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Richard Grant

Richard Grant is an author, freelance journalist, and television host. He grew up mostly in London, England, and now lives in Mississippi. He writes for Smithsonian, New York Times, Garden and Gun, the Guardian, and many other publications. His books are all nonfiction, and they include the adventure travel classic God’s Middle Finger, about a lawless mountain range in Mexico, and American Nomads, a history and memoir of wanderlust in North America. His latest book is the Southern best-seller Dispatches From Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta.

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. Shelter. I lived for years in the deserts and mountains out West with almost no possessions, and no home. A tent is a very good thing to have in a storm. So is a sleeping bag on a cold night.
  2. A knife.
  3. Transportation. I love to go on long walks in wild places, but this is a big country, and a vehicle is a necessity.
  4. Liquids to drink. Water, coffee, wine, whiskey, beer: in that order of importance.
  5. Food. We have to eat to live, so let’s do it as well as possible. I think about food almost constantly. Chili peppers and cheese would be the hardest things to give up. And steak seared over the coals of a . . .
  6. Fire. Staring into a campfire under the stars, telling stories around a campfire, sipping whiskey around a campfire. And my old farmhouse in Pluto, Miss., is heated by pot-bellied stoves, deepening my relationship with wood and fire.
  7. Shoes. I’ve spent time with tribal people who don’t wear them, and I envy their feet, which appear carved out of wood. But I’m civilization’s child and I need my sneakers and hiking boots and lace-ups.
  8. Books. I can’t imagine my mind without the thousands of books that have shaped it.
  9. Music. Blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, ambient, Afrobeat, soukous, folk, funk, hip-hop, trip-hop, folk rock, house, Brazilian, Panamanian, roots reggae, dancehall, dub, grime . . . this list could keep going.
  10. Love.

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