From places to pages: Knebel travel book on shelves now
By Audrey Bailey
Printed on the cover of the new book, “Flushed with Curiosity: 101 travel tales with a twist,” photos from around the world border a familiar image of white, partially unrolled toilet paper.
Drawn on the paper are sketched-out human figures seen squatting, situated there to better illustrate the variances in bathroom practices between Eastern and Western societies.
This was the philosophy Donald Knebel, 69, author and Current columnist, had in mind when he created this book, showcasing 101 of his 150 travel columns.
“The idea was to give people a sense of the world that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Knebel said.
A resident of Zionsville for 16 years, Knebel has always had a passion for traveling. He has a wife, Jennifer, whom he travels with, and three children: Mary, Caitlin and Chase. Knebel originally graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree, but after a few years, decided to pursue a different path, and attended Harvard Law School.
In 1974, Knebel moved to Indianapolis to work as partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He retired in 2013, and now works as an adjunct professor at Indiana University, lectures about religious understanding, and writes a travel column for Current.
Knebel first began writing these columns back in 2011.
Before this, Knebel’s passion had taken him and his wife to “all the places most people go,” including cities like Rome and Paris. But, before too long, the two were booking flights and exploring some of the worlds more exotic destinations.
“In the spring of 2006, we decided to go to Israel for about 10 days and came back with a sense that we really needed to learn more about the history and cultures of the Middle East, which is where civilization started,” Knebel said.
From there, Knebel and his wife went to Egypt, India, Syria, Turkey, Morocco and several more places, adding up to a total of around 35 different countries; all of which are featured in Knebel’s columns, along with his new book.
The tales and accounts presented in “Flushed with Curiosity” are printed and placed according to historical chronological order.
After the novel’s opening story in Jericho, Knebel precedes to one of his most memorable destinations in Northeast Africa, where he illustrates the ancient, yet advanced civilizations of Egypt.
“Of all the places we’ve been, the one that was most eye-opening was probably Egypt. The reason is, so many of the world’s religions were all religious concepts that go all the way back to Egypt,” Knebel said.
These religious concepts rooted in ancient Egyptian culture include purification by water, seen in Judaism and Christianity, and origins of the Christian Trinity.
Knebel uses these narratives as a foundation for what has inspired him to travel to various foreign places and share the cultural practices each holds dear.
And, throughout his excursions to areas some westerners might consider off-limits, Knebel has managed to observe many overarching similarities between these societies.
“Ultimately, people are more alike. Everybody wants to have their family be successful, themselves be successful, be productive; they want to believe in something bigger than themselves,” Knebel said. “We all want to believe in something beyond ourselves.”
“Flushed With Curiosity” will be featured at Black Dog Books in Zionsville on Nov. 7 from 2-3 p.m. Knebel will be signing books and giving a presentation on his travel to Cuba, beginning at 3 p.m.