My First Scribbles on the Road
For as long as I can remember, my passion for travel has been filled with scribbles and doodles along the way. I love to document my journeys with the written word, paintings, drawings and photographs. During my childhood I remember sitting in the back seat of our Ford Country Squire station wagon with my brother and sister on many of our cross country road trips and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the world around me. At dusk it was time to choose our accommodations for the evening and in most cases the only critieria necessary was a big pool with a colorful slide with a curve. I remember scribbling notes at each stop along the way to ensure there was no repetition at future stops. Years later on our family trips overseas I would do extensive advance itinerary research and once the journey started, I was the designated scout who would investigate our hotel and its surroundings immediately after check-in and report back with the lay of the land before we all set out together. All of these experiences over the years have been catalogued in my journals, photo albums and sketch books which I continue to produce to this very date. Over the years one of my greatest joys in life has been sharing travel experiences with others.
There is nothing more exciting for me when I learn that my stories have inspired others to travel. It doesn't matter whether you are crossing county lines or country borders, but that you get out and explore the world and experience the power of travel.
Cult of Personality
Since my early days as a student at UC Berkeley I became fascinated wtih the idea of "cult of personality" and how mass media can be used to create an idealized and heroic public image. This is most often associated by scholars to leaders like Mao, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh, but I find the same power at work with a wide variety of international figures like Jackie Kennedy and the Dalai Lama -- all ordinary human beings that at some moment in time captured the hearts and minds of the people through grace or just plain brutal fear.
Inspiration for India
Shortly after my first trip to India many years ago, the inspriation for a book on India came after learning that one of my "experts" was part of the historic trip by Jackie Kennedy to India in the spring of 1962. She was a young bureaucrat in the Indian government who went on to be Ambassador of India at several posts around the world. It was the age of Camelot and the world was a buzz as First Lady Jackie Kennedy at the age of 31 embarked on her first solo mission abroad with her sister Lee Radziwill and then US Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith.
A New Book: Jackie & the Taj
An exciting new book by Gregory Howell about the historic visit by First Lady Jackie Kennedy to India in March 1962. Revisit Camelot and learn how the journey to India and the visit to the Taj Mahal almost never happened. Gain insight into the fashion and design genius of Oleg Cassini and how India became a magical runway for the world in the early 1960s.
Jackie and the Taj is the first in a series of non-fiction travel books which blend history, art, culture, humor and cult of personality. Future subjects include The End of the Sword, Ho Chi Minh, Mao & Lenin and The Dalai Lama.