Letter S on The A to Z April Challenge 2014

Today is letter S on the A to Z April blogging challenge. My book today is “Silk, Spice and Furry Dice” from Andy N Robinson. Genre: Travel

Silk Spice and Furry Dice
Overlanding in Central Asia with a film crew

by Andy N Robinson

Silk, Spice and Furry Dice

Andy N Robinson has spent the last decade taking groups on tour all over the world, working for many of the big names in the adventure travel industry. On this occasion he dragged himself and his well-travelled furry dice out of retirement for ‘one last trip’.
He often wondered what on earth he was thinking.
Silk Spice and Furry Dice is an amusing and unique account of the challenges faced when filming a documentary abroad and supporting a Japanese film crew on an epic journey along the Silk Road from Istanbul to Beijing. People from different countries and cultures collided for a one off project and proceeded to make life as difficult as possible for themselves.
With refreshing honesty Andy recounts life on the road, looking at not only his own wayward actions, but the inner workings of the film crew, the relationships simultaneously forming and crumbling around him as well as painting a painting a picture of the magical world that is Central Asia.
As Andy soon found out there is a lot more to making a documentary than meets the eye and far more to travelling overland than seeing the sights…

Silk, Spice and Furry Dice will be published both in print and eBook by Black Frog Publishing on the 30th August 2014

Andy Website pic

Andy and his partner Kirsty were guest authors here on the blog back in November click on the link to find out more about them and travelling http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2RV

Andy is also the co-author of ‘It’s NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group Travel’, ‘Go Hard or Go Home: The Little Book of Overlanding’ and ‘Overlanding: How, What, Where and Who With…?’

All books are available to buy via Amazon and all major eRetailers
You can also order limited signed paperback copies of all books at www.blackfrogpublishing.com and browse the travel resources as well.
You can follow Andy @FlagonOfCider and @TheFrogFather as well as on Facebook at Black Frog Publishing.

I met Andy and Kirsty here on the A to Z tour last year and we have become firm blogging friends, I have read and reviewed two of their books and recommend them to anyone.
Here are some randomly selected links to other bloggers who are also blogging their way through April. Please find the time to visit them as well.

http://melissajanda.wordpress.com/

http://www.kimgraff.com/blog/

http://eliseabram.com/

http://www.oliviawaite.com/blog/

http://theegetawaygal.com/

During the challenge we are asking people to leave as many comments on blogs as possible, all supportive comments are much appreciated thank you.

AtoZ Banner [2014]

Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With by Andy N. Robinson & Kirsty McGregor

Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With...?Overlanding: How, What, Where & Who With…? by Andy N Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great book and one that is FREE from authors Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor at Blackfrog Publishing. These two authors have worked with overlanding tour companies in over 100 countries covering 5 continents.

This useful guide explains that it’s about the experience of the journey and not necessarily the destination. Overlanding was started in the 1960’s by mad Brits, Aussies and Kiwis. Today it’s become a very popular commercial enterprise with purpose built vehicles and tour guides. Travelling this way is no longer just for the young or gap year market, you’re never too old for an adventure.

The book offers advice, explains different style of tours, tells you what to expect in different continents and how to tell if you’d be right for a tour. There’s a list of different companies that provide all sorts of different style tours and there is the reminder that overlanding requires participation. “You get out what you put in”. A tour can be a challenging, fun adventure if you let it. If this sounds like the ideal tour for you there are several links to further reading to wet your appetite.

What are you waiting for? Download a copy today and live the dream.

http://www.blackfrogpublishing.com/Books.htm

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-UK/ebook/overlanding-1

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

It’s Not A Holiday by Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor (30th Nov)

It's NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group TravelIt’s NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group Travel by Andy N Robinson and Kirsty McGregor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It’s Not a Holiday”, is a brilliant book all about going on an organised tour with a group of people. It is full of humour and I laughed out loud whilst reading it. Gap years are no longer just for students and taking a tour to far away places has become very popular. The authors of this book have been tour guides and or drivers on such overland tours and are very experienced as shown by the content. If you have ever considered a tour to places like Africa, Asia and South America where you want to see the real people and experience the local sights by driving across the land and eating, living and embracing these cultures then this book is a must. It tells you what to expect and what is expected of you, don’t be surprised if it shocks you, forewarned is always forearmed and this way you’re more likely to have fun and enjoy the trip.

