Literary Travel

by Robert Todd Felton /
Robert Todd Felton's picture
Dec 02, 2008 / 2 comments

Passports with a Purpose



No matter how light we pack, we almost always carry our privilege with us.  Our simple presence in a foreign land is a clear sign that we have the means to get there, and, as often is the case, when we carry camera equipment and backpacks worth hundreds of American dollars, that message is doubled.  I struggle with this often -- how do I respectfully witness and document conditions so very different than mine in a way that empowers those I see, or at the very, very least does not take away from their sense of personal grace and humanity?  What is my role as writer and photographer, as fellow human? 

While I have no ready answers to these questions and welcome all perspectives, I do know of a few actions I can take. 

One is to read:  read the perspectives of those who live different lives than me, read the accounts and thoughts of other travelers, read the theories of those who spend their lives thinking about these issues. 

Another is to write. 

A third option is to help provide the funds to help people overcome the challenges set in front of them.   Today, I grabbing that third option and linking up with Passports with a Purpose, a fundraiser run by four travel bloggers in Seattle.  They have set up a December raffle for a series of great prizes offered by a variety of travel bloggers.  They are raising funds for Heifer International 

For my part, I be contributing to Heifer International using the First Giving page set up by Passports with a Purpose.  And, I am offering a bundled three-pack of my books to a lucky raffle winner.  So, go to the First Giving page, make a donation and sign up to win a copy of each of these three books:  


A Journey into Ireland's Literary Revival
From the 1890s until the 1920s, a great tide of literary invention swept Ireland. As the country struggled for political independence, the writers who formed the Irish Literary Revival created a new, authentically Irish literature. Some, such as W. B. Yeats, John Synge, and Lady Gregory, celebrated the mystical tradition of Ireland’s west; others, such as Sean O’Casey, explored Dublin’s crowded streets and tenements.

This fascinating, revealing, and beautiful book examines the relationship between these writers and the towns and countryside that fueled their imaginations. Party history, part biography, and part travel guide, A Journey into Ireland’s Literary Revival takes the reader to Galway, the Aran Islands, Mayo, Sligo, Wicklow, and Dublin. Along the route, it visits the cottages and castles, crags and glens, theaters and pubs where some of the country’s finest writers shaped an enduring vision of Ireland.


This lavishly illustrated volume examines the major figures of the Transcendentalist movement and explores the places that inspired them. Beginning with Transcendentalism’s birth in Boston and Cambridge, the book charts the development of a movement that revolutionized American ideas about the artistic, spiritual, and natural worlds.

At the same time, it creates a vivid sense of New England in the nineteenth century, from its idyllic countryside and sleepy towns to its bustling ports and burgeoning cities. The book is divided geographically into chapters, each focusing on a town or village famous for its relationship to one or more of the Transcendentalists. Thus, for instance, one chapter spotlights Cambridge, where Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered his path-breaking lectures, while another explores Walden, when Henry David Thoreau spent two years attuning himself to the rhythms of nature. Other chapters retrace the paths of writers and poets such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, and Margaret Fuller through Salem, Amherst, Boston, and Concord and the utopian communities of Brook Farm and the Fruitlands.


Boston has a revolutionary history that has established the city as New England’s cultural and historic capital. Here you can experience American history and fresh pasta in the North End, visit the shiny new waterfront and 50-acre greenway post-Big Dig, or wander the cobblestone streets to Henry David Thoreau’s house in Beacon Hill—and it’s all conveniently within walking distance.

This portable guide features detailed maps for each trip, original photos, and public transportation information for every trip. Route summaries make each walk easy to follow, and a “Points of Interest” section summarizes each walk’s highlights.

The 36 walks include trivia about architecture, local culture, and the city’s rich history, plus tips on where to dine, have a drink, and shop.


Robert Todd Felton is the Literary Travels Editor for Wandering Educators.

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