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Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Every year, hundreds of thousands of young people pack their bags to study or volunteer abroad. Well-intentioned and curious Westerners--brought up to believe that international travel broadens our horizons--travel to low-income countries to learn about people and cultures different from their own. But while travel abroad can provide much-needed perspective, it can also be ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 7th 2019 by Between the Lines
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Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Suzanne Bhagan’s review explains what’s really good about this book, and lists key ideas in it. The book’s worth reading for those reasons.

What’s less good about the book is its slow pace and therapeutic tone. (The phrase “holding space together” makes me cringe, and it’s used lavishly.) I had real trouble getting through this book, however necessary her points are. This book could’ve been condensed by 75% easily.

I’m ambivalent about service trips. I have long thought that they almost entirely b
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s an incredible thing to see yourself represented, and I genuinely hope for that for all of you. Seeing an Indian-American dark-skinned professor who is a travel writer and activist felt like a dream to me. It felt like a miracle to see a book written about the exact thoughts that spin around my mind daily. Anu Taranath’s story is my story, and in a few decades, she is who I hope to be. I felt seen when Taranath talked about her Indian “homecoming,” or traveling while being dark skinned.

I pi
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very thought-provoking and well-written book. Many of her observations and anecdotes have helped me verbalize my own thoughts and interactions. The book was a little heavy for me but kept at it as it is not just factual but has real-life experiences from herself, her students, her coworkers and people that she has interacted with. In my opinion it is not just a book for a traveler travelling from the West to a developing country, but a good book to anyone who wants to be a conscious citizen ev ...more
jen self
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone in the global north who travels
Where to start with a book that is at once poetic, immediate & direct, hopeful, yet explicit about the historical and contemporary impacts of global colonization (particularly of the global south), and finally a narrative that embraces the reader with a disarming candor coupled with Dr. Taranath's genuine warmth & devotion to asking deep, revelatory questions that help us understand our situated power and relationship to history, colonization, and each other? Where to start indeed?

So many books
Nat Mengist
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading from #BEYONDGUILTRIPS while I was in Cuba was a tremendous help when confronting tensions brought about by inequalities and interpersonal strife. Your powerful words also helped me to sink in, open up, and contribute care to the experiences I shared and relationships I developed. You are doing such important work, Dr. Anu. THANK YOU!!! ⭐️📚😍
Lulu James
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anu Taranath’s Beyond Guilt Trips is an affecting inquiry into issues of power, privilege, travel in an unequal world, and what happens when we don’t talk about our discomfort surrounding difference. Through her own personal stories and those of others she illustrates how our positionality shapes our experiences abroad and how, in the midst of entirely new cultures, socioeconomic, and racial environments, it can bring up feelings that are difficult to process. By providing thoughtful analysis an ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been fortunate enough to travel to many countries throughout my life and I’ve observed inequality, beauty, traditions, perspectives, and so many memories that I continue to cherish. The book Beyond Guilt Trips by Anu Taranath resonated with the travels I have had. Her writing forces the reader to think about difficult questions considering equality and travel but the book also shares the wonderful moments that can come from leaving one’s house or leaving one’s country and being uncomfort ...more
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unique book. Wish more organized trips had this opportunity for discussion and unpacking the trip impact. As pointed out later in the book, "Our modern lives are not set up for deep, thoughtful, and meaningful exchanges around hard-to-articulate ideas about identity, travel, and difference."

"As Robert Gordon writes in his book Going Abroad: Traveling Like an Anthropologist, "Going abroad can have a whiff of neo- imperialism about it....In the heyday of imperialism people traveled to the tropics
Travelling abroad harbours the promise of adventure and experiences but are travellers really prepared for the surprises that await them?

