“RE­DIS­COV­ER­ING TRAVEL: A GUIDE FOR THE GLOB­ALLY CU­RI­OUS”

NON-FIC­TION BY SETH KUGEL (LIVERIGHT)

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Book - Re­view: Kim Cur­tis As­so­ci­ated Press

Love travel? Love books? Love books about travel? If the pre­ced­ing state­ments are true, do pick up a copy of “Re­dis­cov­er­ing Travel: A Guide for the Glob­ally Cu­ri­ous,” writ­ten by for­mer New York Times’ “Fru­gal Trav­eler” Seth Kugel. Whether or not you’re fa­mil­iar with Kugel’s amus­ing, yet never cloy­ing writ­ing; his self-dep­re­cat­ing and hi­lar­i­ous sto­ry­telling; and his in­ner strug­gle be­tween his fear of talk­ing to strangers and his com­pul­sion for out- of-the-way ad­ven­tures, “Re­dis­cov­er­ing Travel” will feel as com­fort­able as your fa­vorite, wooly pair of socks. He’ll charm your pants off with his amus­ing and en­dear­ing anec­dotes about his trav­els, near and far. About South Carolina: “Even if you’ve just eaten, you don’t pass up a bar­be­cue buf­fet at a place called Hog Heaven that has a sign fea­tur­ing three pigs in bibs and ha­los.” About the weather: “A travel day that turns rainy is like a piece of cho­co­late I’ve dropped on the floor: It’s sig­nif­i­cantly less ap­peal­ing, but I’ll be damned if I’m go­ing to throw it away.” But de­spite Kugel’s de­light­ful writ­ing, his book doesn’t ful­fill his pub­lisher’s in­tended promise of be­com­ing an “in­dis­pens­able” travel com­pan­ion that con­veys “how to make the most of new dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies with­out be­ing shack­led to them.” His ad­vice en­cour­ag­ing trav­el­ers to visit places off the well-worn paths, to talk to real peo­ple rather than to rely on web­sites and apps, and to steer clear of chain restau­rants and ho­tels, seems a tad ob­vi­ous. And his chap­ters ex­plor­ing crime and health sta­tis­tics, OTAs (on­line travel agen­cies) and con­sumer re­view web­sites like Yelp and TripAd­vi­sor feel out of place. It may be best to ac­cept the highly read­able “Re­dis­cov­er­ing Travel” for what it is — a funny, in­spir­ing and well- crafted col­lec­tion of travel es­says.

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