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Podthoughts: Excess Baggage

Vital stats:
Format: talk with travelers, and talk while traveling
Episode duration: ~28m
Frequency: not a going concern, but 85 episodes exist

Cultural England seems to have always loved a traveler. Perhaps this affinity lingers from the days of Empire, or maybe an island people instinctively understand wanderlust. Just behold the gallery of luminaries that is Wikipedia’s English travel writers page. If its seemingly broad definition of “travel writer” bothers you, any designation that encompasses the likes of Geoff Dyer, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Pico Iyer, Michael Palin, and Evelyn Waugh can’t go far wrong. None of them seem freighted with the same burdens which Sisyphize many of the unfortunates we regard as travel writers in America, haphazardly collecting a third of the information they need in half the time they need so as to make the word count for an “If You Go…” box. Something tells me Colin Thubron never put up with that.

A traveler like Thubron, of course, deals with challenges all his own, and you can hear about them on BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage [RSS] [iTunes]. He shows up to discuss his journey up a Tibetan mountain so sacred that the truly faithful can never ascend; they just sort of go around and around the base. [MP3] Such a story could almost have come ripped from the diary of any of the Empire’s finest, but Excess Baggage as a whole attempts to cover a width of the traveling spectrum between these forcefully soul-searching Thubronic adventures to, say, the lure of moonlight [MP3], or knitting in Iceland [MP3].

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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