Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind. The Best American Travel Writing 2004 transports readers from Patagonia to Ivory Coast to small-town Vermont. Readers are treated to car and truck trips across America, can fall "in lust" in the South Pacific, and go into the heart of the Congo to rescue gorillas. This year's volume is edited by Pico Iyer, who writes in his fascinating introduction, "Restlessness is part of the American way. It's part of what brought many of the rest of us to America." The Best American Travel Writing 2004 displays American restlessness at its most tantalizing and entertaining.