PASSPORT TO ANYWHERE: The Story of Lars-Eric Lindblad by Lars-Eric with John G. Fuller Lindblad

PASSPORT TO ANYWHERE: The Story of Lars-Eric Lindblad

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Tour operator Lindblad has carted an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair around Outer Mongolia (unexpectedly), as well as opening up posh ""adventure travel"" in general, but this drab account of his experiences comes off as little more than a long, uninspired promotion piece. In his Swedish boyhood, Lindblad devoured travel books--and once presented himself on the doorstep of the legendary explorer/author Sven Hedin. After a brief, post-WW II stint with Thomas Cook in Stockholm, he emigrated to the US. Grand Tours of Europe were still the going thing, while ""the more beautiful and fascinating places of the world. . . were largely being ignored."" Via India, he got onto the idea of ""weaving together"" wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, and out-of-the-way such; and in 1958 he launched his own company. Shortly, with his first Garden Tour of the World (for Garden Clubs of America), he discovered a winning formula: ""the bringing together of people with common interests and the use of the most qualified experts available to enrich the tour."" From Lindblad, you hear nothing of similar endeavors by others; neither do you learn much about the exotic-travel business beyond the hardihood of oldsters and the wisdom of treating the natives well. (On the personal side, there emerges only one intriguing particular: Lindblad's two wives, and ""the mother of my two daughters,"" are all active in the firm.) Successively, Lindblad tells how he scouted and developed ""wing safaris"" in East Africa; the Mongolian tours; travel to Antarctica, Easter Island, and the Galapagos; Seychelles and Amazon cruises; penetrations of Bhutan, China, and Tibet. The difficulties were horrendous; funny and gruesome things did happen; and Lindblad isn't unaware of the threat to the natural and social fabric. But the tone is so self-satisfied, and the prose is so flat, that torpor sets in early. Even Lindblad regulars--or especially Lindblad regulars--will find this sub par.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1983
Publisher: Times Books