Tim Cahill

I recently got in touch with Tim Cahill about reviewing his new book, Hold The Enlightenment: More Travel, Less Bliss. It’s on it’s way and I can’t wait!

To brush up on Tim, I got out my copy of Pecked to Death By Ducks. In the intro, Tim says that he’s been in travel writing for 15 years, and that was in 1992. It made me think of time, and dreams, and how time can be marked by what we’re doing.

In the winter of 1993, I first found out about Tim, and his piece “The Howling.” It was about seeing the northern lights in Alaska and was what triggered the adventurous spirit in me. I then ravenously read more of his work in Outside, and hunted down his books, and became inspired to get into travel writing.

So, it’s been ten years since this inspiration. I met Tim for the first time a few years after that at a San Francisco lecture series and got “The Howling” autographed. A few years after that I had beers with him after hours at the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference. That was two years ago.




He remembered that night in our recent correspondence, and it made my day. Over the course of the years of working at Travelers’ Tales, I’ve met many authors who’ve been inspired by Tim. And I wonder what that feels like? Here’s a passage in his intro that really moved me, and will give us something to chew on until I can review his new book.

Dreams are indestructible. They seethe and roil beneath the surface. There is a vague sense of discontent, and different people deal with it in different ways. Scorn is popular. Mention that trip down the Amazon you’ve been thinking about, the cabin you want to build in the woods, and someone is sure to call you a horse’s ass. Other people have a way of making our dreams seem small. The urge to realize any early dream is labeled with names that suggest psychic aberration: the big chill, a midlife crisis, a second childhood.

What I have been doing for the last fifteen years is chronicling in various magazines, that urge in all of us. I have the sense that, in my foolishness, others find inspiration. If this clown can do it, I imagine a reader thinking, so can I. There is some small and distant nobility here: For the past fifteen years I have been in the business of giving people back their dreams.

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