Words for the Road: Wellington, NZ.

Words for the Road are dispatches from our Editor-at-Large — an image from her travels paired with a relevant musing in haiku.

This one’s a meta missive from Wellington, New Zealand.

Do you know, my bird
Your legacy here on Earth?
You are immortal

RoadReads: “Tourist Snapshots”

The blue dome of Santorini, reverse view. image via

…..I rearrange the fragments. What was I thinking when I cropped them? Why did I cut the sky-blimp out of my picture of the Chicago World Cup parade? Why did I cut Graceland Mansion out of my picture of Graceland? …Removed from the official photographic memory, the fragments demand an exercise of actual memory, an act of reclamation. They are like phantom limbs: You have to dream the body back into being.

Lucky for Design Observer, Rolf Potts delves deeply into travel vs. photography and what we’re actually doing when we click that digital shutter. (Read it in full here.)

Words for the Road: Haikus on Holiday.

Words for the Road are dispatches from our Editor-at-Large — an image from her travels paired with a relevant musing in haiku.

First up: Nanjing, roadside in Xinjiekou, taken April 3, 2012.

Soft plush restful seats
Better days behind yourself
Return to nature

RoadReads: “The Essential Nature of Islands”

A kayaker floats in El Nido. image via

Paddling one day about ten miles southwest to a headland, I caught sight of an island that had been hidden from my campsite — a new hump of rock where I saw a sandy beach and some huts. A Germanic-looking man in a green bathing suit stood on the beach to welcome me. “Hi,” he said and grabbed my bow line and helped pull my boat to shore.

“Nice kayak,” he said. It was salt-smeared and wet from the long haul from the headland. “Isn’t that the kind of boat Paul Theroux paddled in his travels around the Pacific?”

Being cautious, I said, “You read that book?”

“Oh, yeah. Great book.”

This happens now and then — more often in a remote place like Palawan than in places closer to home.

“I wrote it.”

“Cut the shit.”

Wherever you go, there you are — Paul Theroux gets meta (among other things) in the Philippines for Outside Magazine. (Read it in full here.)

fellow travelers: A Montrealer Abroad.

fellow travelers is our chance to shine a spotlight on greatness from the internet’s travel community. It is not our list of poputchiks. Just some wanderers who we consider outstanding.

La Belle Montreal from AMA’s fab citywalk. all images via

Home and away: you can love both, yknow. A Montrealer Abroad is a perfect example — Marie details her travels and her hometown in easy, conversational pieces accompanied by her gorgeous photography. Like any good traveler, she knows that where you’ve been is only trumped by where you’re going next, so she features her future plans as well as a roundup of her globetrotting thus far. In between, she gives you guides to cities in Canada, Europe and the US: where to go, what to see, and of course, images to dream about.

Seriously, dream. AMA in Brighton, UK.

She even covers cute-animal-photos, like this Catalonian canine.

Her guides for those looking to relocate include real tips like how to budget, find a flat, and use crime maps to understand the lay of the land. And let’s not forget the namesake, the city that started it all: the ins and outs of Montreal from her local perspective are invaluable to those dropping into town for just a short while. So follow her wandering already… weren’t you convinced like 100 words ago?

RoadReads: “Alice in Jungleland”

Alice in central Africa, age six. image via

This was not a garden variety safari. The destination was the Congo, and the journey was difficult, although not for Alice, who was carried most of the way by porters. Later she wrote that “If I dropped something I was quite accustomed to clap my hands and have six large, naked cannibals spring to attention and pick it up for me.”

And that was only the beginning. Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr./Raccoona lived a LIFE. Alex Carnevale tells you all about it for the always-great This Recording. (Read it in full here.)

Book Club: the Atlas of Remote Islands

Simply beautiful book. all images via

I try not to buy books anymore (my library’s size makes moving tricky!) but this is less of a book and more of an art object, a dream piece. The Atlas of Remote Islands is subtitled “Fifty islands I have never set foot on, and never will” — and author Judith Schalansky has compiled verbal snapshots of the farthest-flung places on the planet, that most likely none of us will ever see with our own eyes.

If you are a bookmaker’s nerd, this one is perfectly executed: cool blues and greens of the map with a shocking orange accent. Immaculate typography. It’s fitting that all islands are rendered in cartographic illustration — there’s no photography to distract from the images conjured by your own imagination as you read these stories. Mother’s Day is coming up: give your mom the gift of the most exotic travel one can buy (and house on a bookshelf). You can buy it here.