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Andrew McCarthy discusses his travel writing at 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at Book Passage in Corte Madera. (Provided by Book Passage)

Twenty years ago, "Brat Pack" actor Andrew McCarthy read a book about walking the Camino de Santiago, Spain's ancient pilgrimage route, and it inspired him to walk it himself. "That sort of changed the way I felt in the world, and it helped me stop being afraid of the world," recalled McCarthy, 49. "It helped me realize travel obliterates fear." He's just written a travel book called "The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down." Here's an edited talk with him:

How did you start writing about travel?

I met the editor at National Geographic Traveler and I convinced him to let me write a piece for them. I said, 'Let me write it, if it doesn't work, you don't pay me.' And he went, 'I can live with that.'

Are your children good travelers?

Everything to them is an adventure. My kids love the plane. They love going through security. I took my son to the Sahara, and he had an incredible experience. We had a 12-hour car ride through Morocco, and at home if we were in the car for more than 20 minutes, he would've had an issue. But he was fantastic.

How does travel affect you?

People think they're going to escape, (but) people always have meltdowns. You go, you leave everything you know that you've safely constructed to keep yourself from having any anxiety, and you go to a beach and you lie there, and all you have is your mind. I always think travel is not about escape at all -- it's about confronting yourself.


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-- Alicia Rancilio, Associated Press