When Matt Gross finished college, he moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — without a job or any friends there. He was “twenty-two, clueless, and lucky,” and calls it one of the best decisions he’s made. The experience inspired future adventures: Gross eventually became The New York Times’s Frugal Traveler and later wrote their “Getting Lost” column, turning wandering into a full-time career.
His debut travelogue, “The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World” is a collection of anecdotes from these (mostly solo) wanderings. Gross calls it the “last guidebook you’ll ever need,” urging readers to leave behind maps, brochures, and technological devices and go explore. But his disjoined narrative and self-involved tone weaken otherwise colorful stories.