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Adventure-Travel Writer, Peter Jenkins

Updated on September 12, 2014

My Favorite Adventure-Travel Author

I discovered the writings of Peter Jenkins when I found a used, 25-cent copy of A Walk Across America in a sidewalk book bin. Given my own penchant for wanderlust, the title alone drew me in. And that turned out to be a very well-spent quarter.

I'm glad the first book by Jenkins I stumbled upon was the first he'd written. From there, I eagerly gobbled up several more of his writings in the order they were published.

Over the years, I've enjoyed every moment spent vicariously traveling with the author.

While I know Mr. Jenkins only through his written words, I was thrilled to receive a personal reply to a letter I sent him. I'd share that letter here ... if only it hadn't been lost in a flash flood along with many of my other keepsakes. But the following Peter Jenkins books were spared, to be read again another day.

If you too enjoy a good travel-adventure story now and then but haven't heard of Peter Jenkins, take a look at the following list of books. I've included the Amazon links here, but many of these books can be found at your local library.

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Have You Read Anything by Peter Jenkins? - A Visitor Poll

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Author Peter Jenkins
Author Peter Jenkins

Armchair Travel At Its Best

See The World From Home With Peter Jenkins

While author and father of six, Peter Jenkins, loves to be home on his farm in middle Tennessee, his work and second love is exploring the world and the people in it, and sharing his adventures with fans of travel-writing like me. If I can't be out on the road or trail myself, I want to be reading about it.


Some biographical information from Peter Jenkins' website:

  • He was born July 8th, 1951 in Greenwich, Connecticut.
  • Peter is the eldest of the six children of Frederick and Mary Jenkins.
  • He graduated from Greenwich High School and attended Woodstock in 1969.
  • Peter graduated from Alfred University in 1973 with a BFA, majoring in Sculpture and Ceramics.


National Geographic took interest in Peter Jenkins' journey across the U.S. when he and his dog stopped at their offices in Washington D.C. as they walked through. The company even outfitted him with photography gear, and the adventure was featured twice in the magazine, once in April, 1977, and again in August, 1979.

Visit Peter Jenkins' Website

Learn more about Peter Jenkins, read excerpts from his books, view photos of his farm, family and travels, and find out what else this wonderful travel-writer is up to on PeterJenkins.com.

The First Half Of A Very Long Journey

From New York to New Orleans

In 1973, just after graduating from Alfred University with a Fine Arts degree, a disillusioned young man named Peter Jenkins set off from New York with his dog, Cooper, to walk across the United States. Along with seeing the country, Peter wanted to meet and experience people along the way, so he mostly kept to the roads instead of backcountry trails, stopping now and then for extended periods when the spirit moved him (or the weather or finances demanded a break). This is the first of two books about Jenkins' eventful, five-year journey.

A Walk Across America
A Walk Across America

Jenkins' first journey, like those that followed, was much more than a very long walk with a lot of camping and lodging and sightseeing along the way. In addition to the thousands of miles that passed beneath his feet, he made connections with many of the people he met by chance, stopping to work odd jobs and even living on an intentional community. "A Walk Across America" is far from a "walked here, camped there, ate this" story, like some I've read.

This book spent three months on the NY Times Bestseller List for good reason. It's also required reading at hundreds of colleges across the country.

 

And Then There Was Barbara

From New Orleans to Oregon

This is the second half of Jenkins' cross-country walk, and now he's not alone, accompanied by his new wife, Barbara, who wrote portions of this book. The night I finished the first book, I went out and bought this one, which I read straight through. Loved it!

The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2
The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2

The rest of Jenkins' cross-country journey certainly changed with the addition of his new companion ... but the loss of another. And things don't always go smoothly, like getting hit by a car, for one!

This book, often called "A Walk Across America 2," remained a bestseller for fifteen years. Along with "A Walk Across America," it is part of the Permanent Collection of The White House.

 

Follow Peter Jenkins To The Other Side of the World

Across China is both the story of the first American ascent of Mt.Everest from the Tibetan side and an account of the author's travels, along with an interpreter, through some of China and Inner Mongolia's most remote and least understood places.

Across China
Across China

This book received some mixed reviews on Amazon, but I agree with the five-star ratings. "Across China" went as high as #3 on The New York Times best sellers list.

 

Jump On A Boat With Peter Jenkins

And Travel Along The Edge Of America

Imagine setting off on a 1600-mile, solo ocean journey along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Keys to the Rio Grande, having never before operated a boat. That's just what Peter Jenkins did at the ripe young age of 40. During this two-year journey, he meets a fascinating cast of characters and sees places few of us ever will.

Along the Edge of America
Along the Edge of America

While this is much more of a planned trip than Jenkins' walk across America, his stories about the people he meets and places he experiences are just as fresh and well-written.

 

Take A Vicarious Journey to the Northland

Enjoy another action-packed, vicarious adventure as Peter Jenkins and his family spend 18 months in Alaska. The stories are filled with humor and sometimes suspense. Read excerpts here.

Looking for Alaska
Looking for Alaska

A lot happens over the course of the more than 20,000 miles Jenkins travels in Alaska, which is one reason this book has been a bestseller since it was published in 2001.

