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Traveling With Style

March 16, 1986|Jerry Hulse

Writer Alex Haley was rushing off to board a ship for Holland when I caught up with him by telephone last December in Savannah, Ga. I had called to ask the celebrated author of "Roots" to do a story for Traveling in Style dealing with freighters. Affirmative, he said--and at the same time Haley confessed to having a love affair going with the sea. Indeed, he said, he does his best writing aboard ship, a talent he developed during a 20-year hitch in the Coast Guard. Now he was leaving on a freighter to put the finishing touches on a new book about the small town in which he grew up in Tennessee. With Haley, the creative juices flow aboard a freighter. The words spill forth with ease. Everything meshes. On the other hand, he confesses to a curious routine: When others retire of an evening, he hits the typewriter (no word processor for him) and he keeps plugging away until dawn. Later, when other passengers rise, he slips off to sleep. It is a routine Haley follows religiously, booking freighter trips twice a year, and he doesn't give a hoot where the ship is bound. Haley is concerned only with the joy of being at sea with all its peace and privacy. In this issue of Traveling in Style he tells a story of freighter magic and he tells it with the relish of a man who has found his contentment--far beyond these crowded shores.

At the other extreme, our readers will circle the earth with commercial pilot Barry Schiff and they'll travel with attorney Melvin Belli to the Himalayas. TV anchorman Bill Stout describes an enchanting hideaway in Wyoming, while Paige Rense of Architectural Digest insists that for her, travel is more work than play. Barbara Isenberg shares her discoveries of little-known European cultural attractions and our Times correspondents introduce us to bars and bistros the world over. Paul Conrad adds an artful touch with selections from his European sketchbook, and I open a secret notebook containing the names of a dozen romantic destinations.

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