Travel Notes: 22 Thousand Miles Across the Americas

Christoph Bangert, Author
Christoph Bangert, Author powerHouse Books $35 (173p) ISBN 978-1-57687-333-5
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Leaving gloomy German winter behind, photojournalism student Bangert-who would later cover the war in Iraq for the New York Times-set off for Buenos Aires in 2002 to kick off a six-month-long solo road trip through South, Latin and North America in an imported Land Rover. Beginning with the hard part-""The most difficult thing about traveling is to start it""-Bangert chronicles his entire trip in journal entries and photos, taking readers through Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, New York City and points in between. A book that only a young person with a solid grasp of automotive repair could write, Bangert's travelogue is appropriately unpolished, his richly reproduced photographs printed on heavy, matte-finish paper and layered scrapbook-style with camping permits, grubby notes and other souvenirs. In addition to desert vistas, dusty little towns, jungle roads and sprawling cityscapes, Bangert captures schoolchildren and dogs, farmers and performers, religious observances and political demonstrations. Journal entries are short and animated, revealing both exhilaration and uncertainty as the burgeoning photographer explores his talent, ""slowly discovers why I'm here"" and tries to put ""all my energy into being at the right place at the right time."" Readers interested in journeys of any kind will appreciate this colorful jaunt through three continents with a likable young artist discovering his craft.
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