In a culture centered paradoxically — dismally — on youth and hard work, traveling well is the real best revenge. Few words in the American language engender more enthusiasm than “Outta here!” And so we go, when we can afford both time and money, to places near and (mostly) far. To Istanbul and Brazil and Fez and, holy mother of God, to Las Vegas. Places in which we can lose our everyday selves — and find, as Peter Garrison writes, “the precious alienness that is the grail of the traveler.” But getting away is difficult; thus travel writing. The following pieces span the globe, from the Ecuadoran rain forest to the farm of an Indian mystic to a pick-up basketball game in Phnom Penh. If you don’t get out much, think of it as a little spring break.

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