I don't want to buy a travel guide. With Google searches that provide instant info on the latest restaurants, shops and hotels, I'd rather hold on to my money and pass on by the travel section in my local bookstore. Unless of course, something new were to came along- something with style and substance that peaks my curiosity and will stay relevant for years to come. That would change everything.
Georgia native, Taylor Bruce has created a niche in the travel book market with his first independently published field guide, Nashville. As stated on his site, these field guides are "small books with a lot of soul, packed with local lore, interviews, a cultural almanac, vignetted memoirs, a best-of list, hand-drawn maps, and much more." Put another way, it's not your average travel guide.
A lover of essays, I'm quite fond of Taylor's incusion of short stories that showcase the real poetry of a city. It's like having a local take your hand and tell you a story- a story that is significant because it is rooted in place and time. It opens our eyes to a new perspective, which to me, is the most valuable aspect to our travel experiences.
Points of interest in Taylor's guide have earned their spot on the page. They're the places that have endured and have left a mark in the soil. You need to visit there.
I particularly like Taylor's Almanac section which features content reflecting the true soul of the city. For Nashville, this includes fried pies, heirloom tomatoes, Johny Cash's creed and, as featured here, songbirds.
Taylor's next independently published field guide will be Austin, Texas, to be released next month- and you can pre order here. I hope he keeps going, preferably sticking to cities here in the South where we have the best characters, the best soul and the deepest roots. Perhaps I'm biased... or perhaps I just want to visit my local bookstore again, this time stopping at the travel section.
Photos: Wildsam.com; emilerwin.com Content: Sweet Peach