Hard Travel to Sacred Places

Published by Shambhala, Boston & New York, 1991

HARD TRAVEL TO SACRED PLACES is the record of a personal odyssey through Southeast Asia, an external and internal journey through grief and the painful realities of a decadent age. Wurlitzer — novelist, screenwriter and Buddhist practitioner — travels with his wife, photographer Lynn Davis, on a photo assignment to the sacred sites of Thailand, Burma and Cambodia. Heavy Westernization, sex clubs, aging hippies and expatriates, and political dissidents provide a vivid contrast to the peace that Wurlitzer and Davis seek, still reeling from the death of their son in a car accident. As Davis searches with her camera for a thread of meaning among the artifacts and relics of a more enlightened age, Wurlitzer grasps at the wisdom of Buddhist teachings in an effort to assuage his grief. His journal chronicles the survival of age-old truths in a world gone mad.

“A stunningly moving odvssey through modern Buddhist Asia, filIed with voluptuous decadence, oceans of tears, ancient cultures and ravaged hearts. Hard Travel takes us into the mouths of the demons who guard the temples and leaves us in the wise and merciful heart of the Buddha.”     — JACK KORNFIELD, author of A PATH WITH HEART

“A veracious and heartbreaking account of our modern spiritual dilemma. Rudolph Wurlitzer cuts straight to the bone and never spares himself in the process.      — SAM SHEPARD, author of FOOL FOR LOVE

“Every scene, every word is underlined and meaningful, from the point of view of grief. Like morphine withdrawal, grief sensitizes the observer, since it cannot be denied. He is held right there. And like the Ancient Mariner, Wurlitzer holds his reader right there by his account.”     — WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS, author of NAKED LUNCH

“A brave. unsparingly candid exploration of a spiritual relationship between East and West, written by a voyager of the heart with few illusions, but real faith.”      — ANDREW HARVEY, author of HIDDEN JOURNEY

“An extraordinary illumination of dark corners and dangerous roads, an inspiring record of two amazing journeys, one into the real world, the other into the soul. It has the attributes of a classic.”

“Being as I am far more accustomed to hard travel than to sacred places, it is a real testament to the talent and intelligence of Rudolph Wurlitzer that he completely won me over with this insightful and moving book.”      — FRAN LEBOWITZ, author of METROPOLITAN LIFE

“A book to be read on many levels: as a traveler’s tale, as a map of grief, as an inspiring record of the stations of the soul.”     — GITA MEHTA, author of RAJ and KARMA COLA

“This is a book about going away to the most exotic corners in the world and seeing the phantasmagoria of our modern life, and it is also about discovering that to go away, no matter how far, is inevitably a journey into oneself. Wurlitzer returns with images that will stir and haunt his readers for many years.”      — LEONARD MICHAELS, author of SYLVIA

“A grave and compelling book. Balanced against an aggregate of stern and lovely Buddhist esoterica is a sweaty, personal, hopeless journey through modern Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia. It fulfills itself down to the last empty drop.”      — JOY WILLIAMS, author of STATE OF GRACE and ESCAPES

"A dark jewel, sharp and compact, 'Hard Travel to Sacred Places' is a travel journal/spiritual diary devoid of the ramblings and fluff that plague both genres.... What a rare thing Wurlitzer has written: a book of spirit that cuts to the bone." — VILLAGE VOICE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

"A brilliant corrective to euphemistic 'travel writing' and a profound look at the spiritual life under duress.... Wurlitzer sets a new standard of truth for the widening crowd of those who would write about the spiritual life." DAVID SCHNEIDER, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Cover Photo by Lynn Davis

ISBN: 9 781570 620249