Born To Travel
by Frank Korbl
I stumbled on this one (as I do with so many books) by chance, while trawling a second hand book store; with a title like that, and costing a mere $10, I could hardly say no! The blurb seemed interesting enough; Austrian-born author Frank recalls his travels over the years, starting with his time in Austria, transitioning from the German Luftwaffe to the Australian RAAF.
It was a beautiful read. I’m sure not everyone would agree. There were a few typos and grammatical errors that I picked up on, the story clearly lacking the necessary editing to do it justice. What I loved about this book though was that it wasn’t about any great adventure or grand escapade. It was about one man’s journeys, sometimes to new places, sometimes re-visiting family over many years of his life. The stories and perspective with which they were told changed with his age and experience. It was simple and easy reading, but it was honest and true-hearted. There was nothing dramatic, no “OMG!” moments, but a real re-telling of what were obviously important moments in his life.
He told about his time in Vietnam, serving in the armed forces. Re-visiting his aunt in Austria. Sojourns on cruise ships with his wife. Exploring the streets of Hong Kong and Singapore relying on word of mouth and roughly sketched maps, long before TripAdvisor and Google Maps took control. Frank is also quite the proponent for guided tours, advocating joining one in each new city, in order to take advantage of the advice and expertise of the local guides. He writes about the people he encountered, remembering fondly the kindness and friendship he experienced on the road and the people he kept in touch with over the years.
It really was a touching and lovely read, relatively quick, and accompanied by photos taken by Frank himself over the years. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend this to anyone who wants a break from the usual “look what I did!” travel books. This is a tale from another era. If you’re not as lucky as I was, stumbling on it in a used book store, I believe you can find your own copy here or here.