Autobiographical cartoonist Josh Neufeld takes us on a dramatic tour of places as exotic and different as Thailand, the former Yugoslavia, and New York City. Highlights include Neufeld and traveling companion Sari Wilson on a volunteer expedition to an organic farm in Malaysia, their stint as extras in a Chinese-language Singaporean soap opera, a train trip through war-torn Serbia, and a near-disastrous cave adventure in Thailand. With gentle humor and a keen eye for the revelatory detail, Neufeld explores religion and spirituality, politics and personalities, and the mysteries of everyday life. His stories reflect the backpacker’s conflicted feelings: a yearning for adventure mixed with homesickness and a sense of disconnection, trapped in a reality constantly in flux. In the collection’s title story, Neufeld illustrates how the tensions and fears involved in travel through a strange country are dispelled by a Thai monk’s blessing. In “On a Mission,” Neufeld contrasts the viewpoints of American Baptist missionaries in northern Thailand with the traditions of a Buddhist festival. And in “Cremations, Cubicles & Cant,” Neufeld juxtaposes his grandmother’s Jewish funeral with a Hindu cremation ceremony he witnessed on Bali.
128 page blue ink on natural paper paperback with color covers
Alternative Comics, 2004