The author’s battered copy of “The Best of Outside: The First 20 Years.”
The fifth in an occasional series about the books that spurred our love of travel.
In a way, I envy the single-minded vacationer, one who is all-in on cycling, skiing, golfing, wine tours, fly-fishing, whatever. They are the leisure-travel equivalent of people who choose a career path at age 7 and never waver.
I am the near opposite, an adventure generalist guided only by the broad theme of outdoor play in wild places. So I seize up every time I look at my calendar (and bank balance), wondering how I’ll divvy up each year’s meager allotment of travel days.
But just as there’s a book out there for every imaginable specialist, there’s also one for me — “The Best of Outside: The First 20 Years.” Its 30 articles from the eponymous magazine’s 1977-1997 heyday showcase some of the best adventure writers, literary journalists and essayists of the 20th century: Jim Harrison, Edward Abbey, Jane Smiley, James Salter, Annie Proulx, Bob Shacochis, David Quammen, Kate Wheeler and more.
The stories, which include the original articles that became the best-selling nonfiction books “Into Thin Air” and “The Perfect Storm,” are about so much more than travel…