Clift publishes collected travel tales

BELLOWS FALLS — “All my life I have disagreed with David Henry Thoreau: Unlike him, I definitely think it is 'worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.'”

Thus begins writer Elayne Clift's 13th book, Around the World in Fifty Years: Travel Tales of a Not So Innocent Abroad, a collection of selected stories about her global travels told in prose and poetry.

Clift, an intrepid traveler who has visited almost 100 countries on every continent except Antarctica for both work and pleasure, says she caught the travel bug as a youngster when her family took annual summer trips to Canada to visit relatives.

“That was in the days before interstate highways and Holiday Inns,” she recalls. “We traveled scenic roads in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, staying in AAA-approved motels and eating breakfast in Howard Johnsons. There was always a stop in Niagara Falls for a ride on the Maid of the Mist, and a room at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. It was pure heaven.”

Clift's travel memoir is not a Fodor's Guide. It shares personal stories, vignettes, photographs, and postscripts that “range from poignant to hilarious,” according to a news release.

There are scenes from Indian railway stations to rural Romanian villages. Along the way, readers meet the people who made her travel special, ranging from a professor in Jordan to a desert driver in Dubai to an elderly artist in France.

One reviewer has called the book “a treasure of armchair travel.”

A popular writing workshop leader and lecturer, Clift is widely published internationally. Her columns appear regularly in two New England newspapers and on various blogs, and her stories, poetry, travel writing, and essays have frequently been anthologized.

Her novel, Hester's Daughters, based on The Scarlet Letter, appeared in 2012 and her third short story collection, Children of the Chalet, received the Award for Excellence in Fiction from Greyden Press in 2014.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates