Doug Lansky's book is a must read for any seasoned adventure traveller or, for that matter, anyone who has always wanted to be one. It's a hilarious ride that goes well past simple descriptions of exotic destinations to the real experiences of being in those places; where a sense of humor is often the most frequently used resource in the survival kit!
The book is a compilation of pieces written for Lansky's syndicated "Vagabaond" travel column, and each piece takes you on a new adventure. These are not travel pieces that are designed to tell you where to go and what to do but, rather, how damn funny things often get once you get there, regardless of where the "there" might happen to be. For Lansky, humor is clearly an abundant international commodity, and he collects his stories like a hawker collects watches to pin to the inside of his trenchcoat. The result is an eclectic collection that's well stocked.
For the most part, the book, with its Dave Barry meets Tim Cahill slant on things, really is funny as hell. However, sensitive souls should be warned. Lansky makes many of his jokes at the expense of whatever local population he's dealing with, and even though it's obviously all in good fun his sarcastic irreverence has a definite edge to it and is not for everyone. The redeeming factor, for this reviewer, is that he's not afraid to poke fun at himself as well, and readers will spend almost as much time laughing at his own bad judgement. In the end, the real reward of the book is that it reminds us that we often have our most rewarding experiences when we're willing to take a risk and try something different, and that we can do that wherever we are.