- When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest woods . . . [Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” (1851-60).]
- A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. [Paul Dudley White]
By living vitally, we re-create ourselves and are made new.
Travel is a great way to refresh and re-create.
- Henri Michaux, A Barbarian in Asia (1933).
- Eric Hansen, The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer (Pantheon, 2004).
- Lawrence Durrell, Bitter Lemons of Cyprus (1957).
- William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey Into America (1982).
- Alexander Frater, Chasing the Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage Through India (1993).
- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (Random House, 1997).
- Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (1977).
- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard (Viking Press, 1978).
- Tom Bissell, Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia (Pantheon, 2003).
- Robert Sullivan, Cross Country (Bloomsbury USA, 2006).
- Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).
- Rosemary Mahoney, Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff (Little, Brown and Co., 2007).
- Fridtjof Nansen, Farthest North: The Voyage and Exploration of the Fram, 1893-1896, volume 1 (Harper & Brothers, 1897).
- Fridtjof Nansen, Farthest North: The Voyage and Exploration of the Fram, 1893-1896, volume 2 (Harper & Brothers, 1897).
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972).
- Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Fearful Void (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,1974).
- Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country (Random House, 2000).
- Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island (William Morrow, 1996).
- Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia (1977).
- Redmond O'Hanlon, In Trouble Again (Atlantic Monthly Press,1988).
- Peter S. Beagle, I See By My Outfit (The Viking Press, 1965).
- Florence Nightingale, Letters from Egypt, 1849-1850 (1854; published 1987).
- Freya Stark, The Lycian Shore (1956).
- Freya Stark, Riding to the Tigris (1959).
- Matsuo Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and other travel sketches (Penguin, 1694).
- Peter Fleming, News from Tartary (The Marlborough Press, 1936).
- Redmond O'Hanlon, No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo (Knopf, 1997).
- Edward Hoagland, Notes from the Century Before (Random House, 1969)
- John McPhee, The Pine Barrens (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1968).
- Eleanor Clark, Rome and a Villa (1952).
- Jenny Diski, Skating to Antarctica (1997).
- Eric Newby, Slowly Down the Ganges (1966).
- Eric Newby, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958).
- Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799).
- Laurie Lee, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (Penguin, 1979).
- Tim Cahill, Road Fever (1991).
- Evelyn Waugh, When the Going Was Good (1947).
Several respected sites have listed their favorite travel books. I have drawn liberally from these lists:
Technical and Analytical Readings
- Dorothy Singer, Roberta Michnik Golinkoff and Kath Hirsh Pasick, Play = Learning : How Play Enhances Children's Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth (Oxford University Press 2006).
- Vivian Gussin Paley, A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play (University of Chicago Press, 2005).
- Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (Avery, 2009).
- David Elkind, The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally (Da Capo Press, 2006).
On leisure time:
- G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (New Directions, 1998).
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957).
- Alex Garland, The Beach (Riverhead, 1996).
- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926).
- Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana (1958).
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Antonin Dvořák, Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From the New World” (Z nového světa) (1893): “Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's great about a culture. That's exactly what Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was when he came to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, an immigrant thrown into a new world and new sounds.” Many musicologists have observed that Dvořák relied mainly on European musical conventions in this composition, which supposedly was not about Europe but about the “new world” in the Americas. Technically, this critique is undeniable. All the same, this composition is among the finest and most inspiring of symphonies, evoking images from American landscapes, albeit with European musical conventions. Three of the movements drive forward powerfully; only the second offers time for reflection. In the fourth and final movement, we hear the themes that had been expressed in the preceding three, as though we are being challenged to come to a new place and create. “Dvořák arrived with his wife and two oldest children in September 1892, and threw himself into teaching, composing, and absorbing America. Since Dvořák was a ‘nationalist’ who grounded his own music in Czech folk tradition, he was naturally curious about the folk music of America.” “Written while Dvořák was living and working in New York City, the symphony purportedly incorporated the composer’s reflections on his American setting.” “An ideal set of circumstances had presented themselves by this stage in his career: strong impressions of his new environment, financial independence, a sense of his role as an ‘ambassador’ of Czech music, and his ambitions to ensure that he would not fall short of expectations. All this found Dvorak at the height of his creative energy and contributed to the genesis of a work of exceptional quality.” Top recordings are conducted by Ančerl in 1961, Kubelik in 1973, Masur in 1992, Abbado in 1997, Harnoncourt in 1999, Fischer in 2000, Jansons in 2004, Mackerras in 2005, Paavo Järvi in 2005, Alsop in 2008, Nelsons in 2013, and Hrůša in 2018.
- Pavel Haas, String Quartet No. 2, "From the Monkey Mountains" (Z opičích hor), Op. 7 (1925): inspired by a vacation.
- Gottschalk: A Night in the Tropics (Nuit des tropics) (1859)
- Granados, Elisenda (1912)
- Gity Razaz, Legend of Sigh , for cello & electronics (2015) (approx. 20 minutes): “Legend of Sigh explores the themes of birth, transformation, and death through the retelling of an old Azerbaijani folktale about a mysterious being, Sigh, who appears every time someone lets out a heartfelt sigh, unknowingly calling out to him. In Razaz’s adapted version, the main character is a widow, who despite her wealth and social status, lives in isolation and loneliness. Overwhelmed with discontent and a desire to end her life, she unknowingly calls upon Sigh. With his help, she is transformed into the body of another woman, receiving another chance at life only to become disillusioned again.”
- Aaron Parks, “Little Big II: Dreams of a Mechanical Man”
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
[William Henry Davies, “Leisure”]