The Frank Sinatra song goes, "It's oh so nice to go travelling, the camel route to Iraq...but it's oh so nice to wander back'. The philosophy that wanderlust for some isn't necessarily all about escaping from one's real life but in order to be more comfortable within our skin and live more acceptably in ourselves alongside the roles, personas and responsibilities the world demands of us is the theme of this travelogue. The writer reflects on his angst and on the multitude of ways it is possible to be a unique husband, father, breadwinner and the importance of remaining true to oneself amidst all these demand. The book is really well written, easy and entertaining. As a travel book it doesn't give us much about the places he visits but then the book is about his own journey.Readers with an inking of awareness in themselves that travel feels not so much about escaping but about being able to free our own selves so as then to be reconciled to being all those roles and personas our domestic world requires will find the theme of this book resonates.The writer doesn't explore an answer - and the point may be that the answer, unique for us all, lies within. But the reader closes the book reassured that in feeling the way they do, they're far from alone.
I appreciated some of his self reflective insights...but I realise for me having travelled abit myself...that often it's far more interesting to experience for ourselves the things we can encounter on our journeying, than reading about other peoples take on things. Thank you.
Recently took this book with me into the Moroccan desert for a 10 day trip and it was the perfect mix of travel story with reflections on life and love. Not heavy at all but the writer just has a very simple storytelling style that manages to have a lot of heart and soul in it, a very truthful way of conveying what goes on at an emotional level and how that can play out in our lives. I took loads of books on my ereader and this was the only one I read as its gave me food for the mind, heart and soul. It is basically the story of his journey to be able to commit to the woman he loves, but also about other Relationships particularly with his son and his own father and he reflects honestly and Interestingly on that father-son dynamic and how to heal it. All of this is done by simply telling his own travel stories and weaving the rest around it so it is done with a very deft touch. A really good writer, I hope he writes more in a similar vein
"This kind of aimless drifting has always been at the centre of my travelling. The freedom of being a stranger in a strange place, knowing no one, needing to know no one, with no obligations, elicits deep feelings of liberation, and the further from the beaten path I go, the quicker the attachment to any idea of how I should be treated is discarded - I'm grateful merely that my needs are met. Without an agenda, or company to distract me. I invariably feel a certain hopefulness that can appear contrary to my aimlessness. Perhaps it's just the simple joy of being alive".
Just one of the many rewarding and thought provoking quotes from this nice read. McCarthy proves to be an introspective, deep and reflective character who views his travels with a refreshingly restrained eye.
Having been a fan of Andrew McCarthy in my teenage years I was interested to discover he has reinvented himself as a travel writer. I was delighted to discover that not only has he visited unusual places but has a real skill in describing them to the reader while telling a very personal story of coming to terms with his need for solitude and space with his journey into marriage. He allows us to join with him in the struggle this brings against the backdrop of various places he visits on his writing travels. I can't recommend this book highly enough, well written, raw and yet tender.