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No Certain Destination in Mind: A Young Man's Travel Journal, 1937-1938 by Clinton Peltier
A traveling adventure to South America on a limited budget during the Great Depression.

“We are leaving Westwood on a trip with no certain destination in mind”—so begins the log, as Clint and Les piled their gear into his 1925 Jewett automobile and left town at the break-neck speed of 33 miles per hour. The journal chronicles travels that took Clint from California to places as far south as Panama, through eight countries and thirteen states, a journey of over five months, covering several thousand miles. It seems that the two travelers really had “no certain destination in mind,” though in a letter to Russ, Clint mentions wanting to travel down the Andes on horseback, and eventually hoping to continue his journey around the world. 

The journal and accompanying letters reveal many of the hopes and dreams—as well as the worries—of a young person during the turbulent years of 1937 and 1938. It reveals Clint’s inner conflicts: Should he embrace the loneliness but independence of traveling solo, or should he choose the camaraderie but burden of traveling with old as well as newfound friends? Should he return to his hometown to help out his aging parents with a younger brother and sister still at home? How does one get along in a new culture where tourists and travelers can be an easy mark for swindlers? What does a young man with limited financial resources, traveling in strange and different cultures, do for entertainment at night, besides getting “well oiled”?

My father’s travel log is a piece of my family history, but it is also a piece of America’s history. --Sally Harvey

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