The first book I read that was specifically on the 2012 phenomenon was The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History  (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2009), by John Major Jenkins. Jenkins is one of the most prolific and passionate 2012ologists out there. His 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 is regarded as a groundbreaking work in the field, “easily one of the best researched of the popular books that focus on the 2012 date,” as one colleague wrote.
In The 2012 Story, Jenkins covers everything from the ancients' forward-reaching stone inscriptions to 2012 as a modern global meme. "2012 has gained the status of an icon,” he writes, “a cultural symbol, to be used and often abused for purposes that have nothing to do with its origins and the intentions of its creators.” The book sums up Jenkins's galactic alignment theory and others' work as well.
I'm happy to have John Major Jenkins on the bill at this upcoming event in Boulder, Colorado, where he will be giving a lecture on 2012 and his research: "2012: The Beginning! Celebrating Maya Culture Past and Present" (Friday, September 28, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, at Nomad Theater in Boulder, CO) .
While researching my book, MAYA 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras , I got to talk to John Major Jenkins about traveling in the Mundo Maya.
JOSHUA BERMAN: When did you first travel to a Mundo Maya country and how did it impact you?
JOHN MAJOR JENKINS: On a long trip in 1986 and 1987, funded by working the night shift in a factory for a year. I was 22. It was very important, and I returned in 1988, ‘89, ‘90, ’94, and many times afterward. I realized that the Maya civilization understood astronomy in ways that we were just beginning to discover.
JB: What advice do you have for someone traveling to a Maya village and/or archeological site for the first time?
JMJ: Take your time, wander around, take it all in. Get a sense of the space, take pictures and study the details later.
JB: What is the worst and/or most memorable travel experience you've had in the Mundo Maya countries?
JMJ: Way back in the 1980s I dealt with pickpockets--twice. Nonviolent but very inconvenient. That's always a possibility. I have been sick with Montezuma's revenge--very unpleasant. Have had many incredible heartwarming experiences with the Maya people, living and working in the highlands, and meeting interesting travelers from all over the world. My study of Izapa--the place that was involved in formulating the 2012 calendar--is also very important to me (and still largely ignored by mainstream academia, even though I was the first to identify and publish the ball court’s alignment to the December solstice sunrise).
JB: Do you have any travel plans in the year 2012?
JMJ: Since there will be a feeding frenzy designed to fleece tourists, I don't think the big sites will be good places to go. Palenque might be nice, though. I’d suggest Izapa, of course, that would make sense. Copán in Honduras  would be nice. I have made no plans for the December 21 day. But the whole year will be filled with events and presentations.