Tony Hiss on Ten Books and a Movie That Evoke "Deep Travel"
Each of the following were valuable and enriching guides for me while I was writing In Motion and exploring Deep Travel--my expression for that revelatory sense of wonder and amazement that lets you discover something altogether new even in an old familiar place.
- A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor: Thought by many to be the greatest travel writer of our time and by others to be the greatest travel writer of all times, Fermor’s story of his walk as a teenager across the peaceful Europe that was about to be consumed by the Second World War is a haunting and poetic narrative of great power.
- Mani by Patrick Leigh Fermor: A post-war book by the same wonderful author, who this time seeks out the most inaccessible landscapes and villages of southernmost Greece. Beautifully observed and felt; among many treasures is Fermor’s page-long, single-sentence description of the air in Greece.
- The Head Trip by Jeff Warren: An exciting, entertaining and authoritative look at the modern science of consciousness, with an insightful chapter on the "SMR"--the sensorimotor rhythm of the brain, which is the physical manifestation of our wider awareness.
- My Khyber Marriage by Morag Murray Abdullah: An unknown classic. Morag Murray was a conventional young Scottish woman who married an Afghan prince during the First World War and left her sheltered life behind forever. A fascinating look at the transformative power of unexpected circumstances.
- The Dance of Life by Edward T. Hall: A favorite author of mine, who spent a lifetime closely observing human behavior. In this book, this brilliant sociologist shows how time can extend indefinitely, bringing us into a longer "now."
- The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: One of the most celebrated novels of the 20th century. Although his subject is the disappearance of pre-First World War Europe, Mann, the Nobel Prize winner, pleads with his readers to keep "our sense of time" awake so that none of us will not have to live through "paltry, bare, featherweight years."
- Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Tahir Shah: Rollicking and exuberant and full of insight, Shah recounts his year as a student to an Indian magician, a mysterious and forbidding man who believed in always keeping one eye on the detail, and the other on "the entire picture."
- Ceremonial Time by John Hanson Mitchell: Without leaving his small town outside of Boston, Mitchell is able to resurrect the 15,000-year-old reality of the place, as it emerged from glacial times and became a beloved home to Native Americans. Mitchell moves through only a single square mile of space but glides back and forth through the millennia--and it's a magical journey.
- Adventures in Afghanistan by Louis Palmer: Sixty years after Morag Murray, Palmer visits war-torn Afghanistan with the freedom fighters, and visits remote monasteries, hidden palaces, healing springs, and other startling treasures that seem like real-life continuations of the Arabian Nights.
- Encountering the World by Edward S. Reed: A totally original synthesis of modern psychology and philosophy. Reed, who died much too young at age 42, convincingly places awareness at the center of all mental and cognitive ability. A masterpiece.
- I Know Where I’m Going!, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: A lovely movie about a headstrong young woman (a marvelous Wendy Hiller) on her way to marry the wrong man. Suddenly stranded on a Scottish island, she awakens to everything she’s been missing and finds her true love and, more importantly, her true self.