I think I first saw the cover of this book when I was about 13 and the mystery of it grabbed me even then. It’s a hard to find book. Not as popular as Crichton’s works of fiction. But I happened upon a copy a few weeks ago and devoured it in two days.
Travels is the story of Crichton’s life from Harvard medical school to internationally acclaimed author of Sphere and Jurassic Park. But what makes it more than a jerk-off self-important autobiography is how Crichton talks openly and honestly about his search for truth and meaning in life. His adventures– and misadventures– span the entire world and beyond, venturing into the realm of metaphysics and transcendental meditation.
We travel with Crichton to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and witness the disintegration of his marriage. We venture into the jungles of Africa to visit the last wild gorillas with him. He takes us meditating in the California desert, and introduces us to a talking cactus. Crichton spent his life researching the edges of humanity, the fringes of what we are capable of. At times, what he finds is disappointing. But I was left with more of a sense of how we are all connected to each other, possibly on a quantum mechanics level, even.
Reader beware, this nonfiction book pushes the boundaries of believability at points, especially toward the end as Crichton begins to see auras and discovers he might be possessed by a few demons.
But it was a hell of a ride and everything I had hoped it could be. And I have a profound respect for the writer, now. Not just for his economy of words but for his gall to be so honest with his readers.