Posts Tagged ‘Bill Bryson’

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Spend Your Summer Traveling Your Way Through the Classics

July 9, 2009

Looking for some summer reading? How about some travel reading?

Leave your humdrum life behind and set off for lands with names you can’t even pronounce. Or maybe you prefer dreaming up the kind of expensive, fancy vacations that celebrities enjoy, but that you can’t afford on your student budget. To anyone suffering from a case of unsatiable wanderlust, I recommend that you begin your travels the old fashioned way: through books. And yeah, “as an au pair to the rich and famous” would be another good option there.

National Geographic put together a list of 80+ titles to form their Ultimate Travel Library. Using their suggestions, start your next adventure at your local bibliothèque. You’ll be able to hit all seven continents in a matter of weeks without spending a penny, and your chances of getting malaria are next to zero.

Bill Bryson A Walk in the WoodsThe Ultimate Travel Library includes classics by Mark Twain, Hemingway, and Henry Miller as well as modern tales from writers like Tim Cahill and Peter Carey (who almost caused me to get a less-than-good grade in a Post-Colonial Writers course a couple of years ago).

I was especially pleased to see that Bill Bryson, the coolest middle-aged man with the loveliest American-British accent you will ever hear, has made the list more than once. His description of cricket in Down Under (titled In a Sunburnt Country for American audiences) helped me to completely forget how exhasuted and carsick I was while taking the bus from Sydney to Canberra, and A Walk in the Woods was so enchanting, I actually took one.

Read, plan, go.
Lisa

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Keep Your Part of the World Worth Seeing

September 17, 2008

Bill Bryson's African DiaryI think Bill Bryson could save the world. I’m not exaggerating. I think with enough money and power and help, his kindness and passion for the wellness of the whole world (the people, the places, the environment) would create compassion and curiosity about other cultures which would translate into a warm, fuzzy feeling for all humanity and therefore an end to war and peace on earth. Easy peasy.

Ok, maybe it wouldn’t be that simple.

Bill isn’t big on power and politics anyway, so don’t look for him to start campaigning for world domination. He is campaigning for cleaner streets and rivers and fields (and probably happier cows as a result). I wrote about this campaign once before. It was so successful (the campaign, not my post about it) that Bill wrote a thank you note to all those who got involved. Here’s what he had to say: 

Dear friends

I’m glad so many of you were able to watch the Panorama programme on litter last month. I was delighted to learn that an average of 4.2 million people watched it, the biggest audience of this series – showing again that people care hugely about litter and fly-tipping, and want to see action.

It’s great, and rather humbling, to see so many of you leaving your messages of support for the Stop the Drop campaign. Making the programme gave me a chance to re-visit parts of the country I haven’t been to for a long while, and reminded me again (as if I could forget it!) what a breathtakingly beautiful country this is, and why we need to clean up the tide of trash that threatens to engulf too much of it. I was truly inspired by many of the people I met – tireless campaigners in the fight against litter.

In fact, if any of you were inspired to take some direct action, http://www.litteraction.org.uk/ has 120 groups across the UK. These litter heroes have been collecting 8,000 bags of rubbish and lobbying their local authorities since April. If you aren’t yet part of the litteraction army, it’s easy to find a local group and join up…or start your own!

You can also write to your MP to ask them to sign the Early Day Motion (EDM) 1634 in support of Stop the Drop – this EDM will remain ‘live’ until the Queen’s Speech in December, and it already has the backing of 124 MPs. Go to http://www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/stop-the-drop/litter-and-fly-tipping/litter-take-action to send an email to your MP.

I am currently touring and speaking at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences, urging all the parties to back Stop the Drop. And after that I am told by the ever patient and charming fellows at CPRE that I am authorized to take Christmas off.

Thank you again for all your wonderful and inspiring support, and apologies to those of you who will have already seen this news in more detail in my Stop The Drop bulletin (sign up at web address I gave earlier)

All best wishes, Bill

PS A belated but heart-felt thanks for your wonderful response to my last-ditch plea for help with the South Downs petition. Because so many of you made the effort we got hundreds more signatures, making it, I’m told, one of the most successful environmental petitions in the UK. Special thanks to the valiant attempts of those of you from outside this small island to join in (Marija, Paula, Matthew and others) – I didn’t realise that the petition was for British citizens and residents only, but am truly heartened by your efforts all the same. In fact, reward yourselves by doing something fun and frivolous!

Anytime, Bill.

