Traveling…Reluctantly

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on August 23, 2010

in Travel

Kayser snoozes through a safari.

Keyser snoozes through a safari.

Guest Blogger: Maggy Bruzelius

Jay Keyser, MIT linguistics and philosophy professor emeritus, has traveled the world reluctantly. His new book, I Married a Travel Junkie, describes with good humor why he has continued to travel and experience exotic places despite his reluctance. (Love, naturally.)

His adventures include enduring mock charges of lionesses, snorkeling in Lake Malawi rife with the bilharzias parasite, sighting an aardvark, sailing in a felucca in Egypt, and perfecting his technique dealing with baksheesh seekers. Readers will find his travel tales endearing and will also learn some things about his childhood and his marriage.

After walking in the bush in Zambia at the South Luangwa River National Park, he wrote:

“I think this was the first time in my life that I have ever confronted real fear, not the fear that knots your stomach when you’re a kid and you realize you are going to have to fight somebody because they called you “a son of a bitch.” (In my neighborhood any slight against one’s mother had to be avenged.) This was fear mixed with a healthy dose of anger. I had been telling my companions and the guides and Nancy that it was absolutely crazy to go looking for lions, especially on foot. What was the point? Everybody knows what a lion looks like. And when it is chest-high looking right back at you, there better be a bunch of bars in between. Why couldn’t they see that? The more I complained, the more sympathetic their smiles. It was maddening.

My companions were unconvinced. “Jay is really a hoot, isn’t he?” they would say patronizingly. “Afraid to go looking for lions. I’ll bet he never goes out after 10 p.m.”

“I talked and talked and tried my best to get Nancy to abandon this foolishness….So it came to this. The lions roared. And, instead of panic, I felt fear, anger and then, just as suddenly, a sense of beatific ease.”

Copies are available on Amazon.com but only in a Kindle edition, perfect to take with you when you travel or you can get a paperback copy at the Harvard Book Store!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beth Keyser August 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I also read the book and laughed out loud so many times that I had to stop and read the passages to my husband, who in turn thoroughly enjoyed them. What fun it was for this reluctant traveler to see the world from the safety of my living room. Thanks for your bravery and wonderfully entertaining book.

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