Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Book Review - "Once While Travelling: The Lonely Planet Story" by Tony and Maureen Wheeler

Once While Travelling: The Lonely Planet Story, follows Tony and Maureen Wheeler’s progression from penniless travellers to the brain children behind the world’s largest independent travel publishing company.

An honest, heart-warming account, detailing the day-to-day tribulations of working long hours to achieve a much desired dream, coupled with the occasional financial and relationship glitch along the way. Whilst largely autobiographical, the book portrays an honest take on the day-to-day life of a travel writer on the road, alongside giving the reader a sound understanding of the corporate background, including the reasons why in 2007 they sold the majority stakehold to BBC Worldwide.

What transpires throughout this book is the Wheeler’s passion for travel and their determination to succeed, whilst maintaining humility and modesty in living the kind of life that most people dream of living.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Real Travel Magazine - November 2008: book review of 'Blood River' by Tim Butcher

Book review for the monthly travel magazine Real Travel :

For as long as he can remember, the Congo has been Daily Telegraph correspondent, Tim Butcher’s zahir.
Eager to trace his mother’s footsteps through the deepest part of the Dark Continent and to re-live the same experiences as fellow Telegraph correspondent Henry Morton Stanley, in 2004 Tim embarked upon the journey of a life time crossing the Congo, the heart of tropical Africa.

Over the course of 44 days, he covered hundreds of kilometres over land and via any form of water vessels available, including a dug out canoe!

Every detail is described so vividly, from his encounters with the UN aid workers and locals along the way, to his fears and doubts as he discovers more of the history of a country that has suffered at the hands of outsiders. As Tim so simply states “the Congo represents the quintessence of the entire continent’s colonial experience”.
Interestingly he comments that this is one rare place that fails the coca-cola test – something quite rare, as even in some of the remotest parts I visited in Zimbabawe, I still managed to find Coca-cola.

Butcher’s impulse to follow his dream, against all advice, is something that I truly admired. The more I carried on reading, the more jealous I became, as I yearned to experience once again the excitement and inquisitiveness of challenging the un-known.

Blood River is an extraordinary and gripping account of a one man’s journey across a country plagued by years of atrocities. A must read for anyone wanting to read a first hand account of modern day Congo.