.

  7. 5 out of 5

    William Graham

    An Inspiration to Travel Get out of your comfort zone and catch wanderlust. This is what the author has done and explains eloquently. Join him on the road.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    3.5 stars In the first half of this book, the author gives insights into immersive traveling and awakens readers to pleasures they’re likely to take for granted during a trip. The section covers the seven joys of travel and offers useful tips to help travelers get the most out of their trips. The book is peppered with travel titles to help prepare a traveler for places they intend to visit and to make a meaningful connection once there. The second half consists of travel essays by the writer. Ove 3.5 stars In the first half of this book, the author gives insights into immersive traveling and awakens readers to pleasures they’re likely to take for granted during a trip. The section covers the seven joys of travel and offers useful tips to help travelers get the most out of their trips. The book is peppered with travel titles to help prepare a traveler for places they intend to visit and to make a meaningful connection once there. The second half consists of travel essays by the writer. Overall, a good book. Would recommend

  9. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    3.5 stars Thomas Swick is a traveler's writer - if you already enjoy travel, chances are you will feel like he is articulating ideas you had but never had words for. The anticipation before a journey, the way just being somewhere new can heighten the senses and make you feel more alive, the constant drive for novelty. All those ideas really resonated with me. His essays also take us to foreign destinations and explore his own experiences there - Poland, Key West, Germany, Bangkok. Since he is def 3.5 stars Thomas Swick is a traveler's writer - if you already enjoy travel, chances are you will feel like he is articulating ideas you had but never had words for. The anticipation before a journey, the way just being somewhere new can heighten the senses and make you feel more alive, the constant drive for novelty. All those ideas really resonated with me. His essays also take us to foreign destinations and explore his own experiences there - Poland, Key West, Germany, Bangkok. Since he is definitely more into meeting strangers than I am, I marveled at how often he ends up in the homes of people he doesn't know. Truthfully, he did inspire me to try and reach out a bit more when I am out, to strike up conversations if for no other reason than to get outside myself and really try to learn about other ways of living. Sometimes I found our author a bit condescending - he's SUCH a travel, it's SO obvious. Maybe if I just read the essays one at a time in a newspaper or magazine over a long stretch it wouldn't have bothered me, but to read them all at one time felt a bit like he was shoving the awesomeness of his experience in my face. Not all the time, but occasionally. One thing I really liked was how often he would quote other familiar writers and their feelings about wandering. This short compilation didn't bore me and feel like I did widen my horizons a bit by reading it - I think my next travel experience (which of course can never come soon enough!) will be a bit different because of his perspective, so that's something.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bryanna Plog

    Part a book of essays about traveling and travel writing with some traditional travel essays at the end. Swick is upfront and insightful, and continually quotable about traveling in today's modern world. His essays appealed to me as both a frequent traveler and fellow traveler writer. I enjoyed the essays more than some of the actual stories (though there are some gems there too), but recommend to anyone who wants to think seriously about travel (though not too seriously at the same time) and an Part a book of essays about traveling and travel writing with some traditional travel essays at the end. Swick is upfront and insightful, and continually quotable about traveling in today's modern world. His essays appealed to me as both a frequent traveler and fellow traveler writer. I enjoyed the essays more than some of the actual stories (though there are some gems there too), but recommend to anyone who wants to think seriously about travel (though not too seriously at the same time) and any new travel writer.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Charles Baird

    First half on travel in general was great and different than anything I've read. The second half of actual travel stories were hit or miss. I'd consider reading his other books in the future to form more of an opinion. Overall a good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This book was okay. The first half was true to Life. Then the author began adding too many personal stories and acquaintances and kept Mentioning his wife.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Thomas Swick is a veteran travel writer who has travelled all around the world. From his experience, he has identified the “Seven Joys of Travel” – Anticipation, Movement, Break from Routine, Novelty, Discovery, Emotional Connection and Heightened Appreciation of Home - which he explains, intertwined with stories of his own travels. What I loved about this book is that the author is very down to earth. Unlike many other travel writers, he does not have that grand idea of travelling as a long jou Thomas Swick is a veteran travel writer who has travelled all around the world. From his experience, he has identified the “Seven Joys of Travel” – Anticipation, Movement, Break from Routine, Novelty, Discovery, Emotional Connection and Heightened Appreciation of Home - which he explains, intertwined with stories of his own travels. What I loved about this book is that the author is very down to earth. Unlike many other travel writers, he does not have that grand idea of travelling as a long journey off the beaten track, with lots of adventure and life-threatening experiences. Our normal short holidays, visiting monuments and checking out the sites in European or American cities are also meaningful ways of travel. Afterall, travelling is not about the destination – it is about how you feel inside and how you absorb the new surroundings for personal growth. The personal and individual transformation is what makes a journey important.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue Ronnenkamp

