Tripping the World Fantastic


A fascinating journey through the world’s musical cultures.

Every culture on Earth has music. Every culture that’s ever existed has had it, but we don’t exactly know why. Music is not like food, shelter, or having opposable thumbs. We don’t need it to live, and yet we can’t seem to live without it. Glenn Dixon travels the globe exploring how and why people make music. From a tour of Bob Marley’s house to sitar lessons in India, he experiences music around the world and infuses the stories with the latest in brain research, genetics, and evolutionary psychology. Why does music give us chills down the backs of our necks? What exactly are the whales singing about and why does some music stick in our minds like chewing gum?

Through his adventures, Dixon uncovers the real reasons why music has such a powerful hold on us – and the answers just might surprise you.


This travelogue is given deeper meaning and interest by the inner journey that parallels it. For the author structures his travels to explore the music that he encounters along the way. And each important musical experience is available as an online resource to listen to and absorb what it teaches us about the importance of music to humanity. This is a fascinating journey to the edge of current thinking in brain physiology: how does music work in our brain? There are some fundamental revelations happening right now in science that Glenn helps explain in the context of what he experienced and what we are able to listen to on his website.

Chris Robinson Travel Show

[Starred Review] Dixon's understanding of brain physiology and chemistry, as well as music cognition, help him provide insight into the relationship between language and music, why people crave music, why physiological bonds develop between people who sing together, and why music remains active and alive in people's minds and memories. Clearly a labor of love, the book succeeds by connecting readers intimately with the souls of music-makers all over the world.

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Reading Tripping The World Fantastic made me want to travel, to plan as Glenn Dixon planned, to venture to places historic and unique.


About the Author

Glenn Dixon

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Glenn Dixon photo

Glenn Dixon

Glenn Dixon has published travel articles in major publications such as National Geographic, the New York Post, The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, and Psychology Today. An expert on language with an M.A. in socio-linguistics, he is currently a language consultant with the Calgary Board of Education. He lives in Calgary.