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The New YorkerNot all parents would hang off the deck of a houseboat in Borneo to check for swimming pythons or rent anti-leech socks for a walk in a rhino sanctuary in Vietnam. But the environmental reporter Daniel Glick, trying to regain his balance after his divorce and his older brother's death, did just that in a trip around the world with his teen-age son and nine-year-old daughter. In Monkey Dancing, Glick introduces endangered species and places to his children, who had been "raised on flashes of music videos and DSL Internet downloads." Glick's journalistic background informs his odyssey with a sense of scholarly urgency; "Dad," his son asks, "have many things gone extinct in your lifetime?" The trip has some of the typical trials of a family vacation -- a flat tire in Bali, bickering in Kathmandu -- although even the most dangerous encounters are leavened by Glick's mordant sense of humor: "The kids returned, uneaten."
Mark Jacobson also embarks on "a grand, somewhat nutty gesture," a three-month-long circumnavigation of the globe with his wife and three kids. In the forthcoming 12,000 Miles In The Nick Of Time, Jacobson has his own version of the traveller's gung-ho attitude: "We'd come all this way to escape the enveloping ersatz of the fetid American experience . . . to be at one with The Real. And we were going to partake of that real, goddammit." Like Glick, he wants his children to learn from the world's unpredictability. Caught on the Ganges at the start of the monsoon season, Jacobson presses on, convinced that a circumnavigation only succeeds through forward motion. "Like Moses," he writes, "I would lead my children from pop bondage."