Traveling through a foreign land is inherently fraught with mystery and excitement. (Remember when we accidentally ordered the boar’s snout!?) But traveling as a young person–a child, a student or even a 40-year-old yet woefully naive American–always leads to the best stories.
In Lonely Planet’s new anthology, An Innocent Abroad, 35 renowned writers share their most interesting tales of youth and adventure.
Some stories detail lessons learned. Ann Patchett reminisces about traveling through Europe in her twenties and being temporarily convinced by a worldly Parisian waitress to get a tattoo. Patchett was seriously considering going under the needle when she found herself stopped at a Northern Ireland checkpoint by a young boy with a very large tattoo and an even larger gun. (Needless to say, she returned to the States un-inked.)
Other stories tell of danger–the time Richard Ford’s car was mobbed by Moroccan locals wanting to sell him hashish, the time Alexander McCall Smith unknowingly befriended a murderer in Swaziland. And others of fortuitous discovery–David Baldacci’s inadvertent run-in with relatives in Tuscany, Cheryl Strayed’s newfound love of Andorra, a country she didn’t know existed until she was sent there on a writing assignment.
Even if you’re not traveling much beyond your sofa this holiday season, it’s a worthwhile read for all the daydreamers among us.