In his new book, Mark Walker reflects on his fifty years of travel miscalculations and disasters and how and why he travels changed over the years, as has who he traveled with. As a young Peace Corps Volunteer with no overseas travel experience, the world was his oyster, and he figured he could go anywhere if he set his mind to it—with little or no money. Then he married a Guatemalan lady and had to think more about “our” needs; then, three children meant additional requirements and responsibilities. And later, as a professional fundraiser, he would set up donor visits to program areas where the organizations he represented needed funds, which meant considering the needs of up to fifteen individuals of all ages, including children and some donors in their 70s and 80s. He’s become a savvier trekker, although he was still prone to the occasional snafu. This book is part of the “Yin & Yang of Travel” series of ten essays” It’s an invaluable portal into the world of timeless travel and what can go wrong.
During the author’s travels and extensive reading, he discovered Moritz Thomsen’s (Ecuador 1965–67) third book, The Saddest Pleasure, whose title originated from a quote in Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963–65) Picture Palace: “Travel is the saddest of the pleasures. It gave me eyes.” This basic supposition inspired him to write his new book and would inform and put the author’s travels into perspective. It also helped him appreciate the miscues, disasters, and disappointments he experienced on the road and made him a better traveler and writer.
Mark was a Peace Corps Volunteer working on fertilizer experiments in Guatemala and spent over forty years helping disadvantaged people in the developing world.
His book, Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond, was published by Peace Corps Writers. According to the Midwest Review, “…is more than just another travel memoir. It is an engaged and engaging story of one man’s physical and spiritual journey of self-discovery.”