- FINALLY! A Travel Collection Written Exclusively by Young Adults -
For young, modern travelers, today’s options have clearly expanded. That’s why my college housemate and I set off to Vietnam in 2004, two days after graduation, as part of a small, amateur film crew researching the emotional effects of war. More than any other, this trip got me thinking about travel and our wider peer group, and how we are at the heart of a generation more likely than any before to possess a passport, to have studied or worked abroad in multiple locations, and to have traveled to multiple countries—multiple continents—before reaching even our 30th year.
Today, so many young adults are traveling to countries such as South Africa to study public health, and Cuba to research arts and culture. They are joining in to blog from the Jeudi Noir demonstrations in Paris, and spending lunch breaks in Tuscany teaching Italian to immigrant factory workers from Senegal. These are the types of travel experiences shared with me by my wide network of twenty-something and early-thirties friends, demonstrating the distinct perspective from which our generation has learned to engage the global community of an increasingly small world.
In many ways, we are a constructive, diverse, and increasingly aware generation, determined to shed the “Ugly American” stereotype in exchange for a more open mentality.
So now, in The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travelers Under 35, the focus is on creative-nonfiction accounts of travel that show exactly where on the map our peer group has gone so far, and the distinctive niche of experiences that define us. This book will draw young readers through its vivid and transportive stories, told by some of the most adventurous and insightful of our group’s literary and storyteller peers.
We're collecting narratives like:
“Monday Morning ” A Haitian-American school teacher’s reportage from Bafang, Cameroon, of a day spent dodging machete blades and hiding from the angry mob that terrorized her campus after a controversial election
“Agato” A Japanese New Yorker’s tale of one year spent tending bar at her aunt’s Tokyo nightclub and learning about the private lives and secrets of her mother’s extended family
“Local” A Chicago native’s true story of four days spent stuck on a boat on the Amazon River, after the annual folkloric festival in Parintins
“Pushing Everest” An asthmatic hedge fund analyst's strident portrayal of his month-long trek from Kathmandu to climbing Everest
This book is unique and one-of-a-kind in offering:
Writers 35 and Under –
Mirroring the group’s values, this book offers a peer-written collection of energetic and sophisticated, accessible and unpretentious, original nonfiction that portrays contemporary snapshots across the globe—while also creating an image of a generation. The book also presents a range of hilarious, poignant, adventurous, and insightful views into cultures and experiences perhaps far removed from a reader’s own, but told through narrators to whom the reader can relate. This is the opposite from books that feature writing by older adults, memoirs from experiences several decades past, or even media reports. All of the stories challenge conventional tourism.
Through storytelling, the book conjures the diversity of excitement, dreams, and encounters that young people are searching for in their own lives. The book aims not only to resonate with young travelers who have already begun to make their way far out into the world, but to also feed the less-traveled, who are eager and dreaming of their own turn to see new places and people. The book offers a powerful sampling of the unique experiences out there in the world for the taking.
OUR WORK SO FAR
We are currently in the process of collecting submissions and early edits, with the book set for release in January 2013. Our preliminary cover art (subject to change) is shown in the mock-up photos and stand-alone art below, and two editors have been assigned to work on the project. We are also working to secure a guest forward by a known writer.
In our work plan, the book will ultimately consist of approximately 300 pages divided into three long sections and one short section, grouped together by story theme.
The line-up will include a wide range of creative nonfiction selections, including: family memoir, literary journalism, personal essay, profile, ethnography, interviews, oral history, and more. This project is not only choosing narratives based on the strength of the storytelling and writing, but also individual fit and function within the book overall, to create a full experience.
It is our goal that by the end of the book, readers will have traveled from the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to a literal hole in the ground in the former battlegrounds of Southeast Asia, and more. Readers will move through secondary journeys, exploring issues of family, determination, history, fear, politics, joy, humanity, hate, and love.
The $3,500 raised through the Kickstarter campaign will go toward covering the full project cost of the book—this includes paying for art, design, an associate editor, production set-up, and publishing identifiers. We’d love to exceed this goal, in order to be able to increase the payment amount awarded to each of the book’s contributing writers, and also to help with the book’s first print run.
Thanks in advance for your support! Keep up with us at:
art by Mikael Nybom - Getty Images; song "Black Malt" by Sarah Schachner - Vimeo Music Store; Jeudi Noir photo by Nico M - Flickr
Heck yes! Especially (as Sinatra would say...) if you are among the very young at heart.
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