Putney Westerfield has embraced adventure travel for over fifty years. This wanderlust began soon after his graduation from Yale, and has covered well over 100 countries. And of course there are plenty of interesting trips that he would still love to take.
His early travel often accompanied his positions with international organizations: the CIA in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam; assistant publisher of Time and Life, publisher of Fortune; President, Chase World Information Corporation (a Chase bank subsidiary); President, Boyden International, an executive search firm in forty countries.
Later trips followed his interest in world history, appreciation for nature, and fascinating places in our constantly changing world. He usually returned from trips with some scribbled notes, which he would quickly write up. Friends and family eagerly awaited these “Trip Reports” after each journey, and now they are being shared with everyone.
There are a few points to keep in mind when reading the reports. Many of the reports presented are scanned PDF’s of the copies that were originally distributed. You will find errors -- typos, grammatical, and other. The reports were created within days of arriving home, with an emphasis on getting them out within days of his return. The style is informal, almost as if he is sitting and talking about the trip. They were never polished pieces, as they were never created with any intent to be published beyond photocopies for friends.
Since the reports were intended for family and friends, you will sometimes find references to people who either accompanied Putney on the trips, family members, or others who were connected in some way. It is not really important if you know them or not; it should not detract from the report.
One name that does need mention is Frank Wheeler. After expressing an interest in learning “how to travel”, he joined Putney on a trip to Burma. Frank was either hooked on Putney’s travel style, or at least willing to put up with it, because they ended up taking 14 trips together.
Lastly, keep in mind that some of the trips contain information that may be out of date. Certainly facts and figures such as populations and economic statistics, and political situations have changed, and any references to hotels, eating spots, and guides should be double-checked. Not surprising, since his number one bit of advice has always been to “go to places that are going to change”