Wilson, Brandon 1953–
Wilson, Brandon 1953–
Born October 2, 1953, in Sewickley, PA; son of Edgar and Mary Beth Wilson; married Cheryl Keefe. Education: University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, B.A., 1973; studied at American Academy of Dramatic Arts, 1974.
Home—Haiku, HI. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, photographer, explorer, and peace activist.
Explorers Club, Artists without Frontiers.
Literary award, University of Pittsburgh, for poetry; photo award, National Geographic Traveler, 1998 and 1999, for photography; photo award, Islands magazine, 1999, for photography; IPPY Award, Independent Publishers, 2005, for Yak Butter Blues.
Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith, Heliographica (San Francisco, CA), 2004, 2nd edition, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2006.
Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2005.
Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2008.
(Author of introduction) On a Donkey's Back (collection of Nepalese poetry and paintings), Yileen Press (Vineland, NJ), 2008.
Contributor to anthologies, including Wounds of War: Poets for Peace, PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD), 2006; and They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories of Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club, Lyons Press/Globe Pequot Press (Guilford, CT), 2008. Contributor of essay and photographs to Naïve & Abroad: Limping 600 Miles across Spain: A Pilgrimage through History, Marcus Wilder, iUniverse (Bloomington, IN), 2008. Also contributor to periodicals, travel magazines, and Web sites.
Brandon Wilson is a photographer and travel writer. He has traveled across the world's most famous pilgrimage paths in more than one hundred countries, oftentimes on foot, backpacking for thousands of miles, often with his wife.
Wilson published his first book, Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith, in 2004. Mayra Calvani, writing in Curled Up with a Good Book, described the book as "an engrossing, fascinating read sure to be relished by those readers interested in adventure travel and the Tibetan culture."
Wilson's second book, Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, was published in 2005. Marcelline Burns, writing in Reader Views, noted: "Approached with anticipation, this book disappointed. Sadly, it falls far short of what it might have been."
In 2008, Wilson published Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace. Calvani's review, this time in the Boston Globe, stated: "I immensely enjoyed reading this book. Besides being a skillful traveler, the author is also a skillful writer and this shows in his beautiful flowing prose, keen observations and wit." Calvani observed that Wilson's writing style mixes "a marvelous sense of Zen with good humor."
Brandon Wilson told CA: "Growing up in Pennsylvania's Ohio River Valley, I've been writing since I was in my teens when I contributed to local newspapers and won my first literary award at seventeen. Adventure traveling—and inspiring others to discover life's possibilities through long-distance walking—influences my writing today. My work transcends the usual travel genre, combining history, philosophy, politics, and spirituality. Three of my books so far have helped advocate peace and tolerance (in Tibet, Africa, and the Middle East) while allowing readers to come along on a true modern expedition of discovery.
"Although I'd backpacked through nearly one hundred countries, I discovered something totally unique while walking 650 miles across Tibet—the pleasure of ‘deliberate travel.’ Slowing down, walking, gives us the ability to travel outside while traveling within. Plus, it expands our consciousness by bringing us more into intimate contact with the people and things around us. So travel becomes more than a slide show. It shapes who we are; it influences those we meet.
"Since that Tibetan adventure (detailed in my first book, Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith), I've continued these spiritual adventures, walking many of the world's major pilgrimage trails: the famed Camino de Santiago across Spain (twice), the Via de la Plata, the Via Francigena from England to Rome, and St. Olav's Way across Norway, and from Lhasa, Tibet, to Kathmandu.
"In 2006, I completed a 2,600-mile walk for peace through eleven countries and two continents from France to Jerusalem. This was an amazing odyssey and the subject of my book Along the Templar Trail. My writing has evolved over the years, but my primary influences remain Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, Hermann Hesse, Henry David Thoreau, George Orwell, Carlos Castaneda, Ernest Hemingway, and Gandhi."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Wilson, Brandon, Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2008.
Wilson, Brandon, Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2005.
Wilson, Brandon, Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith, Heliographica (San Francisco, CA), 2004, 2nd edition, Pilgrim's Tales (Paia, HI), 2006.
Boston Globe, January 15, 2008, Mayra Calvani, review of Along the Templar Trail.
Library Journal, October 15, 2004, Sheila Kasperek, review of Yak Butter Blues, p. 79.
Wisconsin Bookwatch, October, 2004, review of Yak Butter Blues.
BookPleasures.com,http://www.bookpleasures.com/ (March 15, 2008), Norm Goldman, author interview.
BootsnAll Travel Network,http://www.bootsnall.com/ (March 15, 2008), Norm Goldman, review of Yak Butter Blues.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (March 15, 2008), Mayra Calvani, review of Yak Butter Blues.
Midwest Book Review,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (April 28, 2008), review of Dead Men Don't Leave Tips.
Pilgrim's Tales Web site,http://www.pilgrimstales.com/ (March 15, 2008), author profile and interview.
Reader Views,http://www.readerviews.com/ (March 15, 2008), Marcelline Burns, review of Dead Men Don't Leave Tips.