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In 1989 a tattered copy of Newsweek ended up in a tiny village on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and fell into the hands of a homesick English teacher. It contained the obituary of a writer named Bruce Chatwin, who, after years of far-flung travels, had reportedly died at 48 of a rare disease picked up on one of his adventures. The article recounted the legendary story of how Chatwin had quit his job in London by sending his boss a telegram that simply read: “Gone to Patagonia,” which set him onto an illustrious career as a travel writer and novelist.

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