Richard Reeves
Family Travels: Around the World in 30 (or So) Days

Family Travels: Around the World in 30 (or So) Days

"Let's go around the world. The whole family together. All the kids," said the mother.

"What are you crazy? We're not rich. People can't quit jobs," said the father.

"The tickets are the biggest bargain there is, like $2,000....We'll do the whole trip in thirty days!"

They did it and lived to tell the tale in eight voices. The political writer, his wife the do-gooder, and three of their kids -- Colin, the television producer, Conor, the rock singer, and Fiona, the ten-year-old headed for parts unknown and known. The chef, Cynthia, and her husband caught up as soon as Ian, the first grandson, was old enough to fly -- eight weeks old, to be exact. There were no rules, except one bag each -- and the things seemed to mate as mother and daughters swept through markets in a dozen languages and the men of the family gambled in one.

After sixteen countries, a couple of dozen ambassadors, prime ministers, and assorted other high mucky-mucks including one Living Goddess and one Nose Dropping Divine Progenitor, two strip-searches, club-swinging cops and soldiers, explosions, wars and near-wars, a hundred arguments, and a thousand laughs, nine Reeves, O'Neills, and two Fyfes made it from Los Angeles to New York by way of Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhu, Denpasar, Ubud, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Singapore, Kathmandu, Delhi, Agra, Islamabad, Dubai, Cairo, Jerusalem, Jericho, Berlin, Paris, and St. Pierre-sur-Dives.

Then there was the overnight Deluxe Sleeper train across Java, which had been canceled four years ago, leaving the troupe in deluxe air-conditioning as described by Colin: "It began with the battle for seats in the total darkness, which became blinding fluorescent white light . . . it was like trying to sleep in the refrigerated ice-cream trough of a supermarket, sitting upright on a stack of Breyer's, during an earthquake. Eleven hours. . . . This is how they get people to confess during wartime."

And a father-daughter sunset over a golden Nile. "It's just amazing," Fiona said and her dad began a number on the cradle of civilization. . . ."No, no, not the river," she said. "I think it's amazing that I'm here at the river."

"Yeah," said the father. "Me too."

Back home, Conor the rock singer, who sometimes felt like he had been kidnapped, said: "Whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. We all got to know each other a little bit better."

"So, where do we go next?"


Reviews

"Laughs -- tears -- insights -- and amazing sights. This is NOT the Brady Bunch at a state park." Tom Brokaw

"Fast, funny, fabulous -- and cheap. The amazingly functional Reeves family does for world travel what disposable diapers did for car trips -- makes you want to go!" Gail Sheehy, author of New Passages and The Silent Passage

"The Plan was the hardest part, with Catherine O'Neill persuading her husband, Richard Reeves, and three of their kids, including two spouses and one infant, to agree: first to an affordable round-the-world trip, and then on an itinerary. The emergent trip started in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, followed by Indonesia, Nepal, India, Dubai, Egypt, Israel, Germany, and France. Told mostly by Richard, but with asides and journal entries from the rest of the family, not counting the babe, the family peregrination is filled with beautiful travel vignettes, interesting and laudable family dynamics, and much fun." Amazon.com

"Syndicated columnist Reeves, author most recently of Running in Place , turns his attention from presidential politics to travel in this multivoiced narrative of his family's 1995 'round-the-world-in-34-days trip. Reeves and his wife, Catherine O'Neill, had "done" circumnavigation in 22 days with their recently blended family in 1981; this time, their troop included sons-in-law and, before the trip was over, the couple's first grandchild. This trip was a predominantly Asian journey, stopping in Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Denpasar, Ubud, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Singapore, Nepal, Delhi, Islamabad, and then Dubai, Cairo, Jerusalem, Berlin, and Paris. Yes, many of those names will be unfamiliar to most readers, which means Family Travels offers a wide range of exotic information, as well as the perceptions of various family members on aspects of the places they visited. Gracefully written; likely to intrigue armchair travelers." Mary Carroll, Booklist

"A book about presidents and prime ministers, karate tournaments in Japan and night trains in Indonesia, the Nose Dropping Divine Progenitor in Taipei, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramids, and the Berlin Wall, Family Travels recounts the experiences of award-winning writer Richard Reeves and his family on a month-long journey that would take them through luxury and poverty, politics and war, discomfort and discovery." Ingram


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