Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Robbie has been reading Notes Of A Naive Traveler by Jennifer S Alderson
Notes of a naïve traveler tells of a young American woman’s adventure as a volunteer teacher in Nepal. The book is presented in the form of a series of emails home from the woman, in a very similar style to a diary.
For me, the beauty of this book lay in learning, in such an intimate and first-hand way, about life for a woman with a Hindu family in Nepal. Jennifer Alderson does a great job of telling it exactly as it is, and it was quite a shock for me, another woman living a western style life, albeit in Africa, to read about how traditional and stereotypical the lives of some woman still are. Of course, I do know that, but it is quite a different experience to read about it like this.
The first two-thirds of the book are about life in Nepal and the writer’s experiences as a volunteer teacher in a school there. It certainly removes the glamour of such a role and illustrates exactly how hard it is to teach in difficult circumstances, with few teacher’s aids and an expectation from the children of harsh discipline. When Jennifer does not meter out corporal punishment it is seen to be weakness by the children.
Jennifer describes the challenges of keeping clean when having to use a bucket shower and very basic bathroom facilities, intermittent electricity and a father who is completely disinterested in his wife and children but prefers the company of his male friends. She also describes her gradual disillusionment with the family and school as various parties try to manipulate her into making a financial contribution to the school. Their focus on monetary contributions and disregard for the time and effort contribution of a voluntary teacher is highlighted.
The last third of the book is much less intense and tells the story of Jennifer’s experiences in Thailand. She has a great time and participates in fun and exciting activities. Jennifer describes the beautiful beaches, terrific heat, boat tours and snorkeling. This section creates an interesting contrast to the first part of the book.
I rated this book four stars out of five.
“I never thought I would have reason to say to someone, ‘Sorry I’m late, it took longer to dismember the goat than originally planned.'”
I was twenty-six years old, worked at a well-paid job, rented a fantastic apartment, and enjoyed a large circle of friends. I had everything, except I didn’t. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing out on the experience of living.
Part guidebook on culture and travel, part journey of self-discovery, this travelogue takes you on a backpacking adventure through Nepal and Thailand and provides a firsthand account of one volunteer’s experience teaching in a Nepali school and living with a devout Brahmin family.
Trek with me through the bamboo forests and terraced mountaintops of eastern Nepal, take a wild river-rafting ride in class IV waters, go on an elephant ride and encounter a charging rhinoceros on jungle walks in Chitwan National Park, sea-kayak the surreal waters of Krabi, and snorkel in the Gulf of Thailand. Join me on some of the scariest bus rides you could imagine, explore beautiful and intriguing temples, experience religious rituals unknown to most Westerners, and visit mind-blowing places not mentioned in your typical travel guides.
Notes of a Naive Traveler is a must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand. I hope it inspires you to see these amazing countries for yourself.
Related subjects include: travel, adventure, memoirs, non-fiction, backpacking, volunteering, travelogue, travel writing, solo travel, culture, journals, cultural heritage, cultural travel, Asia, Nepal, Thailand.
Hi! I worked as a journalist and website developer in Seattle, Washington before trading my financial security for a backpack. After traveling extensively around Asia and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. There I earned degrees in art history and museum studies. Home is now Amsterdam, where I live with my Dutch husband and young son.
My travels and experiences color and inform my internationally-oriented fiction. Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery is a travel fiction adventure through Nepal and Thailand. The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery is a suspenseful ‘whodunit?’ which transports readers to wartime and present day Amsterdam.
Both novels are part of an on-going yet stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover, Zelda Richardson. The third installment, another art-related travel thriller (working title: Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery) will be released in the January 2018.
My travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand, is now available as paperback and eBook. A must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand.