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125 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Decent Read for the Cruise Ship Crowd, But Not For A Real Traveler...
on January 9, 2012
I've been addicted to travel books lately, partly because I'm subsconsciously planning for my next big trip and partly due to wishful thinking. The premise is very appealing - quit your job and travel around the world for a year. The author is an experienced writer, and it definitely shows. However, I found the book to be a pretty disappointing read. I was expecting it to be full of anecdotes of a traveler living among the locals and embracing their cultures by emulating their way of life. Instead, it reads like a bunch of Tripadvisor.com reviews stringed together, and interactions were mostly with workers and members of the hospitality industry (hotel owners, clerks, porters, etc) and other western tourists, not with the locals. Tried to stay in a backpackers' hostel in New Zealand but got intimidated and left for a luxury hotel the next day? Frowning on India for being such a poor country and being so irritated that the author never wanted to come back again? $160 per night hotel rooms in Nepal, one of the 10 poorest countries in the world? Come on. That is not authentic travel at all. It reads what you'd expect of someone who's vacationed only on cruise ships were to suddenly get displaced in another country (yes, I know this is the same author who wrote "Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America").
If you're someone who's in your 30s or 40s and never really traveled abroad before, and would like to know what to expect, maybe this is a good book. But if you're a backpacker, or a regular visitor of hostels, or someone who travels not for the sake of checklisting countries visited but to embrace and learn new cultures, then this book is probably not for you - and like me, you'll probably find yourself shaking your head at the missed opportunities throughout the book.