The ultimate backroads adventure and primer on Brazil
A four minute trailer to launch To Belém & Back: Backroads Brazil with my Black Lab, a travel book in which Man & Dog explore a love affair with Brazil, where emotional and physical attachments are fraught with risk
(by EARTHDOG PRESS)
Have you ever wondered how to travel with your favorite pet in a huge tropical country, where footloose foreigners are suspect?
Novelist Ben Batchelder abandons his cozy corporate life and, instead of returning to the U.S. like most re-pats, moves deep into the interior of Brazil.
Here he drives his two-wheel drive station wagon into the Amazon, on the notoriously dangerous Belém-Brasília highway, and back along Brazil’s endless Atlantic Coast, on roads few if any Brazilians brave. Hence the need for such a ferocious breed as Labrador: for protection.
Along the way, humorous encounters with countless locals help him to plumb Brazilian culture and history, in so many aspects the flip-side of the American experience, and reveal how he fell in love with Brazil’s beguiling warmth in the first place – along with black Labs.
Praise for To Belém & Back: Backroads Brazil with my Black Lab
“An insightful and poignant account . . . . As in the very best travelogues, the author seamlessly combines the personal, the political, and the cultural . . . .”
– Publishers Weekly, ★ Star review
“Watch out for the potholes! Enough of an outside to succumb to fearless wanderlust in a dangerous land, enough of an insider to know better, Batchelder is that rarest breed of travel narrator: part intrepid adventurer, part cultural interpreter, full-time storyteller. Taking the reader on a rich, at times startling odyssey of modern Brazil, To Belém & Back is told with consummate verve, a sly wit, and sumptuous detail of character and place. You’ll find yourself booking a flight – and a car rental – before the tale ends.
“The writing is such a pleasure: vivid, witty, evocative, and erudite. A rare combination!”
– Zach Wallmark PhD, Musicologist and Editor, Neil A. Kjos Music Publishing Co.
“If you are looking for a primer on big, brash Brazil, this lovely book is for you. In it, Batchelder takes a journey of discovery with his black Lab, traveling the country’s interior and encountering its culture, history, and colorful people. I don’t know of another travel essayist on Brazil who knows the country so intimately. His wry and funny encounters, often provoked by the novelty of a pet dog, remind one of Steinbeck and his Charley. Saudades!”
– William deBuys, author of The Last Unicorn and The Walk
“Batchelder enriches this lively journey through Brazil with his deep knowledge of the history, culture, politics, flora and fauna – not to mention his fine writing and understanding of dogs.”
– Tom Swick, author of The Joys of Travel, A Way to See the World and former Editor, Fort Lauderdale Magazine