John Haines spent the better part of two decades traveling the world: biking through Tibet, kayaking the length of the Niger River, taking the Trans-Siberian Express from Beijing to East Berlin. Various friends and compatriots—frequently from his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming—accompanied Haines on his trips. In 1999, everything changed. While leaping from a moving train in the Czech Republic—something he’d done many times in many places—Haines fell and broke his neck. Damage to his spine left him without use of his legs and radically changed his life.
In the years since, Haines has added writer to a resume that already included baker and banker. In Never Leaving Laramie, he pulls stories about traveling into an exploration of home: How a rural home fueled and sustained a worldview. How beauty and danger blend together with humility and ego. How itchy feet combine with the comfort of home in Laramie, a tough railroad town turned college town and a launchpad for wanderers. Throughout, Haines returns to ideas of rivers and movement. He ends with a chapter on a different kind of travel, reflecting on how his accident did and did not change him and the varied ways that people can move through the world.
About the Author
JOHN W. HAINES led the domestic work of the global relief and development agency Mercy Corps for fifteen years. He founded and directs the Community Investment Trust, a path to build community ownership of commercial real estate (investcit.com). He lives in Portland, Oregon. Never Leaving Laramie is his first book.
“As a narrator, Haines is open-minded, full of love and a little jealousy for his younger self. His tales contain humor, humility, and keen observations of culture and nature. A compelling invitation to accept both the gifts and the challenges that come with change, Never Leaving Laramie is a nimble travel text concerned with making oneself at home all over the globe.” —Foreword Reviews
"This engaging book describes John’s travels – the Trans-Siberian Railway, cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu, kayaking in Alaska, five months on the Niger River, and more—with energy and lively detail. But it will stay with you even more as a graceful exploration of what it is to grow older and wiser through pain and persistence."
—Naomi Duguid, author of Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan
“There’s a line in Never Leaving Laramie where John Haines says he was ‘feeling everything at once.’ His book gives the reader the same experience. It’s part travelogue, part history lesson, part memoir; the words steeped in tragedy, the man who wrote them steeled with resolve. You’ll want to hit the road while reading but I’d encourage you to finish the book first.”—Greg Bishop, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated