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Armchair travel

Few of us actually undertake the ultimate journey—a trip around the world. But all of us can experience the fun, adventure, and surprises of a journey to faraway places.

Around the world in 100 days
Gary Blackwood.
New York : Dutton Children's Books, c2010.
Picking up where Around the World in Eighty Days left off, Harry Fogg, the son of Phileas Fogg, has just made a wager of his own. Harry bets that he can drive a steam-powered motorcar all the way around the world in only 100 days. Racing off with three companions, Harry undertakes a grueling journey that will pit him against flash fires, marauders, and even sabotage from within. In the tradition of the Jules Verne classic, this is one historical adventure that will have you racing to the finish!
     
1,000 places to see before you die
by Patricia Schultz.
New York : Workman Pub., 2010.
Around the World, continent by continent, here is the best the world has to offer: 1,000 places guaranteed to give travelers the shivers. Sacred ruins, grand hotels, wildlife preserves, hilltop villages, snack shacks, castles, festivals, reefs, restaurants, cathedrals, hidden islands, opera houses, museums, and more. Each entry tells exactly why it's essential to visit. Then come the nuts and bolts: addresses, websites, phone and fax numbers, best times to visit. Stop dreaming and get going.
     
The discovery of Jeanne Baret : a story of science, the high seas, and the first woman to circumnavigate the globe
Glynis Ridley.
New York : Crown Publishers, c2010.
The year was 1765. Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the ships' official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources-medicines, spices, timber, food-that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire.   Jeanne Baret, Commerson's young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant. The journey made the twenty-six-year-old, known to her shipmates as "Jean" rather than "Jeanne," the first woman to ever sail around the globe. Yet so little is known about this extraordinary woman, whose accomplishments were considered to be subversive, even impossible for someone of her sex and class.             When the ships made landfall and the secret lovers disembarked to explore, Baret carried heavy wooden field presses and bulky optical instruments over beaches and hills, impressing observers on the ships' decks with her obvious strength and stamina. Less obvious were the strips of linen wound tight around her upper body and the months she had spent perfecting her masculine disguise in the streets and marketplaces of Paris.             Expedition commander Louis-Antoine de Bougainville recorded in his journal that curious Tahitian natives exposed Baret as a woman, eighteen months into the voyage. But the true story, it turns out, is more complicated.   InThe Discovery of Jeanne Baret,Glynis Ridley unravels the conflicting accounts recorded by Baret's crewmates to piece together the real story: how Baret's identity was in fact widely suspected within just a couple of weeks of embarking, and the painful consequences of those suspicions; the newly discovered notebook, written in Baret's own hand, that proves her scientific acumen; and the thousands of specimens she collected, most famously the showy vine bougainvillea.   Ridley also richly explores Baret's awkward, sometimes dangerous interactions with the men on the ship, including Baret's lover, the obsessive and sometimes prickly naturalist; a fashion-plate prince who, with his elaborate wigs and velvet garments, was often mistaken for a woman himself; the sour ship's surgeon, who despised Baret and Commerson; even a Tahitian islander who joined the expedition and asked Baret to show him how to behave like a Frenchman.   But the central character of this true story is Jeanne Baret herself, a working-class woman whose scientific contributions were quietly dismissed and written out of history-until now. Anchored in impeccable original research and bursting with unforgettable characters and exotic settings,The Discovery of Jeanne Baretoffers this forgotten heroine a chance to bloom at long last.
     
True spirit : the true story of a 16-year-old Australian who sailed solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the world
Jessica Watson.
New York : Atria Paperback, 2010.
"True Spirit" is Jessica Watson's own account of becoming, at just sixteen, the youngest person to ever sail solo, non-stop and unassisted the world.
     
The hard way around : the passages of Joshua Slocum
Geoffrey Wolff.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
A masterful biographer now offers a thrilling, definitive portrait of one of history’s most legendary icons of adventure.

In 1860, sixteen-year-old Joshua Slocum escaped a hardscrabble childhood in Nova Scotia by signing on as an ordinary seaman to a merchant ship bound for Dublin. Despite having only a third-grade education, Slocum rose through the nautical ranks at a mercurial pace; just a decade later he was commander of his own ship. His subsequent journeys took him nearly everywhere: Liverpool, China, Japan, Cape Horn, the Dutch East Indies, Manila, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, San Francisco, and Australia—where he met and married his first wife, Virginia, who would sail along with him for the rest of her life, bearing and raising their children at sea. He commanded eight vessels and owned four, enduring hurricanes, shipwrecks, pirate attacks, cholera, smallpox, a mutiny, and the death of his wife and three of his children. Yet his ultimate adventure and crowning glory was still to come.

In 1895 Slocum set sail from Gloucester, Massachusetts—by himself—in theSpray,a small sloop of thirty-seven feet. More than three years and forty-six thousand miles later, he became the first man to circumnavigate the globe solo, a feat that wouldn’t be replicated until 1925. His account of that voyage,Sailing Alone Around the World, soon made him internationally famous. He met President Theodore Roosevelt on several occasions and became a presence on the lecture circuit, selling his sea-saga books whenever and wherever he could. But scandal soon followed, and a decade later, with his finances failing, he set off alone once more—and was never seen again.

Geoffrey Wolff captures this singular life and its flamboyant times—from the Golden Age of Sail to a shockingly different new century—in vivid, fascinating detail.


From the Hardcover edition.
     

Phileas Fogg was one of the first to invite armchair travelers on a worldwide journey.

In Jules Vernes’ novel, Around the World in 80 Days, fictional character Fogg and his manservant Passepartout travel around the world in 1872 to win a bet. Adventure finds them at every stop.  Not halfway through their journey Passepartout recounts for the furtive Mr. Fix:

"The affair at the Bombay pagoda, the purchase of the elephant for two thousand pounds, the rescue, the arrest and sentence of the Calcutta court, and the restoration of Mr. Fogg and himself to liberty on bail." (p. 127)

Like Fix, all who read of these exploits are there in spirit if not fact.

More adventures await the armchair traveler who joins real-life travelers exploring the world.

More about Verne's adventures

Discover the world with Captain James Cook

Author Hammond Innes’ portrayal of Captain James Cook’s voyages uses a fictionalized, but historically accurate, diary to bring to life the hardships and dangers faced during his final Pacific voyage:

"The condition of the masts...is causing us all great concern... After getting the Main rigging up on the 11th, we next day attempted to get the Mizenmast out, but it was so rotten it fell while the mast was in the slings." (p. 171 of Last voyage: Captain Cook's lost diary)

If sailing is not your idea of adventure, consider joining the men who cranked up the 1911 Hupmobile called the Little Corporal and hit the road. You get to see all the sights and meet all the people along the way.  But bring warm clothes. The car had no top or windshield. 

'Three men in Hupp' go round the world by automobile, 1910-12

(p. 167) ‘Hupp’s global envoys were determined to be the first to drive a motor car up to the Sphinx and the Pyramids…Determined to drive to the Spinx’s ear…the car bucked into the sand in which a person walking would sink to his ankles and came to a halt on the brink of the pit in which the wonderful old sphinx is located."

More exploits chronicling travels by foot, air and now space provide stories too good to miss.

So, pull up your favorite arm chair, put your feet up and get ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff