Read this: Around The World (Without Counting The Pennies) by Vincent Adams Winter

Around The World (Without Counting The Pennies)
by Vincent Adams Winters

Considering the fact that I found this at an op shop, it contains absolutely no publication details, and a search online didn’t turn up any results other than a listing in the National Library of Australia catalog, this isn’t so much a “read this book” post as it is a “give your local op shop book shelves a proper look through” post.

Second hand book shops are my favourite places to pass the time. They are honest-to-goodness treasure troves, and some of my favourite are ones that I’ve found tucked away under dusty piles of random volumes. This one I discovered in an op shop in Healesville – the bright cover and title got my attention, but once I saw what it was all about, I knew I had to have it.

Written by Vince, it has all the hallmarks of being a written-for-fun book, recounting Vince and wife Betty’s adventures on their 18 months and over 20 country trip around the world in 1979-80. Vince introduces the book with a strong message that age, health and budget restrictions shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and seeing the world; both in their sixties at the time of the trip, Betty had club foot and hyper-tension, and Vince suffered from Parkinson’s disease. They visited doctors or hospitals every 6 weeks or so for treatment and medication, which was crazy to read about so many years later – imagine rolling up to a hospital in Barcelona with a letter from your doctor asking them to dispense some medication to you?!

Reading through this book was an incredible trip back in time; there was so much more freedom back then in how you could travel, few real restrictions on visas and border crossings like there are now, no real worries in finding accommodation, no serious concerns in talking to strangers. I’m a big fan of journalling as a bit of a time capsule, a way of capturing a piece of the world as it is right now, and that’s exactly what Vince and Betty’s book was.

It was also really entertaining to read about how they liked to travel – upon arriving in each new city, they had two requirements they liked to have met:
1. A bus tour of the city to get their bearings and see the general outlay, while learning a few facts about the place.
2. Accommodation that provided a good on-site restaurant, because a quality breakfast and dinner were paramount.

This second point I related to particularly well, as husband and I are particularly keen on being well fed on our travels (the main difference being that we like to get out and try as much local cuisine as possible, generally avoiding hotel restaurants like the plague). This passage in particular summed up their attitude for the bulk of their trip, and had me in stitches trying to picture it…

“Leaving Solvesborg, still through dairying and wheat country similar to that between Malmo and Solvesburg, we decided to stop at Vostervik for our customary pre-lunch drink. It is a fairly large town but an hour of investigating failed to find a bar or cafe selling beer. Leaving in disgust and finding out way to the main road with some difficulty we drove only five kilometres further where we got our drink.”

 

They also kindly added in an appendix first page below) tracking their spendings on accommodation and meals… googling inflation conversions of these rates today was a bit of an eye-opener!

To think this little gem ended up in an op shop in regional Victoria, selling for only $3.50, and ending up in my hands is incredible; it also has to make you wonder how many other little treasures are floating around out there in the world with so much information and so many beautiful stories to offer… next time you’re at a second hand bookshop, take a bit of time to trawl through the stacks; you never know what you might find 🙂

 

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Project Cookbook complete: Meet THE KITCHEN PASSPORT!

Well this is mighty exciting to be able to finally post… Say hi to the little book I put together:

THE KITCHEN PASSPORT:
Getting Around The World & Bringing It Back To Your Table

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If you’ve been playing along for a while, you may remember this post, or this one; the little passion project I started two years ago got a little out of control and ended up as a kind of cookbook / travel guide / journal hybrid, almost 170 pages long, with 63 recipes, full colour photos and notes from around the world, and I’m pretty excited to say is finally finished and ready to fly out into the world!

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Let me tell you a bit more about it and why I decided that I wanted to share it…

This book is a collection of recipes inspired by meals I’ve enjoyed on my travels, as well as some of the stories behind them, the places I first ate them, the markets I visited, and the people I met on the way. My hope is that anyone who does find themselves with a copy can use it as part cookbook, part travel guide, part voyeuristic look into my diary.

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Food plays such a huge role in cultural identity and is one of, if not the best ways to get to know a new city. It has the power to bring together strangers, to communicate entire histories, and to create amazing memories which will still be with you as you eat that same dish 10 years later. My greatest travel memories can be recalled so easily through the senses of taste and smell; through food. I want to give others an easy way to either recreate food from their travels, too, and others still (and maybe more importantly) a way to taste a bit of the world they haven’t visited yet.

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I’m neither a professional chef nor writer. I have no training in photography or visual design. I’m just another girl who wants to leave behind some of that which I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. I hope this little book inspires some to travel and brings back fond memories for others. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed taking the adventures that are behind it.

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If you’d like a bit more of a preview of the book, or to actually purchase a copy, follow the link and head on over to Blurb Books, where it’s being sold in hardcover, softcover (unfortunately printing “real” books these days isn’t a cheap venture, I’ve done my best to keep the costs down!), eBook and PDF formats, with pricing (ex GST & shipping) below:

Hardcover: AUD$51.99
Softcover: AUD$36.99
eBook: AUD$19.98
PDF: AUD$9.99

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And if you do end up with a copy, I really, truly do hope you enjoy the escape from reality and return of fond memories while reading and cooking from it 🙂

Read this: The Great Global Bucket List by Robin Esrock

The Great Global Bucket List
by Robin Esrock
http://www.globalbucketlist.com/

“For over a decade, renowned travel journalist, bestselling author and TV host Robin Esrock scoured the globe in search of one-of-a-kind, bucket list-worthy experiences. During his remarkable journey to over 100 countries on seven continents, Esrock uncovered unique adventures, fascinating histories, cultural spectacles and unforgettable characters – proving that modern travel is so much more than over-trafficked tourist attractions.”

