Travels
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Travels

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,800 ratings  ·  383 reviews
Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am.

When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1988)
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Wellington
Usually I avoid the most popular books, but because of a high recommendation I decided to read up on Michael Crichton, the author of books like Jurassic Park and Congo.

The book begins with Michael, the medical student, figuring out how to use a chainsaw to cut the head of a cadaver in half. First I thought that he was a de Vinci doing some research for a book. However, he did attend medical school supported by his “side-job” of writing books. In the end he just didn’t fit the philosophy and soci...more
Joey H.
This book narrowly edges out Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" as the best book I have ever read. I now read this book yearly, sometimes twice a year if I cannot wait long enough to read it again. Let me say, first of all, that I have read damn near all of Michael Crichton's work, from books to speeches to magazine articles. To me, Crichton is only an above-average writer. What makes him special is the way that he thinks. Crichton is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most innova...more
Amber Strussion
Travels is one of my favorite books. I've read it at least three times in my life. It is Michael Crichton's autobiography detailing his life in medical school, but most of all his travels around the world. Each chapter is a new adventure and Dr. Crichton makes you feel as if you are right there with him! I definitely recommend this book to anyone that likes to travel or just wants a fun, entertaining, read.
Pete
So,

AWESOME book. Especially the first two thirds.

#1: he travels around the world
#2: he gets all new-agey, progressively more and more.

As always, and as the ultimate critic I like to try to focus my reviews on my own personal experiences with a book. So here goes:

Pros: How amazing are some of the experiences he has and what he's willing to put his mind and physical self through. His writing is so solid and killer. Good ole MC is genius and great writer and personable, so that he makes you feel li...more
Rob
I love travel adventure books, so I was excited when I saw one written by a prominent author while I was wandering about a local bookstore. I bought it and started reading it immediately over lunch. I quickly realized that it’s a lot more than just a travelogue. It has essentially three main focuses: his training at medical school, his travels, and his spirituality.

The book begins with his medical school horror stories and then moves on to his quirky travel adventures. Both topics were fantastic...more
James Renner
I think I first saw the cover of this book when I was about 13 and the mystery of it grabbed me even then. It’s a hard to find book. Not as popular as Crichton’s works of fiction. But I happened upon a copy a few weeks ago and devoured it in two days.

Travels is the story of Crichton’s life from Harvard medical school to internationally acclaimed author of Sphere and Jurassic Park. But what makes it more than a jerk-off self-important autobiography is how Crichton talks openly and honestly about...more
Emily
I'm actually only in the "medical school" chapters, but I love them enough to rate this book highly already. I've never been a huge fan of Crichton's fiction, but I always liked his prose and I'm delighted to be reading this account of his life, philosophy, struggles, and revelations. Thanks for recommending, AL!!!

Update 6-1-13:
I loved the beginning of this book chronicling mediical school; and I very much enjoyed most of his travel journals (though I did find myself leaning toward bitterness wh...more
Farnoosh Brock
It is easy to fall in love with Crichton’s writing. It immediately grasps you as solid writing. It is funny, easy, polished, gripping when it needs to be, authentic in both styles – fiction and memoir – and it stays with you long after the reading has ended. There is not a single excess word in all his writing; there is a purpose for every word, every phrase, and every chapter. You just know you are in the presence of great writing.

