TRAVEL WRITERS GONE WILD

Traveling can allow you to experience—if only briefly—a life dramatically removed from your commute-and-TiVo-filled regular existence. Now three adventurous writers have taken this ethos to extremes.

Travel_writers

© Layne Kennedy/CORBIS

Photograph by Layne Kennedy/Corbis

Traveling can allow you to experience—if only briefly—a life dramatically removed from your commute-and-TiVo-filled regular existence. Now three adventurous writers have taken this ethos to extremes. Canadian author Rory MacLean hit the Great Silk Road from Afghanistan to India—following the Birkenstock tracks of thousands of hippies who ventured east in the sixties seeking enlightenment. Magic Bus (Ig Publishing, $15) chronicles his encounters with burned-out flower children and natives nostalgic for the pre-Lonely Planet days. Chris Ayres, a Brit, couldn't have ended up farther from Siddhartha's homeland. In Death by Leisure (Grove Press, $24), he crashes Michael Jackson's Neverland birthday party before crumbling under the high cost of the hedonistic Hollywood life. Best of all is David Grann's The Lost City of Z (Doubleday, $27.50), in which the New Yorker writer retraces the footsteps of the last great Victorian explorer, Colonel Percy Fawcett, who mysteriously disappeared during a 1925 expedition in search of an ancient Amazonian civilization. Grann escapes death and tracks down Z, giving the reader the kind of Indiana Jones kicks best experienced vicariously. Timothy Hodler

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