Journey: The act of traveling from one place to another; a trip. In his latest book, "Journeys", Allan Lockyer, Francis Marion University professor of geography and the Neal D. Thigpen Professor of Public Affairs, gives readers a tour of his life's journey.
Why do we travel? Why do we leave the comfort and security of home and the familiarity of people and places we know? Lockyer has been pondering those questions since 1969, when he left Steuben, Maine on a 350cc Yamaha motorbike for an 1,800-mile journey to college in Arkansas. An introverted homebody and most reluctant traveler, Lockyer eventually became a geographer with a discerning eye for landscapes and people.
Whether in Maine, Mexico or places in between, he seems happiest in seedy backwaters that tourists avoid, where mangy street dogs frolic in his path, and modernity has yet to arrive. “Journeys” moves through time, experience and place, ultimately arriving at a surprisingly optimistic view of the world we inhabit.
“Allan is our Department’s most prolific author, and he writes with such ease,” said David White, chair of the political science and geography department at FMU. “As you read his stories, you don’t immediately realize just how much you are learning about different places, people and cultures.”
The Reluctant Traveler: Passage Through the Troubled Heartland by Mexican Bus, the longest of the journeys, is based on journals kept during 15 trips to Mexico between 1981-2003.
There is also an attention-grabbing essay about Carroll Terrell, Lockyer’s first publisher, who was Stephen King’s faculty advisor at the University of Maine in the 1960s.
Much like “Journeys”, Lockyer’s second book “Imagining Maine” is an eclectic mix of essays and stories written over the past decade and a half. Many of the essays are collected from “The Downeast Coastal Press,” a weekly newspaper in Cutler, Maine, that Lockyer has written for since 1988. Since 1973, Lockyer has spent his summers in a rustic camp on Jones Pond in West Gouldsboro, Maine.
Lockyer is also the author of “Clamdiggers and Downeast Country Stores: Eastern Maine’s Vanishing Culture,” which placed sixth on the Maine Writers and Publishers Bestseller List in 1994 and “Beauty and Decay: A Humanistic Geography of the Other State of Maine.” He also wrote, “Imagining Maine: Essays and Stories.”
He received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Arkansas University, a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University, and a doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. He has been a professor at FMU since 1986.
“Journeys” is published by Berry Cove Publishing Co. of Lamoine, Maine. It retails for $17.95 and is 312 pages, including references.