Graphic Travelogues

Lucy Knisley is a comic artist, who has created a few graphic novels that are focused on travel, particularly cuisine. The first book I read by her is Relish, which is about her love of food as the daughter of a chef.

Knisley has an appealing, cartoony style that is very easy to digest. Her stories tend to revolve around her relationships with her family and how they impact her trips. French Milk, An Age of License, and Displacement detail her travels either with her family or on her way to family.

My favorite was probably An Age of License, which was about a trip she took to Europe for a book tour and her subsequent travels across the continent to meet up with old flames, friends, and her mother. The trip is integral to her understanding of what she imagines her future to be and how she thinks of herself.

Displacement is also great, but I find the subject matter a little more difficult for me. It details a cruise she takes with her elderly grandparents, who have lost their capacities to live by themselves and their memories.

French Milk is probably her least sophisticated, due to its status as her first published work, but remains very enjoyable nonetheless. It is about her six-week-long stay in Paris with her mother. Knisley details what she had for every meal and documents her growing love of different French delicacies.

Knisley has an eye for food, which she depicts accurately and appealingly. Everything she writes about food comes from someone who truly appreciates the artistry of cooking.

Podcasts and Travel

I always listen to podcasts when I travel. I will listen while I’m waiting, while I’m on the plane, and even while I’m walking around a new city.

I’ve seen travel tips recommending against wearing headphones when in a new place. I can understand what the worry could be, but I find it too cautious. Take a look around you. Are other people wearing headphones? If locals are wearing headphones, I would say that it’s plenty safe for you to listen, too. Still, be aware and cautious.

When I travel by myself, podcasts become a safety blanket. Often, I feel like I know the hosts of my favorite podcasts and emotionally settle into a place that makes an unknown destination knowable. I feel like I’m traveling with a friend.

Favorite Podcasts (And Best Episodes):

  1. Reply All: P.J. Vogt and Alex Goldman explore how the world is influenced by the Internet, and how in turn, the Internet is affected by the World. They find strange and interesting stories that can show how we are all connected in unexpected ways.
    Best Episode(s): #102 & #103 Long Distance, Parts I and II. Alex gets a call from a telephone scammer that leads him on a journey to India, in an attempt to get to the bottom of what kind of company is making these calls.
  2. My Favorite Murder: Karen Kilgarif and Georgia Hardstark narrate true crime stories as though you are at a friend’s sleepover and her cooler older sister and her friend want to spook you.
    Best Episode: #137: Gloogle. Karen recounts the horror movie-scary story of Danny Laplante.
  3. Punch Up the Jame: Miel Bredouw and Demi Adejuyigbe talk about pop songs that could be better and ultimately make their own, to truly make them better.
    Best Episode: #18: In the Air Tonight. There are other episodes with better parody songs, but there is a lot to like about how excited Phil Collins’s masterpiece “In the Air Tonight” makes both hosts.
  4. Thinking Sideways: This is a pleasant podcast about mysteries of all types, covering missing people, murders, urban legends and more. Although it is no longer running, this podcast has a deep catalog. It is hosted by Devon, Steve, and Joe.
    Best Episode: GhostNet. In 2009, a massive cyberspying operation was discovered in the Dalai Lama’s computers. Despite its size, no one knows who created it.
  5. What Really Happened: Andrew Jenks is a compassionate and curious researcher and listener, who wants to understand the true and lesser-known stories behind major headlines.
    Best Episode: Her Brother’s Revenge: The Death of General Custer. Jenks investigates the story of General Custer’s death, hoping to find clarity on who killed him. Jenks wants to reconstruct a narrative that is little heard by white American audiences by referring to the oral traditions of the Northern Cheyenne present at the battle.