“When one considers how much territory Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, Jan Morris, and the others superstars have covered, there really isn’t much left for others to scribble about, except many Kiribati and Buffalo, New York. I’ve been to Buffalo, but I will graciously leave that commentary for someone else.”


“But the real reason not to bury people was because, when you die, your spirit goes up into the sky. What we call the northern lights is actually the spirits all the Indians who have passed away, dancing in the heavens.”


“I pedaled along the mountain roads, the deep-green pastures punctuated by the occasional white oblong house. These houses stood all alone, scattered one by one across the mountainside. Did anyone still live there? I wondered.”


“Juárez, it seemed, was the perfect setting for a killer or killers. The victims were plentiful, poor, and trusting, and the crimes seemed to go unpunished. And yet the question remained, who was killing these young women and why?”


“I felt as if I were assembling a jigsaw puzzle in which each piece had a specific place. Before I put the puzzle together, it all seemed incomprehensible to me, but I was sure that if I ever managed to complete it, the separate parts would each have meaning and the whole would be harmonious.”


“The original scent of Jordan is here: sesame, olive, incense, rosewater, orange blossom water, dust, jasmine, thyme.”


“I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.”


“The ground is still filled with rings, and money, and pictures and Jewish things. I was only able to find a few of them, but they fill the earth.”


“Books, he said, are ingrained in his soul, and books, he is convinced, will save Timbuktu. Words form the sinew and muscle that hold societies upright.”


“We loved Haiti. We hated Haiti. We did not understand or know Haiti. Years later, I still did not understand Haiti but I longed for the Haiti of my childhood. When I was kidnapped, I knew I would never find that Haiti ever again.”


“A mile from the village we entered a stand of trees two hundred feet tall. This was the rain forest. It was cool and dark; except for occasional glimpses, I was not to see the sun for the next four weeks.”


“One thing is fairly certain: the concept of Danishness is changing. How to be Danish is hard enough to explain in 2014. How to be Danish in two decades’ time is anyone’s guess.”


“I dream more often of Bhutan itself. I am walking through narrow green valleys with rivers rushing through them. The mountains rise up so steeply on all sides, I have to look up and up to find the sky above. I walk through forests at night to a ring of dark-ringed fir trees, to a rocky pool beneath a waterfall, to open spaces where I can see the stars thrown across the deep blue-black sky. In my dreams, clouds climb down from the sky, fill up ravines, melt into fields, darkening the green of the rice and the maize. I watch the mist and tell myself I am dreaming, the world cannot possibly be so beautiful, but I wake up and it is.”


“Havana was a woman who had once been renowned for her beauty until hard times had sourced her. Her hand had gotten heavy with makeup application; her necklines had crept down; her beauty was tainted with vulgarity. But sometimes, when she was alone, after she’d taken off her makeup, she danced in her garden, bare-faced and barefoot, to an old bolero, and the old elegance appeared, normal as a Tuesday evening.”


“…in the United States the law is the law and forever is forever, but in Latin American the law always changes and nothing is forever.”


“I was twenty-three and no one had spoken to me about the Armenian Genocide. My grandmother’s flashback had been a strange set of surrealistic images that left an imprint on me, but she never talked about her past in rational language.”


“I spread out a map and lost myself in the names. This is, to me, one of the deep and abiding pleasures of life in Britain.”

North Korea

“North Korea is a country of secrets, lies, and questions with no answers. It was as much a psychological journey as a tourist experience for me, and I was profoundly affected by my time there.”


“Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience—buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello—become new all over again.”


“Beyond the circle of illumination cast by the flames, the darkness was full of strange noises. The music of the Caribbean night- that orchestra of sounds made by cicadas, frogs and rustling leaves- which seemed so charming when accompanied by the bustle of Bridgetown, now seemed menacing in the context of this great, dark, breathing wilderness, and George must have slept fitfully if he managed to sleep at all.”


“In fact, Antarctica may bear no imprint of me at all, but the place itself will have marked me, seared itself upon me like an icy hot brand.”

Sierra Leone

"I was also pleased to have met people outside of Sierra Leone. Because if I was to get killed upon my return, I knew that a memory of my existence was alive somewhere in the world.”


“It’s impossible to imagine that so much of the world lives this way until you see it for yourself. Even seeing it, it’s impossible to fathom: the garbage, the chickens, and the children toddling alone through the street. I’m overcome by a desire to know everything about this place, it’s corners, crannies, and secrets.”

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