best american travel writing

David Farley

What I Read: David Farley

David FarleySince early 2010, The Atlantic Wire has run a wonderful series called the “Media Diet,” wherein prominent personalities in news, government, arts, radio, and elsewhere discuss how they handle the “torrent of information pouring down on us all.” I have found all sorts of useful nuggets in these media diet profiles, from how to organize my day to what sources to add to my news reader or Twitter list.

For some time, I’ve mulled over the idea of talking to my writing colleagues about their media diets. Today, I’m posting what I hope is the first in a long series of profiles about travel and food writers and what they read, watch, and listen to.

David Farley, author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town, which will be made into a documentary later this year, is the first writer to tell me about what he reads and how he structures his writing time. As I am writing this, I learned that Farley’s April 2012 article for Afar Magazine, Vietnam’s Bowl of Secrets, has been selected for inclusion in the 2013 Best American Travel Writing anthology. Learn more about David Farley at

The Best American Travel Writing 2012

BATW 2012

The Best American Travel Writing 2012 is out.

I started writing about travel just a few years shy of the debut, 12 years ago, of this annual series of the best travel stories from American publications. For most of the last dozen years, I have treated myself to the BATW, usually at Christmas time. It’s a professional expense, yes. But the book also gives me insight into the sort of travel writing readers are responding to, which places are being written about, what their angles are, and which publications are still promoting and producing quality travel tales. Browsing the table of contents as well as the “Notable Travel Writing” in the back of the book provides a snapshot of where the best writing is being done and who is doing it.