What happens when you take a musician on a quest to find the meaning of life, facing the herculean task of trying to save the world, all while stoking an insatiable wanderlust? Throw in liberal doses of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and what results is Traveling High & Tripping Hard.

The story of one young man’s quest to find meaning through a series of altered states and high adventures, Traveling High & Tripping Hard is highly unusual, highly unorthodox and highly entertaining.

Davida, a former rock musician, isn’t exactly what you’d call an “everyman.” After accidentally ingesting a large dose of PCP at just 8 years old, Joseph had an apocalyptic vision that altered the course of his life forever. He started a voyage of self-discovery that led him both inward and outward. From exploring the jungles of Central America, the pyramids of Egypt and the Buddhist and Hindu temples of Kathmandu, Davida never wavered in his mission, even when faced with hardships, doubt and despair.

A memoir like no other, Traveling High & Tripping Hard serves up a grand reminder that the truth is always stranger than fiction. Resplendent with laugh-out-loud moments, awe-inspiring travel tales and staggering stories certain to induce slack-jawed disbelief, this is one bold, balls-out, bodacious book.

What shines through in this buoyant memoir is the fact that despite Davida’s unusual back story, the concepts, questions, qualms and quandaries he faces are real, relatable and universal. While some may find his particular methods of discovery outrageous, few can deny that at a certain point, we’ve asked the very same questions. And while most of us will probably never pursue such a rigorous quest with quite the same vigor, ultimately Davida’s journey is one that we are all on together.

At its heart, a story that approves such universal themes as loss, sense of place, purpose and belonging, Traveling High & Tripping Hard covers the highs, the lows and all the interesting points in between. An engaging, self-aware and often self-deprecating narrator, Davida provides a glimpse into those strange places that lie somewhere between darkness and light, hope, despair, spirituality and madness.

A consummate storyteller with a keen eye for detail and unmistakable appreciation of the absurd, the sublime, and the downright inexplicable, Davida delivers a confident and un-put-downable debut. And it turns out, the high cost of traveling is nothing like the cost of traveling high.

Davida (the pen name of a successful Nashville-based entrepreneur, former rock musician, and New Yorker) is currently at work on his next book.

January 02, 2018 | SteveElliott
By Joseph Davida, Dark Planet Press, 2018, 211 pages.