Journey Man: A World Calling

William Claassen. Cornel & Williams, $17.95 paper (276p) ISBN 978-0-615-60848-8
In this extensive globetrotting memoir, Claassen charts the course of his explorations of a myriad of cultures while providing a host of colorful anecdotes. This self-described "global village project" of an odyssey spans three decades' worth of travels in nine countries and the narrator's evolution throughout his pilgrimages and spiritual rebirths. "I owe my existence to the natural world that surrounds me!" he reminds us. "It is so obvious and yet so easy to forget." Not for the casual tourist, Claassen is drawn to challenging situations that involve incorporating himself into a tight-knit foreign community, surviving confrontations in conflict areas, or breaking down the barriers of a culture or language to effectively communicate and learn from the people. Ever conscious of the reader, he continuously provides background facts and texts to support the events of his episodes. Beginning his journey in an Israeli Kibbutz, he continues onto a cross-country hitchhiking trip from New York to Alaska, arriving in the midst of a revolution in Nicaragua, and surviving a deadly earthquake in El Salvador. The second part of Claassen's anthology is devoted to various spiritual practices as he learns from such guides as the Mayan healers in Guatemala, the whirling dervishes of Turkey, and the Zen monks of Japan. Though at times his narratives include more factual detail than personal, Claassen wholeheartedly delves into cultures, and his collection of adventures will satisfy any reader interested in a spiritual retreat or a distinctive traveling experience.
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Release date: 08/01/2012
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