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Good Travelers = Good World Citizens

August 8, 2008

Stop the Drop

Having a passion to see the world usually means you have compassion for the planet itself. And that makes sense. Wouldn’t you rather travel thousands of miles to see a glorious snowy mountain range or breathtaking silver lake at sunrise than a polluted dump? (Actually, those tours exist, but they’re meant to be more educational than entertaining.)

And when you consider that your home could be someone else’s destination, then it follows that keeping your street, your town, or your local rivers and lakes clean means you can be adding to someone else’s travel experience. Picking up trash is one of the easiest ways travelers can help travelers.

My hero / favorite travel writer, Bill Bryson, has gotten involved with a large anti-litter campaign in his adopted home of England. Learn more about what he’s doing, and listen to one of the greatest English-American hybrid accents ever. He’s the coolest guy in the world!

And if someone can tell me what exactly fly-tipping is, I’m extremely curious.

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Make Friends With Bill Bryson and CPRE

July 17, 2008

I super love Bill Bryson. He’s a wonderful author, a charming man, and probably one of the most good-hearted people on Earth. If more people showed his consideration for the planet, curiosity for other cultures, and appreciation for the life experiences that travel can give you, we’d be a much happier, healthier, friendly group of humans.

Now, through the power of Facebook, you can join Bill Bryson’s “Let’s be kind and do good things that help our countrysides and landscapes rather than crap on them, shall we?” team.

Oh, and that’s my slogan, not his. I don’t know that he would use the word “crap” in a team motto, although when I saw him at a reading in Boston a few years back, he did begin his talk with a more powerful four-letter word. Ah, how I enjoy his witty blended English-American sense of humor. 

Bill Bryson's African Diary

Bill Bryson's African Diary

Anyway, Mr. Bryson is currently working with the Campaign to Protect Rural England. It’s the kind of thing that locals usually get involved with, but just because you live in Toledo or Calgary or Perth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. What if you want to go visit rural England some day only to find it’s all been torn up and paved over? I imagine it’s the same way non-Americans feel when they visit U.S. National Parks and find them to be more smoggy and full of litter than the brochures make them look.

Which reminds me, you should read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Also, Down Under. Also, Notes From a Small Island. And of course, Bill Bryson’s African Diary, which benefits the non-profit CARE organization.

All other Bryson books are excellent as well, so read them too. Then loan them to your friends. Viva la Bryson revolution!

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CARE for Myanmar

May 9, 2008

Bill Bryson\'s African DiaryIf you’re looking for a way to help the people of Myanmar, consider buying a book.

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite writers, travel or otherwise, and you can’t go wrong with any of his books. I chuckled my way around Australia reading about deadly creatures and ridiculous cricket games in Down Under (also called In a Sunburnt Country depending on where you are), and I was nearly driven to buy a backpack and some hiking boots after reading A Walk in the Woods.

His mini-book, Bill Bryson’s African Diary is slightly more serious than some of his other work, but all proceeds go to CARE International, one of the groups currently in Myanmar distributing food and water.

For about $10, you get a wonderful read, CARE gets a donation, and Bill Bryson gets a new admirer. All in all, a pretty good deal.

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Travel ‘Til Your Eyes Blur and Your Fingers Blister

October 10, 2007

Are you desparate to leave your humdrum life behind and set off for lands with names you can’t even pronounce? Or maybe you prefer dreaming up the kind of expensive, fancy vacations that celebrities enjoy, but that you can’t afford on your student budget. To anyone suffering from a case of unsatiable wanderlust, I recommend that you begin your travels the old fashioned way: through books. And yeah, “as an au pair to the rich and famous” would be another good option there.

National Geographic put together a list of 80+ titles to form their Ultimate Travel Library. Using their suggestions, start your next adventure at your local bibliothèque. You’ll be able to hit all seven continents in a matter of weeks without spending a penny, and your chances of getting malaria are next to zero.

Bill Bryson A Walk in the WoodsThe Ultimate Travel Library includes classics by Mark Twain, Hemingway, and Henry Miller as well as modern tales from writers like Tim Cahill and Peter Carey (who almost caused me to get a less-than-good grade in a Post-Colonial Writers course a couple of years ago).

I was especially pleased to see that Bill Bryson, the coolest middle-aged man with the loveliest American-British accent you will ever hear, has made the list more than once. His description of cricket in Down Under (titled In a Sunburnt Country for American audiences) helped me to completely forget how exhasuted and carsick I was while taking the bus from Sydney to Canberra, and A Walk in the Woods was so enchanting, I actually took one.

Read, plan, go.
Lisa