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An American Traveler comprises more than a dozen essays by former fishing guide and best-selling novelist Randy Wayne White.

 

White, creator of the Doc Ford eco-thriller series, has produced an eclectic mix of pieces with a singular, driving theme: A so-called "safe" sedentary life is as predacious as slow cancer. In this book, White demonstrates by example that the fun, the drama, the craziness of exploration -- internal and external -- is a singularly important part of the human experience. White dives with great white sharks in South Africa, but his love and concern for his two sons, who are traveling with him, generates powerful and subtle undertones that carry throughout the book, and makes this far more than a collection of travel-adventure narratives.

White hangs out in Australia with the Crocodile Hunter, he writes about the late Peter Blake and the New Zealand sailing team, he jogs the Mayan ruins of Guatemala, and he battles insects in his backyard garden. He's the lead sledder for an entry in the US toboggan championships, he explores Vietnam (and gets lost jogging in Hanoi) -- and just as powerfully explores what it's like to reach middle age.