From the book jacket: 

A gorgeous work of literary journalism that follows a nomadic family’s fraught migration to the high Himalayan plains, as a changing world closes in around them.

Following his vivid account of traveling with one of the last camel caravans on earth in Men of Salt, Michael Benanav now brings us along on a journey with a tribe of forest-dwelling nomads in India. Welcomed into a family of nomadic water buffalo herders, he joins them on their annual spring migration into the Himalayas. More than a glimpse into an endangered culture, this superb adventure explores the relationship between humankind and wild lands, and the dubious effect of environmental conservation on peoples whose lives are inseparably intertwined with the natural world.

The migration Benanav embarked upon was plagued with problems, as government officials threatened to ban this nomadic family―and others in the Van Gujjar tribe―from the high alpine meadows where they had summered for centuries. Faced with the possibility that their beloved buffaloes would starve to death, and that their age-old way of life was doomed, the family charted a risky new course, which would culminating in an astonishing mountain rescue. And Benanav was arrested for documenting the story of their plight.

Intimate and enthralling, Himalaya Bound paints a sublime picture of a rarely-seen world, revealing the hopes and fears, hardships and joys, of a people who wonder if there is still a place for them on this planet.

Laced with stories of tribal cultures from India to Yellowstone, from Jordan to Kenya, Benanav deftly wends through the controversial terrain where Western ways of protecting the environment clash with indigenous understandings of nature. Himalaya Bound celebrates and mourns an ancient way of life, while revealing an unlikely battleground in the fight to save the earth. 

Includes 16 pages of color photographs.  Release date: January 2, 2018.

Out in Paperback on May 14, 2019!

Click Here to Order Himalaya Bound from Amazon or from IndieBound.
















Reviews of Himalaya Bound

BEST TRAVEL BOOK of 2018 - BRONZE MEDALIST - Society of American Travel Writers

WINNER - Best General Non-Fiction Title - Los Angeles Book Festival

BookPage's TOP PICK for Nonfiction, January 2018! -- “Benanav deftly weaves scientific and historic context into the story of one family and one migration. As he does, he also shares an American’s perspective of this radically different way of life. The result is a compelling, thoughtful tale that encourages readers to examine their lives and impact upon the earth.”

"At first, it seems that a forest-dwelling family of nomadic water buffalo herders and their epic migration to the high Himalayan plains is the main subject of Michael Benanav’s compelling piece of literary journalism, Himalaya Bound: One Family’s Quest to Save Their Animals and an Ancient Way of Life (Pegasus Books). But the book reveals itself to be about the hopes, hardships, and fears of a people who wonder if there is still even a place for them on this planet. In other words, Himalaya Bound is about all of us." - The Santa Fe New Mexican

“Riveting” – The Daily Pioneer

“A perceptive account…evocative and full of drama….Michael Benanav describes an unfamiliar culture with admirable insight and empathy. Himalaya Bound is an important contribution to mountain narratives, along with being a compelling memoir of understanding between cultures. At heart, this is a story of friendship and trust, told with the kind of integrity and compassion that often seems absent in our world today.” – Biblio: A Review of Books

"A photojournalist and wilderness guide explores tensions between the conservation impulse and the lives of imperiled nomadic herders in this sympathetic but balanced account of their arduous days on the trail. In 2009, Benanav (Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, 2006) traveled with the Van Gujjars of northern India, a forest-dwelling tribe of water buffalo herders, as they made their seasonal migration from the Shivalik region into the high alpine meadows of the Himalayas. Sharing the simple pleasures and hardships of an extended family, the author came to understand how pressure to abandon their wild grazing lands and freedom for sedentary lives in villages threatens the tribe's existence...That Benanav is drawn to nomadic peoples is clear, as are his sympathies, but this does not prevent him from investigating complex ethical and environmental issues pitting forest department and national park officials against the traditions of nomads whose stewardship of the contested lands may hold a key to their survival...Benanav's avoidance of excess description makes his occasional passages of evocative language all the more powerful. In the end, his portrait of the land and its little-known nomads is impressively closely observed. An involving, often touching story of an admirable people as well as a cautionary tale about the effects of rapid change and counterproductive conservation efforts on traditional societies." - Kirkus

“At its core the issue is how we conceive of nature: as necessarily separate from humans, or as bound up with those who have shaped it. This debate is playing out as Benanav arrives in the Shivaliks, as it will for much of the journey. At stake is not just the year’s migration but the future of the family and the tribe’s way of life.  A tender and timely portrait.” — The Star Tribune

“Reaches to the heart of a sensitive and complex issue. Benanav paints an intimate portrait of his new-found friends, of how they live and play, think and pray.” - Geographical Magazine

“A deeply personal account….Himalaya Bound is a travelogue in the real sense, but also much more. It is an important testimony to a way of life — and a way of interacting with animals . I wish there were many more books like it! Don’t miss this unique and immensely readable tale about people at India’s margins that do more for animal welfare than anybody else.” – Hindustan Times

“A rare glimpse into the hidden world of a tribe of vegetarian Muslims, who risk their lives for their animals.” – The Times of India

"An intriguing foray into an increasingly vulnerable way of life." - Booklist

“'Himalaya Bound reveals a gentle and vigorous people whose fate is tied to their livestock, though it is more accurate to call their water buffalo family members…Benanav is not a distant, clinical observer as this family begins to move toward the mountains. He becomes part of them, lending a hand where and when he can while forming close bonds, which don’t seem to alter his sinuous prose…The personal relationships the author forms here are what makes Himalaya Bound so enriching, so join this migration yourself. The rewards are there to be harvested.” - Providence Journal

Click Here to Order Himalaya Bound from Amazon


















Book Tour Dates - 2019

Join the author at venues around the country, where he will be giving slide shows based on Himalaya Bound, inviting audiences to experience the fascinating story of this nomadic migration through a series of remarkable images.  

Sun June 9 - Bend, OR - Deschutes Public Library - 3pm

Mon June 10 - Portland, OR - Annie Bloom’s Books - 7pm

Tue June 11 - Seattle, WA - Elliott Bay Book Co. - 7pm

Wed June 12 - Anacortes, WA - Watermark Book Co. - 6pm

Thur June 13 - Bellingham, WA - Village Books (Fairhaven) - 7pm

Sat June 15 - Bozeman, MT - Country Bookshelf - 5pm

Mon June 17 - Missoula, MT - Fact & Fiction - 7pm

TBA - Salida, CO

Previous tour dates have included events at The Explorers Club in New York City; Politics & Prose in Washington, DC; Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA; and Tattered Cover in Denver.
















Michael Benanav is the author of three books, including Men Of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, for which he traveled 1000 miles with one of the last working camel caravans on earth. His work, including articles and images from five continents, appears in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Geographical Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Lonely Planet, and more. He is also the founder of Traditional Cultures Project, an educational non-profit that documents traditional and indigenous cultures around the world. For more, visit his website at www.michaelbenanav.com.

                                                 photo by Ben Chrisman

                                                 photo by Ben Chrisman