Author Ben Batchelder shares his odd thoughts and quirky eye to bring a smile of recognition or wonder to your day
A short trailer to launch To Belém & Back: Backroads Brazil with my Black Lab, a travel adventure in which Man & Dog explore a love affair with Brazil, where emotional and physical attachments are fraught with risk
Have you ever wondered how to travel with your favorite pet in a huge tropical country, where footloose foreigners are suspect?
The author abandons his expat corporate life and, instead of returning to the U.S. like a normal re-pat, 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: as 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.
Published in 2014
A two minute trailer to launch Borderlands USA, a travel essay & travelogue on the meaning of being American post-9/11
When 9/11 struck, Ben Batchelder was living overseas. Dumbfounded, he wondered: How could he help?
After leaving his marriage and corporate career in Brazil, he returns to the U.S. with an outlandish plan: to protect the country by car, driving a silver-plated VW Beetle as close to the remote borders as possible, without getting arrested.
Along the way he gets to know his beloved country again and meets many unheralded borderlanders, whose stories of hard work, patriotism, and perseverance go well beyond the usual headlines. Instead, he finds that the nation’s edges reveal much about its core – and in the process comes home to an overwhelming sense of gratitude.