This is a book of journeys, but it is not a guidebook.
"Cannot Stay" doesn't merely describe traveling to Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and Europe. It delves into why we leave our front porch in the first place.
These twelve essays take us from Bali to the Baltics, from Corsica to Cambodia. But more importantly, they speak to the experience of travel, to what it means to shake loose of your at-home identity and pack all you need in a worn daypack. "Cannot Stay" bears witness to how travel reawakens us to the world by revealing the strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange.
"Check in. A subdued line of passengers, everybody waiting their turn. Someone pushes a small bag forward, eyeing with a smirk the woman with the luggage trolley. It's always so. And yet, even that woman is traveling light, leaving behind far more than she could ever pack into a few suitcases. By necessity, the traveler gives up on things, preferring for a time the experience of going."
Kevin Oderman is the author of two expat novels, including Etruscan Press's "White Vespa." Winner of the Bakeless Prize in nonfiction, he has taught as a Fulbright Scholar in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Lahore, Pakistan. He teaches at both West Virginia University and Wilkes University's low-residency creative writing graduate program.