Check out yesterday’s guest author interview with Andy and Kirsty here; http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2RV It includes some fab photos!

Find a copy of this book here from Amazon.co.uk, or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Guest Authors Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor (Nov 29th)

My guests today are a writing duo who will open your minds to the idea of group travel across the world. Their book “It’s NOT a Holiday” is due out tomorrow (30th November) and is the most amazing and hilarious A-Z guide to road travel. A must read for anyone young or old who may be contemplating an adventure across the world.

It's NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group Travel

Let’s go and find out more about them;

Andy and Kirsty in Rio de Janeiro

Andy and Kirsty in Rio de Janeiro

1) Where are your home towns?

Andy: I am from sunny Calne, a small market town in Wiltshire, the West Country of England. Although perhaps describing it as sunny is a bit of a stretch and is why I found myself working abroad for so long.

Andy Website pic

Kirsty: I grew up in Weipa, a small and very isolated mining town in Far North Queensland, Australia.

Kirsty1

Andy and I have been living in Calne for the last few years but we plan to immigrate back to Queensland next year; where it really is sunny.

2) Is this your first writing piece as individuals or together?

This is our first written piece to be published both as individuals and as a collaboration. We have both been writing individually for many years. When writing “It’s NOT a Holiday!” together we discovered that we approach our writing in very different ways and had quite different styles. It took a while and a few heated discussions before we found our groove – a way to write together and a style that we both agreed on. We got there in the end but we both agreed at the time it wasn’t something we would rush to do again. However, looking back on it now, the process was fun and we had lots of laughs remembering the stories from our time on the road.

 

3) Where did the idea for “It’s NOT a Holiday!” stem from?

We had the idea of “It’s NOT a Holiday!” for a few years before it came to fruition. On the first trip we worked together on, back in 2008 in South America, we realised we both had a love of writing and thought there was a need for a ‘survival guide’ for passengers travelling on group tours such as the ones we were leading. “It’s NOT a holiday, it’s a life experience…” is something we often told our passengers when explaining how they could get the most out of their trip.

We threw a few ideas around and made notes whilst sitting round the campfire for a bit of fun but it wasn’t until we were off the road and working in France for the winter that we fleshed out the ideas and put pen to paper.

 

4) You’ve both been guides or drivers on tours, can you tell us where in the world these were?

EOE truck in Rio de Janeiro

EOE truck in Rio de Janeiro

Andy: Ten years ago I decided to throw in my job and travel through Africa on an overland truck… and that really was the end of normality for me. I have specialised in long haul trips throughout the Middle East, Iran, India, China, around South East Asia and extensively throughout Latin America.

Kirsty: I was travelling independently in the Middle East when I stumbled across a group travelling overland on a big truck to Egypt. I loved the idea and signed myself up for a six month trip from London to Cape Town. I had a ball and decided that becoming an overland tour leader/driver was the perfect way to see the world and get paid for it. Since then I have been lucky enough to work in Africa, Europe, Central & South East Asia, Central & South America and Australia.

Kirsty with Pakistani Police

Kirsty with Pakistani Police

 

5) What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken people on?

Andy: Driving from Istanbul to Bangkok in 7 months was one of my longest road trips with passengers. However, by far my longest road trip would be driving from London to Mongolia and then back in a small 1 litre Ford Fiesta. Great fun!

Mongolian Sand trap!

Mongolian Sand trap!

Kirsty: An 8 month trip from London to Sydney was my longest trip. I took 32 passengers through 3 continents, 23 countries and had a blast. Of all my long haul trips, this one was the most diverse in terms of the landscapes and cultures I experienced along the way.

London to Sydney trip (Tibet)

London to Sydney trip (Tibet)

Our longest trip together was the one we met on – Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro.  A 7 month trip travelling through 17 Latin American countries ending up at the biggest party in the world, the Rio Carnival.

 

6) What’s the worst terrain to take trips over?

