For unique tastes of travel (38925)
For unique tastes of travel (38924)

I love travel books! And not just because I’m a travel writer. What I really love is that they give you an opportunity to satisfy your wanderlust for near and faraway places in tangible, colorful, sometimes spellbinding paper and prose, each offering their own unique perspectives to pique your interest. Following are a few of the latest guides I’ve found to get you on your way.

Even an idiot can RV

Well, I’m not an idiot, but I could definitely use a little help from “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing” to help fulfill my dream of getting up-close and personal with America’s great roads, cities, sites and attractions via RV.

It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans enjoy the pleasure of RV travel, including a great many African-Americans, some of whom are members of the National African American RV Association. And whether a newbie or a seasoned RV traveler, this guide is a valuable resource. Co-written by a veteran RV writer and editor, avid camper and traveler and a syndicated camping and outdoor recreation columnist, it provides travelers with “everything they need to know to buy, operate and enjoy the RV of their dreams.” It is also a good resource for those interested in renting an RV for a particular sojourn.

Among the tips included are choosing and buying the right RV, negotiating the right price, insurance, camping safety measures, a non-crash course in RV driving and a great deal more.

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing,” 800-788-6262,

How to “wine” in style

For me, traveling in search of great gastronomic adventures includes sampling the wines of the world, so the book “The Advanced Oenophile” definitely caught my eye.

Whether you like to sip now and again, want to elevate your wine knowledge to the next level or would call yourself a bonafide oenophile (a lover or connoisseur of wine), this book by Denman Moody, who has spent more than three decades reviewing and critiquing wine–including as a wine journalist, editor and wine consultant and as the founder of Moody’s Wine Review quarterly in the late 1970s–is for you.

In addition to the black-and-white facts–regions, varietals, etc.–the book also encompasses a wide array of practical information and insights in an educational and entertaining way. Readers will also find wine recommendations for every budget, pairing wine with food and a handful of articles and chapters written by experts in their respective fields.

According to Moody, “While it seems like my book is more appropriate for those who are already into wine, there is plenty of information for novice wine drinkers who want to enjoy a fine bottle of wine. My book shows them how to do that without having to go to Bordeaux or Napa Valley every time.”

“The Advanced Oenophile” is available at or through the author by emailing

Get your kicks on…I-95!

Yep, Interstate 95. As the nation’s longest north-south interstate traversing 1,925 miles and 15 states, and “hosting” an estimated 565 million long-distance trips in excess of 100 miles, I-95 may just be one of the country’s most undervalued and underappreciated highways.

“What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida,” written by Barbara Barnes, “a self-proclaimed road geek and lifelong fan of road trips,” is an entertaining read chock-full of history, trivia, geography and geology tales and tidbits to learn and share. For example, did you know that in Aroostook County, Maine (Milepost 260), more potatoes are grown than in any other part of the country?

How about that along the Pulaski Skyway in New Jersey at approximately Milepost 113, travelers who choose the eastern spur of the turnpike can see, between exits 15W and 16W, a graffiti-marked hill that started 200 million years ago as molten lava that was forced through existing sandstone? And I certainly had no idea that in Charleston, S.C., near Milepost 96, that the U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1826 was the inspiration for the name of the plant “Poinsettia” when he first brought them to the United States.

While travelers may not have time to stop at some of the interesting places mentioned, the guide still acts like its own verbal “rest stop,” enticing passengers to anticipate what’s next and to enjoy fascinating facts during their journey.

“What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida,” 412-487-7177,

The endless summer

Author Larry “Jungle” Shortell had me at hello. “Without a doubt, to travel and learn things firsthand is the best way to understand the world and our place in it. I hope that others can see the possibilities that open up when one lives life by following his or her dreams, fearing the inability to follow one’s passions rather than fearing death,” wrote Shortell.

For a wanderlust-filled girl like me, Shortell’s book, “Summers Off: The Worldwide Adventures of a Schoolteacher,” speaks volumes. For the past 20-plus years, Shortell has taken full advantage of his summers off from his career as a special education teacher, exploring all 50 states, all seven continents, all of the world’s oceans and more than 80 countries. And he has circumnavigated the globe twice–so far!

Some of his adventures are, well, adventurous! He went skydiving in Taupo, New Zealand, the self-proclaimed skydiving capital of the world; enjoyed painful pleasures in Hawaii; and checked out Roman baths of Great Britain, just to name a few.

His sojourns are quirky, inspiring, contemplative and just plain fun, which makes the book a very informative and entertaining read.

“Summers Off: The Worldwide Adventures of a Schoolteacher” is available at or

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for and as a senior travel writer for, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at