Sunday Reading: Our Far-Flung Correspondents

Looking through the entrance of a cave to the ocean
Photograph by Alberto Lowe / Reuters / Alamy

For many decades, The New Yorker has run a series of columns called Our Far-Flung Correspondents. These pieces commonly chronicle journeys our writers have taken that are by turns revelatory, moving, and sometimes harrowing. This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces from our archive about these journeys and the distant regions that our writers traverse. In “Paddling After Henry David Thoreau,” John McPhee retraces the philosopher’s famous canoe voyage through the rivers of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In “A State of Nature,” Jennie Erin Smith travels to the lush Central American forest known as the Darién Gap and explores the complexities of ecotourism. In “The March of the Strandbeests,” Ian Frazier visits Holland and writes about the Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s remarkable kinetic sculptures, which are powered solely by wind. In “Medical Mountaineers,” Rebecca Solnit reports on the heroic efforts of health-care workers in the Himalayas. Finally, in “Swingers,” Ian Parker examines the fascinating habits of bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We hope that you find these pieces as enchanting as we do—whether you’re currently sitting on your sofa or lucky enough to be on a journey of your own.

— David Remnick


Illustration by Edward Sorel

Retracing the waterways of Thoreau’s first book.


Life, death, and tourism in the Darién Gap.


Photograph by Lena Herzog

Theo Jansen’s wind-powered sculpture.


Photograph by Chiara Goia for The New Yorker

Delivering basic care to the remote Himalayas.


Swingers

Bonobos are celebrated as peace-loving, matriarchal, and sexually liberated. Are they?