Book Review #2: Embrace Fearlessly The Burning World by Barry Lopez

I thought fitting in was paramount to one’s disappearance or death while alive, so reading Lopez’s quote hit a sore spot initially, but I also wondered what he meant by fitting in as an avid traveler myself. I am glad I gave Embrace Fearlessly The Burning World and myself a chance because it altered how I think about traveling and being in pursuit of meaning. 

What is the book about?

Travel writer and essayist Barry Lopez won numerous awards for his work, which was primarily focused on the field of environmental writing. He traveled to over eighty countries for fifty years, wrote for magazines such as National Geographic, and published twenty books. Embrace Fearlessly The Burning World is an essay collection and Lopez’s last work.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Barry Lopez travels to some of the world’s most inaccessible places: from Antarctica to the deserts of Australia, confronting his fears and past with utmost honesty. His essays not only describe the local life, geography, and climate of the places he visits but also go into sensitive details about his childhood. Thus, an unprecedented book of recollections emerges.

Why do I like it?

I love Lopez’s candid and understated language. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself; rather, he embraces the changes around him and appreciates his deteriorating body. He’s mindful of his surroundings but also sees the bigger picture while offering heartwarming advice to his readers on coping with life, changes, and mortality. 

I also like that Barry Lopez is aware of the privileges that being a white American male brings and chooses to listen to the locals on his travels rather than trying to be their voice. In addition, he’s involved with environmental advocacy and passionate about defending this world’s being our only home. 

What question does it raise for me?

Is there a better place beyond our fears? Do our fears stem from not wanting to commit? 

“The question for me really isn’t whether I’m afraid: it’s whether I wish to commit… Yes, I know. But please, come with me. What we are about to see is greater than the thing you’re running from” is the original quote that made me ask these questions—and it is the most meaningful one for me for personal reasons. 

While reading Barry Lopez, I ended up with more questions than answers. And then I circled back to what originally attracted me to the book and realized: my urge to ask all those questions was nothing but fragile attempts to express a human desire: to belong. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments (



  1. Nícia Cruz

    wow, that really seems a great book. i’m that issue of belonging as well. however, my self-diagnosis of autism and ADHD and then finding other people like myself helped me a lot on not feeling as weird, plus having that sense of belonging.

    on another note, i was such a fan of brainpickings, but i didn’t visit the site for a long time, so i haven’t realised it changed its name. i liked the change (and i don’t usually enjoy unexpected shiftings haha)

    Liked by 1 person

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: