Overland: Traveling with No Plan by Richard Kaufmann
Overland is a non-fiction travelogue. First written in German, it has now been successfully translated into English.
Set out in easy to read chapters with some wonderful colour illustrations, the book begins by questioning our human need for travel: what it means to be a tourist versus a traveller. The author poses a theory about a holiday being a search for some peace; a place to unwind from life’s stresses. He then considers how that peace is obtained. Is it the final destination? Or is it the complete journey with all its experiences? It’s easy to buy into the travel agent’s image of a destination and its promises, but how many of us are disappointed when our perfectly imagined holiday lets us down? Could we look at travel in a different light?
These musings are interspersed with author Richard Kaufmann’s travels, mainly via train, around Europe and parts of Asia. I really liked the author’s arguments against excessive air travel and how those carbon footprints add up, while his observations about people, culture and places were insightful. He certainly opened my eyes to make me look at my own methods of travel in the past and how I might change them in the future.
There’s also a map which lists popular and lesser-known destinations in Europe. It starts in Brussels, the author explaining that it is a good starting point for many Europeans. The map shows distances and train travel times, with some suggested prices. Some of those prices were surprisingly cheap (I know prices fluctuate) but it gives the train a new appeal.
If you are thinking of travelling again but want to do things differently, then think about the train and let it take the strain (as they say!).
View all my reviews on Goodreads
Richard Kaufmann once travelled to Morocco, unintentionally with no money, simply because he had set off without any kind of plan. It changed him, and the way he travelled in future. Here, he shares his stories and vision for how we can all holiday in comfort, without wrecking the environment. And we don’t have to take especially long, or go particularly far. We find the most beautiful destinations when we travel overland. Normally we never see them, because we fly right over them.
224 pages on traveling Europe, Morocco and Iran by train & coach. Paperback plus map of train routes in Europe. With a foreword by Tom Hodgkinson (EN version) .
English version available to buy here
German version available to buy here