Through Beyond Guilt Trips, Dr Taranth critically analyses the before, during and after of the promises international from various travel stories. The book targets readers who are from the global north wishing to travel to low-income countries to broaden their horizons. However, it will also be a useful resource for people on the other side of the pond to under
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As I read Beyond Guilt Trips, written by Anu Taranath, I noticed the many different layers and important details included in the book. The book explains personal travel stories and shows readers how to deal with uneasy questions when traveling to low-income countries. Each word that Taranath wrote was so thoughtful. She not only talked about her own experiences but took the book to the next level by also explaining students’ stories that she traveled abroad with. This allowed many different opin ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beyond Guilt Trips is a book that dives into the complexities of how the before, after, and during of global travel fits into our lives. The author Anu Taranath talks about the ways in which we carry our global history with us and the ways that influences the relationships between us and other people around the world. She also explores how we deal with our own emotions that we experience while engaging in global travel: how we remain present, how we can have productive experiences, how we stay r ...more
Suzanne Greenberg
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Anu Taranath's book on mindful travel is deeply engaging and thought provoking. The author takes a tone of a friend and mentor as she unpacks the relationship between travelers from advantaged countries and the residents of the counties traveled to, while also exploring how the differences in our intersectional identities of race, gender, class, etc affect how we are seen or interact with people from other cultures. With great skill as a storyteller, she digs deeper into the paradigms many o ...more
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Renee Ellis
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Recommended to Renee by: Self recommendation
My appreciation for Beyond Guilt Trips reaches far beyond the pages of the book, right onto the streets of various regions in Ghana where it came to life. I had the honor of traveling with Dr. Anu on a study abroad to Ghana, Fall 2019. I read the book AFTER my first engagement in Ghana and I can tell you first hand that Dr. Anu LIVES what she talks and writes about! Staying Curious and Present; Doses of Discomfort; Holding Space Together and the Politics of Help were all realized first hand whil ...more
Billy Buttons
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World
Author: Anu Taranath

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 16
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 8/10
Content: 9/10
Cover: 9/10
Of the 16 readers:
16 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the cover was good or excellent.
16 felt it was easy to follow.
16 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 7 felt the author’s
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a study abroad program director at a large, public university, I found Dr. Taranath’s book to be a unique model and guide for engaging with the thorny questions of power and difference that lie (mostly) under the surface of current curricular efforts to help students become “global citizens.” Through illuminating stories and conversations, we are invited to ask ourselves what we really mean when we talk about travel and learning, as well as how complex and fraught that “we” is.

The book takes
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Beyond Guilt Trips” by Anu Taranath is a book designed for a traveler. You could be traveling for fun, work, or to a struggling country that you want to help. Taranath gives the reader insight into what it means to travel ethically. She explains ethical travel as starting conversations with locals, and provides knowledge about what she experienced with her study-abroad students when traveling to the global south. Each story she tells has individual meaning, but there is one overall lesson throu ...more
David Grosskopf
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It is so full of wisdom and care, and it feels welcoming and joyful and inspiring, over and over.
There are two elements that make Beyond Guilt Trips both life-shifting and life-affirming for me:

1. Anu Taranath creates clear space for people from different experiences around power to not only self-interrogate without imploding in guilt or exploding in rage, but to talk with each other – about race, about inequality, history and present.

2. Taranath captures how and why to teach
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to challenge a reader without making them feel attacked or defensive and yet that’s exactly what Anu Taranath’s Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World does. Taranath is able to encourage the reader to look back on their own travels and their privileges as people without punishing the reader. It is through her kind and warm writing and openness about her own stories (which she shares many of) that she is able to really connect with the reader and prompt rich discussions. ...more
Simon Borumand
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Beyond Guilt Trips, Dr. Anu Taranath presents a complex and often emotionally charged topic -- identity, and how we view ourselves and others in the world -- through a refreshingly approachable book. Beyond Guilt Trips reads like a conversation with an old friend, as the author weaves between personal anecdotes and a careful unpacking of the dynamics hidden within those stories. Though the overt focus is on travel, the implicit lessons throughout the book are often equally applicable in our l ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I appreciate how much Dr. Anu Taranath’s Beyond Guilt Trips made me think. And not just a surface level “oh, that’s interesting,” but truly reflect on the experiences I have had. The way she offers a wide variety anecdotes is inclusive in that anyone can find a way to connect no matter their traveling experience. After telling a few stories, Taranath offers ideas on how to “hold space together” despite the differences we encounter. I appreciate how she presented these ideas: in the form of quest ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beyond Guilt Trips is an excellent book for helping travellers become more aware of their surroundings and how to cope with situations that are uncomfortable. While this book was originally written for people who are travelling, I think that the lessons that are shared in this book can be applied to many situations .

