Books

Joanna Biggar and Linda Watanabe McFerrin have served as editors, instructors, and workshop leaders on nine journeys, each culminating in an anthology of stories and poems that lace together interwoven tales of a special place.

Wandering in Andalusia — The Soul of Southern Spain
(Wanderland Writers, 2016)

In many ways, Andalusia, situated as it is, at the southern boundary of the Iberian Peninsula, is a crossroads, a caravansary where settlers from northern Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East have left their mark. Our writers went from Córdoba to Málaga, from Granada and its Alhambra to Cadíz to bring back stories of cities, rivers, coasts, plains, food, spirit and passion. All embarked upon new roads of discovery, and all were well rewarded in their investigations. These, after all, are the landscapes that inspired Cervantes, Lorca, Machado, Navarro, Unamuno, Hemingway, Conrad and Menocal.

In the words of poet and rock idol, Jim Morrison, “Andalusia with fields ripe with grain, I want to see you again and again.”

“Wandering in Andalusia’s enchanting collection of travel tales illuminates the region’s history, traditions, and myriad attractions. It’s the perfect companion for your next visit to Spain.”
— Christi Phillips, Author of The Rosetti Letter and The Devlin Diary

“To change ourselves, we must give ourselves away. The glass we hold cannot be filled until it is first emptied. In Andalusia, we yield ourselves to an irresistible and cumulative beauty, just as we do in love. And the life we then can lead, with reborn and unbound hopes, follows a trajectory of dedication and understanding.
— Steven Nightingale, Author of Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God and The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace

Order Wandering in Andalusia from Book Passage or Amazon.

 

CornwallWandering in Cornwall — Mystery, Mirth and Transformation in the Land of the Ancient Celts
(Wanderland Writers, 2015)

This time Wanderland Writers venture deep into Cornwall, exploring its castles, its contrast. They find, of course, its legacy of Camelot, the lingering shadows of Arthurian legend, tragic love, magic, and Merlin. They also find its sorrows, buried deep in its history like the now closed mines, where the windswept moors and jagged coasts made everyday events of shipwrecks, isolation, cave-ins.

Yet, that is not the whole story. They also encounter the wonderful and hospitable Cornish, with their enchanting accents, their delightful yarns, their humor, their endurance. They wander, bicycle, hike and kayak to explore hills, waterways, villages and moors in search of the spirit of artists and writers who have come before them to leave an imprint on this untamed land.

“Wandering in Cornwall is a beguiling collection of stories and poems about the extreme west of England. Everything that makes Cornwall so special is here: pasties, clotted cream artists, smugglers, the South West Coast Path — and even the thieving seagulls. Readers who know Cornwall will be inspired to return and newcomers to this land of myth and legend will vow to see it for themselves.”
Hilary Bradt MBE, Co-founder of Bradt Travel Guides

“Careful, reader. This book is a delight, no doubt about it. But now I have to go to Cornwall.”
Tim Cahill, Author of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh and Hold the Enlightenment

Order Wandering in Cornwall from Book Passage or Amazon.

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Paris-102Wandering in Paris — Luminaries and Love in the City of Light
(Wanderland Writers, 2013)

More than a city, Paris is actually a world of its own, and the stories in this collection uncover some surprising new facets of the much-celebrated metropolis. The writers’ personal lives connect with all that makes Paris astounding: Addressing Parisian luminaries, art, fashion, music, cuisine and passion, they present a sometimes shimmering, sometimes shadowy picture of a city that defies cliché.

“Wandering in Paris is not only one of my favorite things to do in the world; it is also the title of this marvelous new collection of stories and poems.”
Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage

“No European civilization since Renaissance Florence has so spurred the artistic imagination as did the Paris of the 1920s and ’30s. Its pentimento lingers, as contemporary writers discover in our present the sensuous and seductive shadows of a storied past. Open the pages of Wandering in Paris upon a patina of the incandescent city.”

Georgia I. Hesse, Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (France)
Founding Travel Editor, The San Francisco Examiner

Order Wandering in Paris from Book Passage or Amazon.

