Best American Travel Writing (and Best American Crying)

Last Thursday I finally picked up my copy of The Best American Travel Writing, 2011 edition. Which. I’m. In. Or rather, one of my essays is in. (Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!) I’ve known about this for a while, but seeing the book (edited by the wonderful Sloane Crosely) was a whole new deal. I found it in Barnes and Noble the week it came out, and stood in the “Travel” section staring and smiling like a crazy woman on drugs (who really loves travel writing).

After arriving home, I was sitting on the couch showing it to my boyfriend, and I read the back cover:

“Featuring Maureen Dowd and Ariel Levy and Annie Proulx…” I went on, reading these familiar names of writers I love, and then I paused. “‘And others.’ That’s me!” I pointed. “I’m ‘and others.’ Ha! Oh, man alive, is this cool.”

And then, much to my boyfriend’s surprise, I cried for about twenty minutes. “I’m just so excited,” I said, between heavy breaths. He handled it well, saying, “Ok!” enthusiastically, and moved the book to the side of the coffee table, where I wouldn’t get it wet.

3 Comment

  1. Hi Jessica

    I’m an avid reader of Best American Travel Stories (as well as Best American Sports Writing). As a keen orienteer, and fan of good writing, I really liked your essay. My girlfriend (non-orienteer) particularly laughed at the observations on tight, brightly covered lycra, which is also a feature here in Australia

    Using landforms and features rather than a compass or ‘mental mapping’ is not subversive in any way. If you can read the features well you don’t need a compass. Importantly compasses can tell you which direction you’re heading – but they won’t tell you where you are. World championships have been won by people who don’t use a compass: most famously by Finn Pasi Ikonen who navigated across incredibly tricky Finnish forest to victory in 2001.



  2. Paul – How fascinating! Thanks so much for your note and the information. I think you’re essentially saying I’m the next Finn Pasil lkonen–at least that’s how I’m taking this. 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading!


  3. I put on Facebook:
    [Aligning the Internal Compass] Absolutely the best essay from “The Best American Travel Writing 2011”!! Laughed, learned, enjoyed, saw my directionally challenged self and basked in the top-notch writing!

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