“In the 1970s, for the first time, it became possible for responsible, middle-class 20-somethings to work for a few years and gather enough cash to spend the next few years wandering the world. In 1971, together with her newly acquired husband Tom, Katie Lang-Slattery hits the road in a Volkswagen microbus with no destination in mind other than somewhere farther down the road. After the first tentative forays around the USA, they head south of the border to Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, followed by Spain, North Africa and a grand tour of Europe, and ultimately east, across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and a complete circuit of India, a journey that would be impossible today. Based on letters Katie wrote back home at the time, sketches, fragments of memories and prices noted diligently in Tom’s notebook, Wherever the Road Leads is a fond and evocative recollection of a world that has changed beyond all recognition. It’s not all roses and gilded sunsets but a heartfelt and sinewy account, full of fragrant moments as they roam free, laying down a bed of memories to treasure and share half a century on.”
“To travel the world in a Volkswagen van is a dream of many travelers. This account of a young couple who did just that will spark wanderlust and make you ponder the possibilities of hitting the open road. A remarkable adventure and a delightful read.”
"We drove through a landscape transformed by billows of white—cabbages buried under snow, wet haystacks resembling fat men in black with white top hats, and frosted farm buildings."
In a whirlwind of two years, an artist named Katie and an engineer named Tom—newlyweds anxious to meet the challenges of life and marriage—cross countries and span continents on the adventure of a lifetime. They journey forth in a Volkswagen microbus known as The Turtle that has been redesigned to accommodate long months on the road. Spending days on end in exotic campgrounds in Mexico, Panama, Spain, France, and throughout the rest of Europe, Tom and Katie encounter the joys and frustrations of marriage, tackle culture shocks and linguistic barriers, and embrace life and adventure during a seemingly simpler time in modern history. With only maps, a plan, a budget, and each other, Tom and Katie fulfill their passion for travel and set the stage for a lifetime of globe-trotting that transforms after they park their vehicle, begin a family, develop new means of transportation, and take on new adventures.
In clear, rich, personal prose and accompanied by detailed sketches, maps, and blueprints, the author opens to readers one of the most intimate periods of her life. This book explores the rich cultures of mainstream travel destinations while also celebrating the bucolic settings of countries like Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro) and Afghanistan. In heartwarming portrayals of locals willing to help strangers and a young couple ready to learn the nuances of a variety of cultures, this work debunks the myths and stereotypes surrounding "nomadic" travel, unfriendly local populations, and “the ugly American” often associated with trips that are not reliant on traditional tourism methods. By fusing the insight of Katya Cengel’s From Chernobyl with Love and the philosophical observance of Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, this book is guaranteed enjoyment for readers of travel essays and travel-focused literature.
Nicole Yurcaba, Ukrainian-American poet, essayist and reviewer for US Review of Books, RECOMMENDED Review