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 bestselling nonfiction books “Into Thin Air” and “The Perfect Storm,” are about so much more than travel.