Traveling Heavy

Traveling Heavy

A Memoir in Between Journeys

By Ruth Behar

Duke University Press, Hardcover, 9780822354673, 228pp.

Publication Date: April 2013

"Traveling Heavy" is a deeply moving, unconventional memoir by the 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 those be 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 BEjar.

Behar calls herself an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness. Repeatedly returning to her homeland of Cuba, unwilling to utter her last goodbye, she is obsessed by 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.

About the Author
Ruth Behar is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the author of "Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story" (1993). Deborah Gordon is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Wichita State University.