Program 667: R. L. Stevenson South Seas; Around the World in 80 Books; Why Wales

Release Date: 02-26-2022


Author J. Maarten Troost recounts his journeys sailing the South Pacific in the wake of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the contentment and sobriety he found along the way. Then Harvard professor David Damrosch describes the globe-spanning route he charted during the pandemic...via some of the world's most eye-opening works of literature, both classic and contemporary — and recommends some of his favorites. Plus a Welsh historian and guide gives us a good peek at the magical landscapes and attractions of his homeland.


  • J. Maarten Troost, author of "Headhunters on my Doorstep" (Gotham)
  • Harvard professor David Damrosch, author of "Around the World in 80 Books" (Penguin)
  • Welsh tour guide Martin De Lewandowicz

Additional Info

  • J. Maarten Troost wrote "Headhunters on My Doorstep" after following the route of Robert Louis Stevenson's final voyage in the South Pacific, to find sobriety in his own life. 
  • The Edinburgh museum Rick visited with exhibits on Robert Louis Stevenson is called The Writers Museum.  They provide links to seven museums around the world with collections dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson.  
  • Maarten spoke about his time in the South Pacific island nations of Vanuatu and Kiribati on Travel with Rick Steves program #380 in October, 2014. 
  • David Damrosch chairs the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and heads the Institute for World Literature. He's written "Around the World in 80 Books" to recommend classic and modern works that "are in conversation with one another and with the world around them."
  • Welsh-born Martin De Lewandowicz  co-founded Historic Tours Wales to provide tour guiding services in Wales, from his base in Caernaerfon.
  • The Rick Steves online guide to Wales includes a listing of many of the places Rick and Martin discuss.

Haiku Awards

Spring Fever Haiku

Pulpy sweet sunshine,
Heaven sliced into a bowl,
Fresh mangoes in spring.
— Sue Tomlin, Mount Vernon, Illinois


Second Lines Parade
Kaleidoscope of color
Street pulses with life!
— Shane Mapes, Black Hawk, Colorado  


I sometimes wonder
If the flowers in Paris
Bloom early in May
— Pamela Burton, Coral Springs, Florida  

Program Extras

More with J. Maarten Troost - J. Maarten Troost, author of "Headhunters on my Doorstep," explains how Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in a feverish frenzy, after taking a dose of a popular opiate of his day in 1886. (runs 1:23)

More with Martin De Lewandowicz - Rick and Welsh tour guide Martin De Lewandowicz describe options for enjoying a relaxing ride or walk along the former Llangollen industrial canal, just over the border from England. (runs 1:32)