Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, and novelist who lives in San Antonio, Texas. A traveling speaker and visiting teacher, she has plenty of opportunities to drive or be driven by others.

All of us, at one time or another, have sat in the back of a cab and heard a lecture, a rant, a story, or an adventurous account of a talkative taxi driver wanting to share his or her experience, beliefs, or troubles. As we are driven to our destination, we are a captive audience. So Nye's stories are eminently relatable.

As a setup for several of these essays, she writes:

"The writers who meant the most to me in high school and college had wildly variant opinions about traveling. Henry David Thoreau thought we didn't need to leave our own backyards or nearby woods. Jack Kerouac roared back and forth across the country in his friend's old car. His most famous book was On the Road. I loved them both. Most teenagers I know have a mixture of desires — to go, go, go, but also to stay cozily contained, wherever one is comfortable. Many haven't found that place yet and keep on looking for it. Driving up new roads, peering out the windows ..."

Nye loves roads and alleys that are mysterious, and she marvels at how airplanes drop us off in new countries and then cabs are waiting for us. She wittily observes, "It is a central miracle of existence, right up there next to breathing."

To ground these lyrical essays, the author covers details regarding sightseeing, tips, no room at the inn, and too much traffic. In keeping with Nye's wildly variant travel reading, these essays will be equally entertaining and heartwarming when packed in your suitcase to tote along to your destination or enjoyed from an armchair at home.