 

Meet The Animals Peter Has Loved and Lost

This book is definitely different than the others, but if you're an animal-lover, I know you'd love this book too. Among other of his cherished pets, you'll read about Peter's half-Alaskan Malamut, Cooper, his companion in "A Walk Across America," and the pet hawk he had as a child that flew freely around his room.

Close Friends
Close Friends

This book is now out of print but still available from Amazon third-party sellers.

 

Connect with Peter Jenkins on Facebook

He reads and responds to your posts.

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

What Do You Think of Peter Jenkins' Books? - Have other recommendations for the adventure-travel reader?

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    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing information about Peter Jenkins, and welcome to All Things Travel.

    • profile image

      tdove 8 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 8 years ago

      I remember reading a book in one of my undergraduate courses about a mother and a daughter who backpacked across the Andes. I really enjoyed that book. I'll have to check out some of these!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I've always loved travel writing and they were among the first books I borrowed when I was old enough to join the adult library. I'm now off to Amazon to see if I can buy them here in the UK, if not I'll get them from Amazon.com.

    • cjsysreform profile image

      cjsysreform 8 years ago

      I haven't read enough travel books. I submitted a very strange book to your list -- it's about homeless people who ride trains. I think it's pretty outdated now but I still found it fascinating.

    • Webcodes LM profile image

      Webcodes LM 7 years ago

      Very interesting.. why does he do this? For the thrill or does he have a message? 5*.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @Webcodes LM: I can tell from his writing that he loves the adventure, loves meeting all kinds of people and experiencing as much as he can. I remember that his walk across America really restored his faith in people and love of this country. He's never come across--to me anyway--as a thrill-seeker.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 6 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      I've never heard of Peter Jenkins, and don't know if his work is available in the UK, but after reading your lens I'm going to look him out. Thank you for the suggestion- blessed by a new angel.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      This is a different genre of books that I've never read. I'm certainly intrigued to find out more and search out some of these. One of my goals, that you can tell just by visiting my personal vision board lens, is to start doing more traveling. These books may give me to boost and confidence I need to jump out there and get packing.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      I haven't read anything by Peter Jenkins...yet... I think you've convinced me! *Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just today I was reading in Looking for Alaska by Jenkins. In the middle of the book he writes about his stay with Jeff King a 4 time winner of the Iditerod race in Alaska. Today ....March 5, 2011, was the start of the 39th Iditerod and I had just finished the chapter about Jeff King! I have read all of his books...non better for the adventerous soul He touches your heart with his love for Cooper, his first dog in Walk across America. His love for animals in general show in his Close Friends book. His China adventure is a wonder. No nautical experience but always willing to try something new...Jenkins learns about handling a boat and explores the gulf coast line. Where will he go next........or will some younger soul discover America again and tell us a new version?

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      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago

      A great recommendation. Thank you.

    • profile image

      floresbrowns 5 years ago

      Hi Ramkitten,

      Great Lens. I liked your post.

      Best of luck

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The best of the best non fiction adventure books. I love Peter and consider him one of my spirit friends that has made a huge difference in my life. Peace

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Started A Walk Across America yesterday and finished it today. One of the best written and heartflet readings I have ever had. Mr Jenkins gave us a picture of his travels and the people he met that allows us to feel as if we were right alongside him. I love his expression of feelings that he had as he made this adventure. Cooper, you had a good friend.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have read and enjoyed most of his books . I consider Peter a close friend though I have never met him .

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've read every book that I can find by Peter Jenkins, think that means all of them. First was A Walk Across America back in the 70's (his walk passed within a few miles of my home) and I was hooked. I too feel as though he's a good friend even though we've never met.

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      Elizabeth Stapleton 2 years ago

      One of the most memorable times that our family shared while my children were young was the time that I read "Walk Across America," by Peter Jenkins. I had read it myself and was so moved that my family wanted me to share it with them. So, each evening after dinner and while still sitting at the dining table, I would read a chapter of the book to my daughter, son and husband. They all enjoyed it as much as I did and it brought us closer together as we traveled vicariously through Peter's eyes and met all the wonderful REAL people that make this country great .

      I personally get very tired of hearing about the "pretty," people that exist on the screen and in Hollywood so what a breath of fresh air to read about "real peoples," lives and experience the cultural differences in various parts of the United States.

      Being a dog lover, it was difficult as I choked back the tears reading about Coopers death but that is real life and real life is what makes Peter's books so enjoyable.

      Of corse we had to experience the next book "Walk West," and we soon were planning a trip of our own. It was by vehicle but I can assure everyone that it made us all more aware of the people we experienced a long the way. We always enjoyed traveling the back roads and the small towns but we saw it all with deeper appreciation and awareness, then ever before.

      I have read most of Peters books and my children will ask to read them when I am through as I think it takes them back to that special time we all shared, exploring our great country at our dining room table, in Oregon.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 2 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Elizabeth, thank you so much for your comments and feedback about Peter Jenkins' books. It was tough for me too, to read about Cooper's death. And I wholeheartedly agree that it was so refreshing to read about "real" people rather than celebrities. I enjoyed each and every one of Jenkins' books and will read some, if not all, of them again someday. I enjoy following his current travels through his Facebook posts.

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