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Wandering in Bali — A Tropical Paradise Discovered
(Wanderland Writers, 2012)

“Like renting a frangipani-scented hut, kicking back and sharing the sensory wonderland that is Bali with a bunch of your fast friends — if your friends knew how to tell really good stories.”
— Spud Hilton, Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

“For centuries, Bali has drawn souls from east and west to its natural beauty, mystical spirituality, and captivating arts. this collection of stories, poems, and photographs offers multiple windows from which to view this engaging place, all presented with rhythms and moods as melodic as the sound of the gamelan.”
Larry Habegger, Executive Editor, Travelers’ Tales Books

Order Wandering in Bali from Book Passage or Amazon.

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Wandering in Costa Rica — Landscapes Lost and Found
(Wanderland Writers, 2010)

When workshop leaders Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar gathered a baker’s dozen of their favorite travelers and writers, they had no idea how transformative the journey would be. Nurtured and inspired in an environment beyond compare, the assembled explored Costa Rica, gathering tales from across the country.

From rainforests, volcanoes, tropical beaches, butterfly gardens, colorful towns and villages, the writers wandered the county and brought back a fine collection of stories that present Costa Rica in rich personal style.

Order Wandering in Costa Rica from Book Passage or Amazon.

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Venturing in Italy — Travels in Puglia,
Land Between two Seas

(Travelers’ Tales, 2008)

History abounds in Puglia: from prehistoric caverns to archeological sites of Greek cities and temples, from houses built in caves to stone trulli to medieval castles and fortresses. Today’s Puglia is vibrantly alive with unique local wines and cuisine, thermal spas in Santa Cesarea, championship golf courses and its own reggae music. Nineteen writers set loose in  the region find stories everywhere they look. Be inspired to visit Puglia on your own voyage of discovery.

Order Venturing in Italy from Book Passage.

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Venturing in Ireland — Quest for the Modern Celtic Soul
(Travelers’ Tales, 2007)

Venturing in Ireland showcases an irresistible collection of true stories that transport the reader to an Emerald Isle of dynamic, youthful jubilation, folk music-filled pubs, and coexisting modern and traditional cultures in a land where ancient stone tombs predate the Pyramids.

This anthology explores a variety of aspects of life in southwest Ireland, from luxuriant gardens to local stout breweries, from castles and ancient ruins to whale watching in the Celtic Sea. The writers plunge into the core of Irish culture, singing folk songs at a pub’s roundtable and set dancing in a small town’s hall. From Lismore Castle to Mizzen Head, they delve into the cultural riches of the Irish countryside, even meeting local nuns with an expertise in ancient stone circles.

Order Venturing in Ireland from Book Passage.

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Venturing in Southern Greece — The Vatika Odysseys
(Travelers’ Tales, 2006)

Made famous by Homer, the stunning hillsides and islands of southern Greece seem to have been forgotten by modern tourists. This exciting anthology invites travelers to expand their itineraries beyond Athens and explore the territory once roamed by Odysseus.

Filled with vivid accounts that transport the reader to the Peloponnesus, the collection depicts many facets of life in this beautiful region, from award-winning wineries to hiking trails, from household olive groves to ancient ruins. No longer threatened by the Cyclops, the island of Elafanisos is now a haven of beaches and tavernas. Monemvasia’s citadel is in ruins, but the town and surrounding vineyards thrive.

The writers plunge into Greek village life with abandon, learning to sing folksongs and dance to the bazouki, and sampling local wines, olives, and savory dishes. Entertaining and poignant, the essays capture all the charms, both ancient and modern, of this delightfully undiscovered region.

Order Venturing in Southern Greece from Book Passage.

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Floating through France — Life between Locks on the Canal du Midi
(Travelers’ Tales, 2006)

The Canal du Midi in the South of France distills the essence of la france profonde: an intensely rural langour, villages lost in the snooze of yesteryear, the good earth offering beauty to the eye and bounty to the table. And a canal slips through it.

With 12 writers, we potter along the canal and through these pages, singing with the shades of women troubadours, stepping into impressionist paintings, leaning into the tramontana wind, biking along a gardened bank where children search for butterflies. We munch garlicky olives, sip wines with strange-sounding names, consume a compelling cassoulet. We even learn to negotiate the locks.

“This book is a trip. I’m into it. I want to be on it.”

Georgia I. Hesse, founding editor of the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle’s travel section, holds the Ordre National du Mérite from the French government

Order Floating through France from Book Passage.