There are lots of different terrains that can be difficult to drive through – soft sand in deserts, muddy roads in jungles and city roads packed with trucks, buses, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians, horse and carts, camels, donkeys, goats and just about any other beast you can think of. But the terrain we enjoy the least is mountain passes – proper mountains, the Himalayas and the Andes. Driving at altitude means thin air, a hard time breathing and headaches. Not fun! Although to be fair the views are fantastic.

Bogging!

Bogging!

 

Pope 7 Pantanal Bogging

Pope 7 Pantanal Bogging

7) Can you list 5 packing essentials for any road trip?

Head torch

Toilet roll in a plastic Ziploc bag

Cash

Multi-tool with knife and bottle opener

A sense of humour

Not necessarily in that order…

 

8) What are 5 items that people REALLY don’t need, but think they do?

Micro fibre towel

Expensive sunglasses

Trekking trousers with daft zip off legs

Traveller’s cheques

6 month supply of toiletries – these can be bought anywhere, believe it or not showering is a worldwide phenomenon.

 

9) Tell us your own choices of BEST place to experience if you only took one road trip in your lifetime.

This is a question we get asked a lot. It is along the same lines of our favourite places we have travelled. It is so hard to answer because we have so many favourites for so many different reasons.

Andy: If someone was to do only one major overland trip in their lifetime I would recommend one through Asia – the history and sheer diversity of cultures is mind blowing.

Kirsty: For me it would be Africa. There is something magical about going on your first African wildlife safari.

A road trip we would like to do in the future would be in North America. We have driven the Pan American Highway in Latin America so would now like to do the northern section including Canada and Alaska. One day! West Africa and Madagascar are also on the list…

 

10) Tell me what attributes I need to get voted as “best guest” on one of your trips?

The perfect passenger is someone who has a sense of humour, a sense of adventure, a can do attitude and embraces everything with open arms and an open mind. They will also be the one who has the most fun!

Are you coming on a road trip Rosie? Well…. The North American trip appeals more to my sanitation fears and my son wants to go to Madagascar! You never know!

Twitter: Andy – @FlagonOfCider  Kirsty – @kirsty_oz  Black Frog Publishing – @TheFrogFather  It’s NOT a Holiday – @ItsNOTaHoliday
Buy books:
Direct from our website – www.blackfrogpublishing.com/Books.htm
A Big Thanks to Kirsty and Andy and Good Luck with the book launch, I know it will be a winner!

“I” For It’s Not a Holiday April AtoZ Challenge

Today’s letter is “I” and the book entry is from Andy  and the team at Black Frog Publishing to get you in the holiday mood, their book will be published after the challenge, but here is a sneak preview of its contents.

Don’t forget to PLEASE add a comment below as your part in the challenge. Thanks

It's not a holiday-resized‘It’s NOT a Holiday! The A – Z Guide of Group Travel’ is a fun and informative guide to travelling with other people, whether that be a day tour around London, or a six month overland across Asia.

It is all about people, group dynamics and the daft things people do while on tour…

We wrote this book after many years tour leading on six continents because we think it will help you get the most out of your holiday, learning from the mistakes of those who went before you.

There are twenty stereotypical characters featured in the book, those who will probably be on your tour with you. Natural Leader is one person who can be an absolute rock within the group, or the biggest pain in the backside.

The challenge is to see which character you are and what you can learn from them…’

It is our first book release, and we have two more planned for this year and three for next, all travel related but travel with a twist! We are the group travel experts and have plenty to share with those who aren’t quite aware of what travel is like off the beaten track!

its not a holiday press release

http://bit.ly/BlackFrogBooks (Press Release)

http://bit.ly/BlackFrogBlog (A link to their blog)

Here are 5 randomly chosen links to other AtoZ Challengers;

http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.thebaldpatch.blogspot.ca/

http://jabirdsnest.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.apassionandapassport.com/

http://gonegarden.blogspot.co.uk/

I’m also publishing 2 other posts today, the first is a book bomb in aid of 16-year-old Ben Wolverton who is currently in a coma after a long boarding accident. His family need your prayers and your support. Thanks.