Traveling Heavy is a deeply moving, unconventional memoir by master storyteller and cultural anthropologist Ruth Behar. Through evocative stories, she portrays her life as an immigrant child and later as an adult woman who loves to travel but is terrified of boarding a plane. With an open heart, she writes about her Yiddish-Sephardic-Cuban-American family as well as the strangers who show her kindness as she makes her way through the world. Compassionate, curious, and unafraid to reveal her failings, Behar embraces the unexpected insights and adventures of travel, whether it's learning that she longed to become a mother after being accused of giving the evil eye to a baby in rural Mexico or going on a zany pilgrimage to the Behar World Summit in the Spanish town of Béjar.
Behar calls herself an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness. Repeatedly returning to her homeland of Cuba, unwilling to utter her last good-bye, she is obsessed with the question of why we leave home to find home. For those of us who travel heavy with our own baggage, Behar is an indispensable guide, full of grace and hope in the perpetual search for connection that defines our humanity.
The book is published by Duke University Press.
"A moving story of finding oneself through a lifetime of travel, this will be a terrific addition to memoir and Judaica collections." (Library Journal)
"A heartfelt witness to the changing political and emotional landscape of the Cuban-American experience." (Kirkus Reviews)
"All those intrigued by their ancestral story will be moved by the personal quest and also by how - with the help of computers as well as the kindness of strangers - the lost can find their way home." (Booklist)
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A curious insight into a unique experience