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Soft Adventure Travel
Soft Adventure Travel
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

Harlan gives an overview of the book:

  Soft adventure. The sort of experience that goes beyond the typical tourist itinerary. There is no great physical challenge involved here. There is considerable food for the spirit. And the body. And on the windjammer, a rum swizzle at every turn. Not to worry, you're not driving. I wrote travel articles about many of my trips. The articles published in the travel sections of newspapers all over the United States and in travel magazines. This was back in the salad days when newspapers had budgets for freelance writing. This volume is a collection of some of those articles. They tell about where I traveled and something of how I felt about the experiences. I began traveling in Europe and wrote about these experiences, familiar to most Americans who travel abroad, but soon turned to soft adventure travel.    The term, soft adventure, refers not only to...
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Soft adventure. The sort of experience that goes beyond the typical tourist itinerary. There is no great physical challenge involved here. There is considerable food for the spirit. And the body. And on the windjammer, a rum swizzle at every turn. Not to worry, you're not driving.

I wrote travel articles about many of my trips. The articles published in the travel sections of newspapers all over the United States and in travel magazines. This was back in the salad days when newspapers had budgets for freelance writing.

This volume is a collection of some of those articles. They tell about where I traveled and something of how I felt about the experiences. I began traveling in Europe and wrote about these experiences, familiar to most Americans who travel abroad, but soon turned to soft adventure travel.

 

 The term, soft adventure, refers not only to the sort of travel I did, but also to my general outlook. I have tried to live life to the fullest, neither moving at a frantic, hell-bent pace at one extreme or at a safe, conservative, boring pace at the other. I was an academic, a history professor, and I have included a few of my scholarly articles that reveal my biases and research interests.

 

 Since some of the articles were written many years ago, I thought of updating them—prices, what to see, where to stay, contact information—but I thought better of it. Updating data of this sort simply perpetuates the inevitability of dating. That’s why print travel guides are revised every year. Even so, any print guide is obsolete the day it is issued. The online guides are more reliable for data of this sort since they can be updated instantaneously. I decided to leave the obsolete data in the articles as historical curiosities. It goes without saying that one should be very careful about relying on any data in my articles.

 Read these pieces for pleasure, for a good story, for nostalgia. It’s what I do.

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Picture this: you're sitting with us on the open after deck of a small riverboat, sipping a glass of good wine and watching pink dolphins rise near the boat. The sun drops below the horizon, and we turn to watch clouds tinted with twenty shades of pink change into layers and columns and great swirls of whipped cream.

The aroma of grilled peacock bass and piranha, which we caught just hours ago, drifts over to us, and dinner is announced. We get up, all thirteen of us, and walk over to the buffet table.

This was the scene most evenings of our expedition by riverboat on the middle Amazon. This is the sort of travel that I enjoy. We've sailed in southeastern Alaska on a 70-passenger, shallow draft ship, moving up salmon-clogged streams by zodiac and walking along trails, shouting "hey bear, hey bear!" We've motored up the waterways of central California for a close look at delta marshes and the Napa Valley wine country and watched the sun set through San Francisco's Golden Gate.

We swam with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, watched hundreds of dolphins--the naturalist estimated a thousand--converging on the ship, and petted whales in Magdalena Bay.

Farther afield, we have walked in fields of wildflowers in the Alps around Mürren and had tea on a canyon-side terrace, almost in tears at the magnificence of the Jungfrau range opposite. We have watched the sun rise over the Serengeti from a hot air balloon and strolled the streets of the tiny mountain village of Stölberg im Harz in Germany, just awakening from its decades of isolation on the western border of then East Germany.

We've biked through tulip fields in northern Holland. We sat for hours on an early morning, watching the sun's rays pierce the dark overcast and illuminate the walls of Machu Picchu, sparkling from last night's rain. We sailed the turquoise waters of Turkey's Mediterranean coast and hiked inland, marveling at unexcavated Hellenistic and Roman ruins reachable only on foot.

We stood in wonder, gazing at the snow-capped mountains from atop Tibet's Potala Palace. We thrilled at the sight of a resplendent quetzal pair in Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest and wondered at the magnificence of the lost Mayan cities of Tikal and Xunantanich in Guatemala and Belize.

We've been inspired by the wonderful colors of autumn in Japan and Uluru at sunset. We returned often to the Caribbean, making sail on a windjammer at midnight under a full moon, bagpipes playing Amazing Grace . . . .

Soft adventure. The sort of experience that goes beyond the typical tourist itinerary. There is no great physical challenge involved here. There is considerable food for the spirit. And the body. And on the windjammer, a rum swizzle at every turn. Not to worry, you're not driving.

I wrote travel articles about many of my trips. The articles published in the travel sections of newspapers all over the United States and in travel magazines. This was back in the salad days when newspapers had budgets for freelance writing.

This thin volume is a collection of some of those articles. They tell about where I traveled and something of how I felt about the experiences. I began traveling in Europe and wrote about these experiences, familiar to most Americans who travel abroad, but soon turned to soft adventure travel.

The term, soft adventure, refers not only to the sort of travel I did, but also to my general outlook. I have tried to live life to the fullest, neither moving at a frantic, hell-bent pace at one extreme or at a safe, conservative, boring pace at the other. I was an academic, a history professor, and I have included a few of my scholarly articles that reveal my biases and research interests.

Since some of the articles were written many years ago, I thought of updating them—prices, what to see, where to stay, contact information—but I thought better of it. Updating data of this sort simply perpetuates the inevitability of dating. That’s why print travel guides are revised every year. Even so, any print guide is obsolete the day it is issued. The online guides are more reliable for data of this sort since they can be updated instantaneously. I decided to leave the obsolete data in the articles as historical curiosities. It goes without saying that one should be very careful about relying on any data in my articles.

Read these pieces for pleasure, for a good story, for nostalgia. It’s what I do. My favorite guide for my favorite region in England is Highways and Byways in Oxford & the Cotswolds, part of the Highways and Byways series. It was published in 1905. It is nostalgic and useful. It is delightful reading. Of course, I consult my Rick Steves and Lonely Planet when planning, but when I sit down to tea or a glass of wine in the B&B garden, I read my Highways and Byways.

I hope you enjoy these pieces, as I enjoyed the experiences and the writing. I hope you travel vicariously with me. If they encourage you to strike out on your own adventure, so much the better.

 

harlan-hague's picture

Note from the author coming soon...

About Harlan

I am a compulsive writer. History, biography, screenplays, fiction, including some sci-fi/alternate history, travel. Also a little poetry. Wish I could write music. You'll find more about me than you want to know at http://...

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