Unlike other books that deal with complex social issues, Taranath isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with her own experiences. Her vulnerability makes the book more down to earth which al
Emily L
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Healing. Brilliant. Refreshing.

Taranath’s writing moves away from shame/blame tactics that I often find in books or articles about our unequal world. Instead, Taranath surfaces big-big topics through small-small stories, helping me imagine a healing and loving approach to social justice work. She invites my curiosities about taboo topics (race, privilege, whiteness, stereotypes, colonization, etc.) and makes them accessible through her honest and funny storytelling. This is a book that is releva
Todd Faubion
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am so grateful for Anu Taranath's book "Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World." As a global health educator, I work hard every day to encourage reflexive, humble, and thoughtful engagement amongst the students with whom I work. This work is not easy, but to date there have also been limited resources that I can refer students to as they think about how to explore, learn, and grow in an unequal world--one where their very ability to engage is often predicated on taking advantag ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Anu Taranath’s new book provides a great deal of critical perspective to anyone who has, is thinking about, or likes to travel. In fact, what I appreciate about the thoughts provoked through the book is that many of the concepts apply to social justice practice back here, at home.

The book is extremely accessible, while still inciting deep, critical, and even academic thinking (for those who are into that). There are discussion and reflection prompts throughout the book, which I found very h
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite things about Anu Taranath’s Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World is that it is very easy to understand. Taranath’s messages come across clearly and are well-worded, making the book accessible to pretty much anyone. I am currently a senior in high school who plans on both studying abroad and participating in community service opportunities during my time in college. In the time leading up to these years, I am trying to think about ways that I can make these ex ...more
Jessica Bennett
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
This book is not only accessible for readers of all ages, but is necessary for all wanting to travel or study abroad. Within it are multiple topics that must be discussed and understood not only during travel, but also to be aware of while living in today’s world. I found value in the sections discussing global citizenship, intersectionality, privilege, race, and class, how to navigate guilt and being uncomfortable, the concept of “help” that many Global North travelers carry with them, and so m ...more
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been a great fan of Dr. Anu Taranath for years. She is one of the brightest lights here at the University of Washington and her views on exploring and navigating this world with a lens of social justice and personal awareness is unparalleled. I was first a fan of her amazing book: T.I.P.S To Study Abroad: Simple Letters for Complex Engagement with many of my classes who travel to rural and tribal communities around Washington State. I have found her simple, yet profound, advice of having ...more
Aubrie Campbell Canfield
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the most valuable book I have ever read on the subject of education abroad. It would be an ideal text for faculty members to build into their syllabi for any travel course or faculty-led study abroad program. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to experience meaningful travel.

I lead a small education abroad organization and I have been struggling in recent years to evolve our programming to align with my evolving conciousness about the ethics of travel. This book put words to the
Donna Stringer
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Travelers, Educators taking students on travels
This book will be indispensable to any traveler. Even if you are a "frivolous" traveler who only wants to see the sights and relax, you are likely to be affected by comparing the people and places you visit with your own life. The stories Dr. Taranath shares help the reader understand both the big and little ways that travel can affect--and be affected by--one's personal identity. Her questions for thought and discussion at the end of each chapter trigger some very important self reflections. My ...more
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