“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


"Paraguayans had become mere caretakers at the tomb of their past, making do as best as they could and whispering about what might have been."


"Every Afghan story is marked by death and loss and unimaginable grief. And yet, she sees, people find a way to survive, to go on."


"Travel never makes one cheerful. But it makes one thoughtful. It washes one's eyes and clears away the dust."

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