Traveling isn’t always the easiest, most financially-feasible option for most of us. That’s where great travel writing fills a necessary gap. For armchair travelers, these two new anthologies are a fantastic way to explore the world from the comfort of home—and I’m happy to report I have an essay featured in each. In Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China, Editor and Photographer Tom Carter has brought together an eclectic selection of expat writing about China—everything from the drunken experiences of erguotou tasting, to family trips to the countryside, to teacher-student romances—displaying the true expanse of the expat experience abroad. The Global Times said of Unsavory Elements: “These essays have heart. From Urumqi to Shanghai, these foreign devils just can’t help but smile at what China has taught them.” The South China Morning Post called the book’s essays “Concise and truthful.” Several reviews kindly mention the moving prose of my essay, “Water, For Li-Ming,” including this China Daily article.
Another new and exciting anthology, The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35, includes my essay “Bunking with the Enemy,” a story about sharing a train bunk with the North Korean Youth National Soccer Team. The anthology is beautiful compiled by Editor Asha Veal Brisebois and includes a raucous group of travel stories in such diverse locales as South Sudan and Finland.
Both of these books are published by small, independent publishers; in an era when publishers are increasingly marginalized, purchasing books like these help to support the health of such an important and vibrant industry.