When you’re anything like me and read an introduction like that and the lovely people at Affirm Press kindly offer to send you a copy, you get excited! Everything about that paragraph got to me, because it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed about. As long as I can remember, there have always been three things in life that I’ve wanted to do; learn as much as I can through reading (yes, major bookworm and nerd, I’m ok with it), travel the world, and write about it. This guy is doing just that. He’s seen the world and wrote a book about it. That was a book I needed to read.

Covering everywhere from place as far-flung as Nicaragua and Mongolia, to more common places like Italy and Thailand, he’s literally seen it all. The amount of things he’s seen and experienced is absolutely mind-blowing, and eye-opening. The bucket list items aren’t for everyone, being of the more adventurous nature. Experiences like biking down the “Death Road” in Bolivia, for example, are definitely not my jam… but hot air ballooning over Bagan in Burma or taking part in the world’s biggest food fight in Spain definitely are! Then there were things like Burning Man, which I’ve heard only bits about but now want to know more after reading what Robin had to say about it.

While parts of the book felt a bit forced and read as trying a bit too hard to be funny (“First stop is a treat of the ancient world, Chichén Itzá, not to be confused with chicken pizza, which happens to be delicious.”), it was fantastic to see a great deal of photos taken of and by Robin himself, because it made it so much more real. There is absolutely nothing more depressing than a travel book where all the photos look photo-shopped, because you just know that sort of an adventure is out of reach for us real people. Especially because adventure isn’t out of reach for any of us – especially not with a bit of inspiration like this.

You can pick up a copy (and inspiration for your next adventure) here, and in the mean time, you can check out Robin’s website for more information on all of his favourite bucket list items.

Read this: 111 Places in New Orleans That You Must Not Miss by Michael Murphy & Sally Asher

111 Places in New Orleans That You Must Not Miss
by Michael Murphy & Sally Asher

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When husband spied this little number in a bookstore a few weeks ago, we couldn’t not buy it, particularly with a return to this incredible city imminent. When we visited last year, we thought we saw a fair bit, but we actually only covered eight from this list!

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Unlike almost every other travel guide-type book I’ve read that promises an off-the-beaten-track list, this book genuinely means it. Eschewing the “hidden gems” that most people know about anyway, this has some seriously brilliant ideas, like the Holt Cemetery (where, unlike the more well-known grounds like the St Louis Cemeteries, the resting places are mostly beneath the ground), the beautiful steamboat houses (a pair of homes built in the fashion of steamboats for two riverboat captains in 1905) and the Plaza d’Italia, below, which I know nothing about but have added to my visit list for next year!

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It was exciting to see a few familiar pages, like Angelo Broccato and the Cornstalk Hotel (where we’re certain a friendly ghost hung up a coat for us), and to make some discoveries I don’t have to wait to visit again to enjoy; I’d read that the book “A Confederacy of Dunces” was a) a classic and b) set in New Orleans, but had no idea a statue of the book’s ‘hero’ resided in the city! I obviously purchased the book immediately (book review post coming soon).

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If you’ve visited New Orleans or are even remotely interested in the city, this book definitely belongs on your bookshelf! You can pick up a copy here, enjoy!

Read this: The Holiday Goddess – handbag guide to Paris, London, New York & Rome

The Holiday Goddess: handbag guide to Paris, London, New York & Rome
edited by Jessica Adams

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I was given this book as a gift a few years ago, and had a good read through it while planning our 2013 EuroTrip; a lot of the pages still have folds in them from when I bookmarked them. Given the next mega trip we’re planning to take will encompass all four of these cities, I’ve taken it out again to re-read and re-bookmark.

Part travel guide, part girly glamour guide, it’s a beautifully curated collection of travel tips and places to see and things to do, geared more towards the ladies. It’s not a super new book, so it does run the risk of becoming a little obsolete as a travel guide as places close their doors, but it covers a lot of classics and city stalwarts that aren’t going anywhere soon, like New York City’s Guggenheim. Because there are a range of contributors, you’ll get to read a whole lot of different takes and stories about their individual travel experiences; also super handy are the little extra bits of practical info like the website and how to get there.

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The shoppers will love all of the beautiful places suggested to max out the credit card at, but I like the less designer, more down-to-earth stuff, like the cheap picnic page below for Rome. I also love all of the market and park suggestions; the places you can go to experience the city as it should be experienced, amongst the locals.

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And even if you’re not travelling to any of these cities any time soon, it’s actually a really gorgeous coffee table book, and makes an awesome gift for that girlfriend with wondering feet  : )   Pick up a copy here and enjoy planning your trip to some of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities of the world!

Read this: Born To Travel by Frank Korbl

Born To Travel
by Frank Korbl

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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.

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Read this: Journeys by Jan Morris

Journeys
by Jan Morris

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I picked this book up, as with so many other travel books I own, at a second-hand book shop for a few dollars. It was a great get. Jan Morris, Welsh travel writer and historian, put this book of travel essays together in 1984, chronicling some of her more memorable journeys through places like Las Vegas, Sydney and Shanghai. I found it to be very different from any other travel book I’d read, in that there were no big events, no dramatic re-telling of epic adventures. The essays were simply journal of what had happened, what had been observed, on a regular day of travel. To my mind, it seemed her writing was very skeptical and she seemed, to me, to find the dull and the boring and the unimpressive in the places she visited, rather than the exciting, special and different. I’m still not sure whether I liked that or not…

I did find it a good read, though, with her essays being long enough to get to the point, but short enough to keep you engaged without getting bored. It was also a nice look into the average, the every day of travel, when the crazy things that you can’t wait to write home about aren’t happening. If you can’t find a battered old copy in a second-hand book store like I did, you can pick up a copy here.