trotting the globe in style: the globetrotter diaries by michael clinton

“We meet people when we travel and have an intensity and intimacy with them in ways that we wouldn’t even have with certain friends and family. I’ve come to a conclusion that this is part of the magic and mystery of traveling.”

So, why read a book of tips from a globetrotting president of a huge publication company if you can easily buy the simplified guide from the shelves of a bookstore? My answer is simple, We read travel books and touch the pages like we are caressing the wanderlust of the author. Guide books will just tell you how, this one will give you something else, it will show you why.

A back story ultimately put the human element in travel, the traditional guidebooks’ bullet points of what, where, and how can easily tell you how you can escape getting ripped-off and show what you where to take your selfie duck-face photo to post on your Facebook. But what the traveler were thinking, where he got lost and how he handled flight delays ultimately give a travel read some sincerity, depth and dimension.

At first, I thought the author being a big shot in the publication industry will somewhat drown you with with posh allusions with a Miranda Priestly affliction. But Michael Clinton is a relatable writer, he grew up in an average household and worked his ass off to earn his first ticket out of the US. Through the pages of this book you will feel his down home spirit with random arrhythmic bursts of subtle improv annotations.

He will draw you to that same space when he crossed borders to then Union Soviet Russia and when he pulled a James Bond-ish stunt when his flight got cancelled. This book is a time machine, it will transport you back in the 70’s when the whole experience of being in transit across France is still a romantic affair. The realities of traveling was illustrated boldly, the unspoken understanding of enjoying a short-lived relationship with strangers and the sadness of the notion that you might not see each other again, ever. And that is the beauty of it and it is still happening now.

You can also use the book for self defense and knock-out some perverts on the dark alleys of Khaosan. This hardbound baby will surely be a show piece in my breakfast nook for a long period of time. Monette and I are not even halfway on the roads that Michael have walked on, but this diary is a road map of the journey that we want to take to earn the same title of a globetrotter.


globetrotter diaries

Ron heaved a sigh as he lunged inside his Terra 60. With a grunt, he pulled out the two-pound “ The Globetrotter Diaries” that came from the US, side-tripped in Singapore, and finally found itself on the second floor of a hotel in the island of Mindoro, Philippines. Even the book has trotted the world. I had to find a perfect timing; that’s how the love affair with a book works. I strategically placed my Lagu under a cabana, lied down, and got hold of the The Globetrotter Diaries. I held the book close to my chest, breathed a deep breath, and carefully fiddled the tip of the book right under my nose to catch that fresh paper factory scent. I was ready.

And then, I wasn’t. I caught the sun striking the clear waters of Puerto Galera and realized it was an insult to Mother Nature to read anything and not pay attention. The same sentiment occurred as I open the first pages of the book while sitting in a hotel in Old Bagan, Myanmar. A few days ago, the Christians of the world celebrated Semana Santa. And whilst everyone decided to leave the pandemonium that is Manila, I decided to stay. The time could not have been perfect.

He was a young boy who wanted to see the world. Michael Clinton is the epitome of every young soul waiting to get away from home as far as possible. And when he found ways to pull himself out of home, whether because of work or premeditated dislocation, he never stopped. I am him, and you are too, if you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There were lot’s of amazing stories, and then there were great tips, then a volcano exploded, then — oooh! Shiny!

His stories jump from one continent to the other, from one time zone to the next, from one format to no format at all. It was enough to make my obsessive compulsive self froth to the mouth. But then I realized, reading his stories this way must be how he would tell his stories if I bump into him in some hotel or cafe in some city. Besides, I read somewhere in the book where he was sitting in an old town in Italy and writing some part of the manuscript there. Whether he was intoxicated or not, a traveler’s story is enough to suck you in a wormhole. Where you get spat out is a matter of where your conversations lead you. I wouldn’t mind sleeping in Munich and waking up the next day in Winterthur.

The author’s stories played well with my impatience, they are like bite-size candy-samples that are not for sale. I  find the book the perfect companion at airports, if not for its weight. He gives you just enough to make you jealous so you’d book a ticket like a drooling zombie and fly to some oddly-named European city because he said you have to.

Perhaps, one of the stories that struck me the most is his trip to Zimbabwe. Aside from the fact that no one would pass off a Safari trip, to be in a position to see how priveledged and capable one is of helping others is one of the most humbling forces that would drive people to travel. As the author said, his travels showed him how people working together can create a new destiny. It would be awesome to find a way to help build a good one…

As the author reaches the heights of Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa, his thoughts run, “Only a fellow globetrotter will understand the satisfaction of going to a new place or reaching a new milestone. To feel the fulfillment of standing there only reminded me that this is what makes me me. We all try to figure out what it is that’s core to who we are. And if we are lucky enough to pursue it, then we become more of ourselves.” 

Ultimately… I figured God, in his idea of a great, not to mention, unending adventure, scattered our pieces all over the world. There’s no other explanation why we, as travelers, get drawn to unfamiliar places…

And those of us who summoned the courage to fill the void by traveling, find bits of ourselves lodged in the crevices of the Ankor Wat’s temple and the Great Wall of China, on top of the Himalayas and Kota Kinabalu, bobbing on the rivers of Ganges, underneath the rocks of Gunung Agung, or swimming with the fishes in the Great Barrier Reef. And we become whole, one destination at a time. I would not look for myself any other way…


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  • paul | walkflypinoy

    April 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Monette’s final two paragraphs dumiretso sa puso. Grabe. Haha.

    Finding pieces of yourself scattered all around the world seems like an impossible and never-ending task, something that will never ever be accomplished. The thing is, if I spent my entire life traveling and finding those pieces and in the end still not find them all, I would still die a happy man. 🙂

  • flip'n travels

    April 19, 2013 at 3:45 am

    thanks, paul! 😉

    it’s a never ending quest… if it were such an easy task, we might all as well be dead. yep, i’d still die a happy person!

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