Imagine: A Vagabond Story

Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel

By Grant Lingel

Publisher : Langdon Street Press

ABOUT Grant Lingel

Grant Lingel
Writer. New Yorker. Lover of life. Vagabond.


Have you ever wondered what would happen if one day you decided to leave everything behind and start fresh in a foreign country?

IMAGINE is a memoir of sex, drugs and Salsa dancing, but even more so it’s a tale of rare camaraderie and of life-changing adventures that can only happen with an open mind and a spontaneous spirit. This is an unforgettable true story that will intrigue, inform, and most of all, inspire those who are fortunate enough to come across it.

Imagine a one-way plane ticket to Mexico, with only three hundred dollars and a passion for adventure. Grant instantly falls in love with the Caribbean lifestyle and its free-spirited people. He sets out to find work in a reversal of the traditional paradigm of Mexicans seeking work in America, managing to make ends meet while keeping up with an exciting social agenda. The impromptu road trip that ensues with six new friends into Central America lands him in Guatemala, volunteering at hostels for room and board.

IMAGINE: A VAGABOND STORY is Grant’s adventure, an incredible journey packed with an international cast of revolving characters that defined his future and forever transformed his outlook on life.

When Grant Lingel left Western New York in January of 2006, he had a bag of clothes, a few hundred dollars and a one-way ticket to Mexico. Like many at age twenty-two, Grant had no idea what to expect after school in the so-called ‘real world’. All he knew was that he needed to break free and do something extraordinary. The year that followed turned out to be an inspiring and eye-opening adventure through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. When Grant moved to Mexico, he had no idea what was in store for him. However, the excitement of possibly finding a less trampled trail fueled his desire and the drive to make something happen. The beauty of such an endeavor is that no matter the result, overcoming the fear to step outside your comfort zone can lay out paths that never seemed possible to walk down. Comfort zones are abstract, created specifically to limit the actions of the individual. Overcoming the fear that lurks on its outer thresholds transforms dream worlds into reality. All it takes is an initial lunge in the right direction and the rest, given the right attitude, will snowball into place. Grant was able to parlay a few hundred dollars and a one-way plane ticket into a year of travel and jungle trekking, caving, cliff jumping, scuba diving, volcano climbing and more in the Latin world. Initially, the lure of cheap drugs and easy sex led Grant to a play-all-day, party-all-night lifestyle, mixing the business of working at a resort with the pleasures of being on the beach with rich guests and adventurous friends. So when the opportunity to join a group of strangers in a van headed south presented itself Grant knew he had to take it. He spent two weeks across three countries with six new companions before staying behind in southwestern Guatemala to volunteer in a hostel. It was there, working as a server in a small corner of Central America, that Grant encountered a global subculture of backpackers from different countries, speaking different languages yet sharing two defining features: a backpack and an open mind. Every day was exciting and fresh as he listened to countless stories from places that never existed in his world before the road. It was this long journey through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala that taught him it’s the people along the way who shape who you are and who you become. It is they who taught Grant about the world and more importantly, about himself.

"...Lingel does a masterful job of letting the reader get inside his mind, as he exposes his self-doubts, triumphs, and innermost thoughts. His vivid descriptions of the people and third-world cultures he encounters give the reader the feeling of almost being along on the journey. If you don’t have the wherewithal to go vagabonding yourself, Imagine is the next best thing..."

"...This truly is a remarkable story about an extremely spur of the moment kind of guy that makes some amazing friendships along the way. From start to finish I was loving this book..."

"...Beyond the initial shock value of the party lifestyle, Imagine is a story of personal growth. Through his travels, Grant learns more about himself, defines his personality, and develops a foundation of self that no doubt has helped him to become a published author. He writes very honestly and without ego (a unique quality in an author), which allows the reader to follow along his journey and to learn his lessons too... Imagine: A Vagabond Story hooked me in, and has me wondering what the author’s next adventure will be..."

"...This book is an unpretentious narrative of his journey, from his genuine doubts before his trip and his endearing descriptions of his relationships with his parents, to the crazy predicaments he got himself into while abroad. Honesty shines through every page without reservation... I recommend this book not only because it will move you to travel and learn about the world, but because it will remind you to approach life with openness, no matter where you are..."

"...I was immediately consumed by it, and then I finished it. All in like.. a day. Because it’s that good...the book was such a quick, enjoyable, and inspiring read..."

"...Grant’s boundless energy, adventurous tales and youthful exuberance disguise a truly personal journey of self-discovery, building of character, freedom and growing-up, yet one he is contented to share with the world. It is an easy-reading book I heartily recommend and would make an excellent travel companion on your next journey..."

"...Imagine: A Vagabond Story is the ultimate backpacker’s tale... it transported me to another world of easy come, easy go hostel lifestyle, where best friends are made and said goodbye to in the space of a few days and where the drugs, tequila and pretty girls are always available..."

"...At some point or another, most of us just threaten to up and leave. Pack up what we need, sell the rest, and get a one-way ticket to anyplace but here... Grant Lingel did it in the winter of 2006 with just a few credits from receiving his college degree, leaving family, and friends for the beaches of Mexico... For readers, this could very well be the seed that takes root and won’t let go until you relent and buy your own one-way ticket to paradise..."

"...Imagine: A Vagabond Story is a whirlwind tale of Grant’s journey with freedom, spontaneity, love and lust through Central America..."

"...A life on the edge with extreme sporting, extreme partying, and sucking the very marrow out of each day of life, leaves the reader wishing to buy a one-way-ticket to a sandy beach..."

"...Grant’s spontaneous spirit is unforgettable and extremely shocking while reading his story..."

"... Imagine: A Vagabond Story is honest, without being presumptuous or pompous... It’s a vivid scene brought to life through the intricate descriptions and details of each hostel, trip, and person Lingel encounters... Imagine is a fun story with familiar elements for most travelers and some new adventures for others..."

"...Grant’s story continually reminded me that amazing events can unfold when you open yourself up to new experiences..."