    This was a surprise “find” the past few weeks. Popped up as one of the special offer e-books and felt like an easy risk to take. Best part of the book are the chapters about the various joys of travel. Less so, the travel articles at the end - though I found some very engaging. This book was especially appreciated right now because I’m in a phase of my life when travel is not a key focus. Even more so, I’m currently home-bound because of a leg fracture - so needed this book to give my mind and i This was a surprise “find” the past few weeks. Popped up as one of the special offer e-books and felt like an easy risk to take. Best part of the book are the chapters about the various joys of travel. Less so, the travel articles at the end - though I found some very engaging. This book was especially appreciated right now because I’m in a phase of my life when travel is not a key focus. Even more so, I’m currently home-bound because of a leg fracture - so needed this book to give my mind and imagination a delightful break! Along with coming to appreciate Thomas Swick, I also appreciated all the many travel authors he shared and wrote about. Next up, is exploring the writing of Paul Theroux. Nice, enjoyable, easy read for anyone who’s a travel lover like I am. Enjoy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The first half of the book is made up of things that are very true about travel, but are the things you don’t write about! Like the realization that travel shows you just how inessential you are to life at home. It goes on without you while you’re gone. Or that trains carry you through life, but apart from it. The second half of the book is travel stories. This half was a faster read than the first half. It was an interesting read, but didn’t exactly keep me wanting to pick up the book. I liked The first half of the book is made up of things that are very true about travel, but are the things you don’t write about! Like the realization that travel shows you just how inessential you are to life at home. It goes on without you while you’re gone. Or that trains carry you through life, but apart from it. The second half of the book is travel stories. This half was a faster read than the first half. It was an interesting read, but didn’t exactly keep me wanting to pick up the book. I liked the beginning best where the author talked about traveling because of books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    An unusual format... First a series of (insightful and enjoyable) essays on aspects of travel and the joys to be found. Not just in the travel itself, but in the anticipation, the change in language, food and culture. And the changed view of home. And then a series of travel stories illustrating these points. Very well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    Made me want to go out into the world and see things in a new way. I loved the style (broken up into essays about why we travel and then 7 stories that highlight those essays). Captures all of the magic of travel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    carlton w. allegood

    Simply wonderful travel writing Such insightful observations on the feelings and experiences of solitary travel that will leave readers who have travelled alone shaking their heads in agreement.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Thoughtful essays about travel and experiencing different cultures. A fun read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nate Duriga

    Enjoyable read. I like his philosophy on travel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    BefuddledPanda

    Enjoyable and thoughtful. Definitely a good pre-trip read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rafael

    Nice first half I liked the concept section, they even helped me to round up an essay I am writing. I didn’t like the anecdotes that much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Makes me want to become a travel writer... again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The truth about travel and some good stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    B

    I love to read about travel and this book did not disappoint. From his stories based on the anticipation, discoveries, emotional connections in travel and the heightened appreciation of home, (always forget how nice it is to come home), to some of his favorite stories based in Poland, Munich Oktoberfest, an unusual hotel in Bangkok, Key West, and the Anti-mafia in Palermo, I just kept reading, well into the night.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A joy to read. Swick, a veteran travel writer, looks at the reasons why we travel and what we gain from the experience using his own stories to illustrate. From his perspective we see the highs and lows of his chosen profession and obsession as well as how he finds the positive from even the bad trips. Insightful and funny recommended reading for all who suffer from wanderlust.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Walker

    This is an easy-to-read celebration of all things travel. It aptly puts into words so many of its appealing aspects when it talks about concepts as much as places, describing the rebellion of walking in a world built on speed and how eating is one of the most pleasurable ways to absorb culture.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leif Pettersen

    Tom and I have very similar views on travel, so reading this was mostly just me nodding my head vigorously.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Enjoyed the first half a great deal and agree with how the author sees the world and ways to move through it. The second half of stories also rate well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    I once traveled with Tom and this book reminded me of what a joy it was. Every story is told with the perfect amount of detail to make you feel like you're right there with him.

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