Patagonian Road: A Year Alone Through Latin America

Santa Fe Writer's Project. May 2017. 350p. maps. ISBN 9781939650542. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781939650566. TRAV
Debut author McCahill measures her yearlong memoir on the Patagonian Road in seasons and countries. We follow her through markets, on buses, in hostels, barrios, brothels, streets, and mountains, as she simultaneously captures the solitude as well as the wonder of the path. McCahill takes a similar route to Paul Theroux's 1979 travelog The Old Patagonian Express. But where Theroux is confined to the rails—no immersion—McCahill plunges in, body and soul. Although this road has been trodden, the author's journey and insights, as she explores (and teaches) her way from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, have a presence and immediacy. She struggles candidly with fears, identity, love, vulnerability, homesickness, and road weariness, but is also open to the perspective "the moment" can bring. She considers the reciprocity between traveler and local; the inward exploration of self that travel delivers; the connectedness to our surroundings; and reawakening our senses.
VERDICT This welcome (and timely) call to explore foreign borders as well as our own comfort zones is highly recommended.
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