Megan Hinge recommends a book that challenges us to look inwards, at the same time as considering the lives of those around us…
“Take Me With You: A Round-the-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home, by Brad Newsham. This was a book I could not put down. As well as being an amazing true story, the book is also packed full with inspiring travel quotes to ponder.
Read Mike Collin’s autobiography, A Few Steps Too Far, and it strikes you that this is one man who has left his indelible footprint on the world. His adventures at home have been many and he’s sought out incredible experiences in a lifetime’s worth of travels. And not one to slow down, in his 78th year it was a combination of good writing and good fortune that led him to an Intrepid Nepal trip. Would this be 3rd time lucky for his attempt at Everest Base Camp?…
“In late 2008 I entered a competition set by the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society to write a five hundred word essay on “That Special Moment” – something that had been a life-changing experience. I have been lucky enough to have several special moments, but the one that really meant something was meeting the elderly Monk in the hills above Taunggi while I was working in Burma. I have tried to portray this meeting in the section above describing my International Red Cross employment. Making something readable and sensible in only 500 words was the challenge of course, but in February ‘09 we were very surprised to hear that I had won the “Mountain” category. The prize was two-fold – an excellent Gore-tex Arc’teryx climbing jacket and a highly subsidised trek to Everest Base Camp and an ascent of Kala Patthar for the incomparable view. – Decision time!
“To inspire others, through writing, to experience the magic of global travel.” That was Brad Newsham’s self-assigned mission back in 1983 and he’s followed through. Newsham has written numerous articles plus two great round-the-world memoirs since then, and it was one of his novels that inspired Sally Arnold to pack herself off to the Philippines…
“The Philippines was a place I’d never really thought about as a holiday destination. I knew very little about it except stories of the Marcos years and of course Imelda’s shoe collection. That was until I read Take Me with You, by Brad Newsham.
Kyoto is a city replete with ancient treasures and cultural delights. It’s also the setting for Arthur Golden’s famous Memoirs of a Geisha, a powerful pre-WWII story of two abandoned sisters, one of whom becomes a protege of the most successful geisha in Kyoto’s Gion district. The book comes to life as you stroll along the banks of the Kamo River to Hanami-koji and Chotie Moloney couldn’t imagine a better way to spend her last days in Japan…
“I was walking through the pages of the book, imagining what life was like for Sayuri and the other geisha; dressed in their magnificent silk kimono, the cherry blossom gently dancing in their hair as they walked along the footpaths of Shijo Avenue, teetering on their okobo. Imagining sounds of traditional shamisen strings and their melodic voices. And after sunset, when the red lanterns glow, seeing visions of these poised performers outside the doorways of the ochaya, local tea houses.
A good book can whisk us away from our daily grind and take us into the pages of the author’s journey. A powerful novel can also inspire our own adventures, as Giuseppe Gabusi discovered after reading A Fortune Teller Told Me…
“I strongly recommend the book which made me discover Asia. It is written by Tiziano Terzani, an Italian journalist from Florence who died in 2004 after spending an entire life in Asia as correspondent of the German magazine Der Spiegel. This book, written in mid-90s, is probably his masterpiece.
Asia is exotic, quirky, bizarre, beautiful and above all completely captivating. In fact Ange Takats was so betwitched by Thailand during an Intrepid trip that it led her to many more amazing adventures throughout the region and eventually the writing of her very own book…
“It’s not every day that an Australian girl finds herself attending a funeral for a water buffalo in Thailand… but that’s exactly what happened when I took up a job as a foreign correspondent in Southeast Asia.
The buffalo’s name was Boonlert and his big dead body was hanging inside a shed in a remote Thai village, with fairy lights wrapped around his horns and flowers stuffed into his ears. There were Buddhist monks, draped in orange robes, praying in front of him when I arrived with my cameraman and the spectacle of that story proved to be so memorable that it inspired the title of my memoir: The Buffalo Funeral: Soundbites from a Songbird in Siam.
Read a good book lately? Intrepid’s Jo Stewart picked up America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip In Search of Non-Corporate USA and quickly discovered that this author was taking a very different route…
“This quirky travel memoir documents the epic journey of British funny man Dave Gorman, who attempted to travel America from coast to coast without using the services of any food franchises, hotel chains or corporate-owned gas stations. That’s right, no drive-thru from Burger King, no pumping gas at a BP or bedding down at the Hilton. All food, accommodation and gas must be sourced from independently owned businesses – no excuses!
A surefire way to spot a good book is not wanting it to end. Chaya Kapadia recommends a great book for the backpack that had her wishing for more pages…
“I just finished reading The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, which made me want to run out and book myself on the first flight to Eastern Europe – Bucharest, Romania, Sofia, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Turkey and many of the surrounding countries as well.
“Four men dragged her, screaming and pleading, into an empty stable next to a meeting area…Once home, she prepared to do what any Pakistani peasant woman would normally do in that situation: kill herself.”
Half the Sky; Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, written by the Pulitzer prize winning couple Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is not a book for the faint hearted! It is a compilation of some horrifying true stories used to unashamedly jolt readers into action to address the oppression of women.
Although it makes for a heavy read and delves into some rather sickening individual anecdotes, Half the Sky is also an inspiring narrative of how women, with a little support, can overcome their adversity and create great positive change within their communities.