Bad Tourist


Bad Tourist

Misadventures in Love and Travel

Suzanne Roberts

280 pages


October 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

October 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Both a memoir in travel essays and an anti-guidebook, Bad Tourist takes us across four continents to fifteen countries, showing us what not to do when traveling. A woman learning to claim her own desires and adventures, Suzanne Roberts encounters lightning and landslides, sharks and piranha-infested waters, a nightclub drugging, burning bodies, and brief affairs as she searches for the love of her life and finally herself.
Throughout her travels Roberts tries hard not to be a bad tourist, but owing to her cultural blind spots, things don’t always go as planned. Fearlessly confessional, shamelessly funny, and wholly unapologetic, Roberts offers a refreshingly honest account of the joys and absurdities of confronting new landscapes and cultures, as well as new versions of herself. Raw, bawdy, and self-effacing, Bad Tourist is a journey packed with delights and surprises—both of the greater world and of the mysterious workings of the heart.


Author Bio

Suzanne Roberts is the author of Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Nebraska, 2012) and four collections of poetry. She was named the Next Great Travel Writer by National Geographic’s Traveler, and her work has been published in Best Women’s Travel Writing and listed as Notable in Best American Essays. She teaches for the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Sierra Nevada University. Visit her website:



“I love travel, armchair and otherwise, so I knew it would be a pleasure letting Suzanne Roberts take me around the world on a shoestring, from India’s Grand Elephant Festival, to the steppes of Mongolia on the trail of Genghis Khan, to the cool tiles of another one-star bathroom wondering if this would be the time she’d puke herself to death. Even more satisfying are her honesty, courage, and eventual clarity as she tackles her own understories—family dysfunction and alcoholism, internalized misogyny, and what the climate catastrophe means for the travel addicted among us—combining these essays into a thoroughly relatable journey of the heart.”—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

“If Michel de Montaigne and Chelsea Handler could get together in a bar in some far-flung part of the world and get good and drunk, they might dream up a book like this. This is not your parents’ travel writing! If you’re thirsting for a literary triple shot of sex, booze, and misadventures, Bad Tourist is your passport to a trip you won’t want to come home from.”—Michael P. Branch, author of Rants from the Hill and How to Cuss in Western

Bad Tourist makes beautiful the absurdity and heartbreak accompanying us whenever we leave home. Roberts’s intimate, fiercely honest narrative voice imbues these realities with grace and demonstrates just how much is to be gained by living a life in the present tense.”—Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

“These thoughtful, hilarious, lusty essays will either have you renewing your passport or blowtorching it for good. Suzanne Roberts may be a bad tourist, but she’s one hell of a great writer.”—Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis

“Suzanne Roberts’s journey—both inward and outward—is illuminated by eloquent portraits of countries, cultures, and compassionate insights into human nature. I love this book.”—Ann Marie Brown, travel writer and guidebook author

“In an age where cultures, people, and places are so easily objectified, reduced to abstractions, commodities, or statistics, Bad Tourist is a collection that returns us, thankfully, to earth. Across India and Mongolia to Mexico and California, Suzanne Roberts shares the view at ground level, the brutality and grace and sometimes transcendence in the lives of everyday people. She reminds us that travel can be an act of remembrance. This is an important and moving work.”—David Miller, travel writer and documentary filmmaker

Table of Contents

The Love Test
Scared Shitless
My Mother Is My Wingman
Three Hours to Burn a Body
Hotel Cádiz
Loving the Lie
The Call of the Coquí
Fourteen One-Night Stands
Gone Missing
One Degree of Separation
The Peruvian Blackout
One Hundred Boyfriends
Prague and the Unbearable Lousiness of the Tourist
Stretching the Thigh Fat
Bellagio People
Knowing the Words by Heart
Skiing the Fall Line
The Illuminations
Mating Season
Jungle Love
Bargaining, or the Third Stage of Grief
In Search of Genghis Khan
Odds Are
The Grand Elephant Festival
Coming of Age in the Guna Yala Islands
Dangerous for a Woman Alone
A Wee Scottish Tour
Scary Flyer
El Borracho
The Riffraff in the Magical Kingdom
Middle-Aged Vagabonding
Sassy at Burning Man
Hiking Home
Source Acknowledgments

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