In the span of 353 page book, it is not until after the first 80...more
Connie Harkness
I found it appalling that Michael Crichton so calmly depicts waiting outside a brothel in Asia while his host has sex with children. I suppose we're supposed to think he's a good guy for not indulging himself, but the fact that he is having a conversation with someone while they wait, and never objecting or contacting authorities is shocking to me. As Edmund Burke said, "all that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing". After reading this book, I don't know that I'd even b...more
Alan
This book came highly recommended, but I was disappointed in Crichton's travel book. There were several stories relating to Crichton's experiences in exotic places, but much of it was preoccupied with his early years in medical school and later, dealings with meditation, mystics, and his inner journey, which was not at all what I was expecting or looking for. And the picture the author paints of himself through these adventures is not altogether a flattering one.
The one good thing that came out...more
Chris Dietzel
Before reading this my impression of Crichton was that he seemed incredibly smart, was scientific in his thinking, and was very straight-laced. However, after reading this book, which is part travelogue and part autobiography, almost everything I guessed about him (except being incredibly smart) turned out to be wrong. Crichton discusses his fascination with seeing people's auras, channeling other energies, psychics, etc and spends a lot of his time learning how to do these things. You get the i...more
Stephen
I have read most of the novels written by Michael Crichton, both the popular, such as "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park", and the less-well-known, such as "Eaters of the Dead." The corpus is diverse but there are continuous threads which recur, prompting one to wonder about the author: what were the sources in his life of these interests? His non-fiction memoir "Travels" offers some answers. The first eighty pages of the book recount his adventures as a medical student at Harvard Univers...more
Jenger
This was another life-altering book for me. While it is a travel narrative, not a fictional book as Michael Crichton usually writes, I found something in each of his travels that challenged my thinking, stimulated my imagination, or sparked a desire to follow in his footsteps. I'm not sure why but his telling of his climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro was amazingly enlightening for me. Perhaps it's the mental challenge that accompanied the physical challenge. Whatever it was, I immediately add...more
Terry Dunn
This is great. I was fascinated how a man of Science explored the mystical and paranormal and reconciled within himself a respect for both sides.

It was surprising and interesting to read about Crichton's travels in the normal sense of the word and his 'inner travel' adventures. It's not your average 'travel' book.

The only bits that dragged for me were some of the relationship difficulties that he describes. I wanted to sympathise with him or her, but I decided that I couldn't care less and wan...more
Tandava Brahmachari
[from my blog: http://blog.whistledance.net/2004/09/... ]

Travels is a book that has been recommended to me for a while and I finally got around to reading it before and during my Costa Rica trip. This is by the same Michael Crichton that wrote Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain, etc. but this book is more autobiographical than fictional. It was extremely different from what I expected, but I think I ended up loving it even more because of that. Which is, of course, why I should remember not to put...more
Kenny
Michael Crichton, ubermensch (medical doctor, best-selling novelist, screenwriter and film director--all by the age of 30), wrote a book about traveling, both to places like Borneo and Tibet, as well as to inner destinations: spirituality, astral-projection, self-hypnosis, spoon-bending, channeling, etc.

Clearly, for all his remarkable intellectual gifts, Crichton was not given a spiritual barometer when he was young. So, after seeing his inadequate responses to life's difficulties, he set out to...more
Valarie
This has certainly changed the way I view Michael Crichton as an author. His autobiography shows that he is a "normal" person just like everyone else, which of course I knew but had trouble really believing when he has such a heroic status in my mind. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is this scientist's exploration of the paranormal and psychic realms. He honestly believes in things like telekinesis, fortune telling, visible auras, etc., and his explanations for why these things...more
Dylan
I didn't expect this memoir to be very interesting, and the cover description gives no indication that it is heavily focused on Crichton's deeply-felt experiences with the occult and "new age" spirituality. I was fascinated with the lack of concern he expressed about preserving any duality between the scientific worldview versus his spiritual extrasensory experience. For example, he recounts his ability, since childhood, to induce his consciousness to leave his body.

While experiences like these...more
Rajat
Ardent Michael Crichton fan, so the review would be a bit biased.

I loved it!

It was a knowledgeable treat along with very powerful writing. For instance, I came to know about how unfair and cruel the US was (and probably still is) to unwed mothers.

It was also nice to know how Michael transformed his career from a medical field to becoming a full-time author and then experimenting with being a director.

