Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World

Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World

by Seth Stevenson
     
 

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An eye-opening and fascinating journey from an acclaimed travel writer who circled the globe without ever leaving the ground.

In this age of globalism and high-speed travel, Seth Stevenson, the witty, thoughtful Slate travel columnist, takes us back to a time when travel meant putting one foot in front of the other, racing to make connections

Overview

An eye-opening and fascinating journey from an acclaimed travel writer who circled the globe without ever leaving the ground.

In this age of globalism and high-speed travel, Seth Stevenson, the witty, thoughtful Slate travel columnist, takes us back to a time when travel meant putting one foot in front of the other, racing to make connections between trains and buses in remote transit stations, and wading through the chaos that most long-haul travelers float 35,000 feet above. Stevenson winds his way around the world by biking, walking, hiking, riding in rickshaws, freight ships, cruise ships, ancient ferries, buses, and the Trans-Siberian Railway-but never gets on an airplane.

He finds that from the ground, one sees the world anew-with a deeper understanding of time, distance, and the vastness of the earth. In this sensational travelogue, each step of the journey is an adventure, full of unexpected revelations in every new port, at every bend in the railroad tracks, and around every street corner.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Stevenson, the travel columnist for Slate, and his lady friend, Rebecca, set out to create their own amazing journey by planning a trip around the world without getting on an airplane. Sounds positively Phileas Foggish, doesn't it? But that's the delight of the book. Just as Jules Verne's fictional Fogg encountered setbacks that forced him to make snap decisions in order to complete his 80-day trip, Stevenson and Rebecca are reminded constantly that airplane travel—as lousy as it might be—is still the fastest way to get from point A to point B. Stevenson's writing is full of charm and humor, and he knows just the right phrase to use when he believes his Estonian ferry is destined for Davy Jones's Locker. VERDICT In an age when everything has to be done yesterday, it's nice to know that there are still people wandering the globe who feel that getting somewhere could be more than half the fun. A delightful purchase for the travel collections of public libraries, and a visit from Stevenson and Rebecca would make for one heck of a program.—Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
Kirkus Reviews
An anemic travelogue from a Slate contributor. To counteract their ennui, Stevenson and his girlfriend decided to travel the globe without the use of air travel. The conceit begins auspiciously but descends quickly into superficiality. Early on, a thick Atlantic fog enshrouds the cargo freighter on which he's billeted, leaving the author literally sense-deprived. This is boredom made manifest, but Stevenson deftly sketches a redolent scene of wet fog falling against his face and waves slapping the ship's hull. One evocative sentence, well-timed and piercing, accomplishes what the book as a whole fails to-awakening an almost physical sense of wonder amid monotony. The majority of the narrative reads like a glorified blog, characterized by thin characterizations, superficial observations and glib conclusions. Stevenson is an undisciplined tour guide, prone to snarky parenthetical jabs and unwilling to treat those he meets as fully formed individuals. English-speaking foreigners speak in a belittling dialect when the author bothers to record their dialogue-he eschews interviews for impressions-and even his girlfriend is underdeveloped. The author recounts a journey through a cartoon-bright, noisy and flat, with one flat image continually replaced by the next one. Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to Antwerp to Tallinn to Fushiki to Beijing to Hanoi to Bangkok to Singapore to Brisbane to Los Angeles-small wonder that at the book's conclusion, Stevenson is back where he began, in an apartment lease, back at the same bars and restaurants, stupefied by routine and comfort. He never really left. A limitless world squeezed through a limited scope. Disappointing. First serial to Slate. Agent: ZoePagnamenta/Zoe Pagnamenta Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594484421
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/06/2010
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Seth Stevenson, is a contributing writer for Slate. His work has appeared in the New York Times, New York magazine, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and other publications. He is the winner of the 2005 Online Journalism Award for commentary.

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