From the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Kindness of Strangers comes a humorous and deeply revealing memoir about travel, perseverance, and the surprising places we find inspiration. In 1962, when Mike McIntyre's colorful grandmother becomes the first member of his working-class California family to travel overseas, she returns with a Pan Am tote bag, its side emblazoned with a big blue ball, the airline's iconic blue globe logo. Enchanted through childhood by the magical bag, McIntyre hurtles headlong into a life of wanderlust and adventure, transforming himself from a small-town slacker into an acclaimed, globe-trotting journalist. In a book that is both coming-of-age story and travelogue, he illuminates his journey with a candid, compelling prose that has earned him praise as "a reader's dream" (San Diego Union-Tribune). Funny, moving, offbeat, and ultimately, unforgettable, The Big Blue Ball vividly captures one man's meandering search for his place in the world.