All in all, a great read. Highly recommended!
Sarah
This is the second time that I've read this book. It was much better the first time. This is one of Crichton's early books and it focuses on his years in medical school and his search for "fulfillment". He travels the world and also takes trips into the paranormal, hoping to find meaning in his life.
Shannen Brouner
Had a difficult time getting through this one, but it was mostly enjoyable and interesting. It's less about travel and more about personal experience, written by a man who values self improvement and discovery, and an open mind.
Jay
My thoughts on this book vary, many of the chapters are fascinating, while some are mediocre at best. His travels give fascinating insight into other cultures, and his introspect can be applied to many of my own issues. He does delve deeply into the world of consciousness and psychics and that sort of thing. Admittedly I'm pretty cynical when it comes to the paranormal, however the book has probably made me a little more open minded when it comes to such things, as he does analyze everything ver...more
Jessica
What a surprise! This book had been on my shelf for at least five years and I never picked it up, thinking I could always wait to read tales of someone else's expensive adventures across the globe. How wrong I was!

Crichton has always been one of my favorite authors, a guy who could write an intellectual page-turner. He starts this book by delving into his years at medical school and residency; and that's when I realized 'travels' may not just signify physical land-traveling. These are short sni...more
Lisa
I really liked this book. However, I don't think the name best reflects the book. Journeys, Adventures or Experiences would be better since only about a third the book is about travel. The first third is about his time in the Harvard Medical School. Not really what I signed up for and seems a bit stuck in. But, it is very interesting and the rest of the book is great. The rest is a combination of stories about his travels and his interest in alternative spiritual discovery/enrichment. Two of my...more
Philip
A friend of mine raved about this book. He said it was his favourite book, ever, and it changed his life and how he thinks.

OK, that’s a lot to live up to.

This book isn’t an autobiography. It begins when Crichton is in medical school and already feeling like he has made the wrong decision. Still, he is convinced to see his medical training through and has some horror stories to tell about this time. He seems astounded by how little doctors actually know and how much they bluff to their patients.

A...more
Stephanie
Jul 22, 2010 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love travel
Shelves: travel
I loved Travels - I loved reading about all the different places that Michael went and the experiences that he had. There were a couple of points in this book where I thought he went on about a particular subject longer than I think was necessary, but it showed me how passionate he was about those subjects.

Crichton is, sorry was, ((sniff)) a very smart man, very very smart. I knew that before reading this book, and it must have took alot of guts for him to be that honest about himself and talk...more
Kristi
My husband gave me this book because of my love and desire for travel. It was not what either of us expected! The first part of the book deals with medical school and his experiences there. There are some travel essays - though these seem to have more to do with relationships than travel. Then there are the many phychological, mystical, paranormal experiences. I found this interesting, but certainly not what I had expected when picking up a book about travel. All in all I crossed out many bad wo...more
Al
This book has been sitting quietly on my shelf of unread books, ever since my sister gave it to me as a present for some birthday or Christmas. Finally, its turn came, and what a pleasant surprise. It looks like a travel book, but that's only true if you take a very broad view of "travel."
It's really a series of loosely connected essays concerned about, yes, physical travel, but also about personal growth, experiments with paranormal experiences, and observations about the human condition. If...more
Teri
I'll give this autobiographical-type book a 3 1/2 star, it had started off very strong & it is very well written. Starting from Med school in Harvard & continued throughout his life to 1986. He jumps around in different lines of thought, connecting them to make his point on a particular revelation. But besides the travels to Kilimanjaro, New Guinea, Malaysia or Tahiti, he learns to travel inwards & find himself. He is always searching for higher meaning & this book focuses on eac...more
Andrew
It can often be interesting to encounter an author outside of his or her normal genre, as it can reveal things about the author that might not be apparent from his or her more conventional work. Based on the title and the cover description, this one appeared to be a travel narrative, which is a genre I typically enjoy, from an author better known for what might be best characterized as pulp thrillers. And while this book does include stories from Crichton’s travels, it isn’t really a conventiona...more
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas...more
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“Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes -- with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.” 34 likes
“The minute we look, we cease being afraid.” 7 likes
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