🚝If you’re thinking of travelling again, then think about the train and let it take the strain (as they say!). Rosie’s #Bookreview of #travelogue Overland by Richard Kauffmann🚄

Overland: Traveling with No PlanOverland: Traveling with No Plan by Richard Kaufmann

4 stars

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!).

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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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Travel Snapshots Never Pack An Ice-Axe by @JulesBrown4

Never Pack an Ice-Axe: Tales From a Travel Writer's LifeNever Pack an Ice-Axe: Tales From a Travel Writer’s Life by Jules Brown

4 stars

Never Pack An Ice-Axe is a collection of eighteen short pieces from travel writer Jules Brown, literary snapshots of his travels that cover a range of countries including Norway, Ghana, China, Bali and Ireland, to name just a few. 

I really liked the section about walking along the coastline of Cornwall, which is a trip I could see myself doing; I have relatives in Cornwall and I’m sure they could help out with a bit of kit transfer and or washing of clothes! The trip to the Grand Canyon brought back my own memories from visiting the attraction; I’m glad that there wasn’t a murderer on the loose when I went, unlike Jules’ adventure.

Other parts that I enjoyed were the diving trip to Egypt and the return to Ghana with his parents. Jules has traveled widely and offers some good advice. He found the best pizza in Naples, the best pint of Guinness in Dublin and possibly the perfect place to live in Montenegro. This book is definitely good for a bit of armchair travel.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads

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You’d think a long-time travel writer would have some great travel tips. You’d think.

Jules learns about travel the hard way, whether it’s setting out on his first European hitch-hiking adventure, writing about offbeat destinations for Rough Guides, or braving the shouty waiters of Naples on the hunt for the world’s best pizza.

Not everything goes according to plan – what happened in Bali stays in Bali – but during a life in travel, Jules has racked up enough useful tips to fill a book. Just not this book.

Hit the road with Jules – from Scotland to the South Pacific – and you’re guaranteed a great story, a good laugh and an occasional heartfelt sob. As long as you don’t listen to his advice, you’ll be absolutely fine.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Memoir Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up by Cathay O. Reta #TuesdayBookBlog

Keep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journeyKeep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey by Cathay O. Reta

4 stars

Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey is a memoir and travelogue. Author Cathay O. Reta writes about her experience of walking the 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

This centuries-old pilgrim route is famous for the spiritual experiences that many of its walkers have while travelling. Cathay, a widow in her sixties, set out on a solo journey. She wanted to find a new purpose in life. Single for 30 years, married for 30 years, she now wanted to find some direction for the next 30 years.

I was interested to read the snippets of history about this route and of other roads which are similar to the Camino. Cathay interspersed observations from her daily walks with enough detail about the people she met and the places of interest along the way, to keep the book flowing effortlessly.

Although Cathay had physically prepared for the walk, it still tested her, but she learnt to listen to her body and adapt when needed. I admired her determination to carry on when she could so easily have given up. Cathay’s journey also had a spiritual purpose; it was time to end her mourning for her husband with a final goodbye.

The scenery and the journey both physical and spiritual were very appealing. I’m glad that Cathay shared her experience in this book and I’m glad that she found the answers she was looking for. I like walking and the thought of miles of open space with beautiful views and the camaraderie from fellow walkers on the trail sounds wonderful.

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Book description

“Keep Walking” is a modern-day pilgrimage, a spiritual journey, a physical feat. Cathay was in her mid-60s and entering a new phase of life. In phase one she had been single for 29 years. Phase two followed with 33 years of marriage. Now widowed, she was looking for direction for her next 30 years. That’s when she felt called to hike the Camino de Santiago, the centuries old 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

As Cathay began to physically prepare for such a feat by hiking and walking and leaving her sedentary life behind, she became aware that it would also be an inner healing – a rite of passage to the next phase of her life. With trepidation, some fear and a fervent commitment to make the hike as best she could, Cathay traveled alone to Spain and started walking. She kept walking day after day through tears, anger, laughter, sadness and great joy. Every day was a challenge, and she often questioned why she was on the Camino. Why not just go to a nice hotel and think through what to do the next 30 years?

Her question was answered when a fellow sojourner said to her, “You’re here [on the Camino] to learn to fall in love with yourself again.”

After 37 days she reached her destination. “Keep Walking” is her story of self-discovery, of transformation, and of renewal, all set in the magical, mystical field of the stars, the Camino de Santiago.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview #Travelogue HEADING EAST: 1 Year: 26 Countries: 1001 Worries by Dawn East #TuesdayBookBlog

Heading East: 1 year: 26 countries: 1001 worriesHeading East: 1 year: 26 countries: 1001 worries by Dawn East

4 stars

Heading East 1 Year: 26 Countries: 1001 Worries is a travelogue from solo traveller Dawn East who left her teaching career to go travelling.

Dawn’s route began with a flight to Moscow and then on to the Trans-Mongolian railway. She visited parts of China, South Korea, Japan and travelled through Asia to Australia. In a second part, Dawn travelled through some of Eastern Europe, finishing off in Finland.

After a year of planning her trip, Dawn chose to travel as cheaply as possible, staying in hostels, travelling by bus, walking to tourist sites where possible and keeping to a £40 daily budget. I liked Dawn’s honesty which included her fears and concerns. A seasoned traveller, Dawn was able to keep herself and her belongings safe, and avoid local opportunists; she also had lots of good advice for others who might want to follow her trail.

On the whole I found the book very interesting, as there was plenty of detail about all the places that Dawn visited as well as a list of trip advice and packing tips at the end of the book. Some of my favourite parts of Dawn’s trip were from Australia, but I did learn quite a lot from many of the other destinations. I think that this would make an ideal gift for anyone considering travelling in the future.

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Book description

The very thought of home ownership and settling down was enough to send Dawn East running for the hills – otherwise known as the Trans-Mongolian Train, where her adventures across Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe would begin. But how would a self-confessed fussy eater, who worries about everything from bag-snatchers to parasitic skin infections, cope with a year of strange foods, noisy dorms and leaving behind a blossoming relationship?

Join Dawn, a forty-year-old primary school teacher, on her one year sabbatical as she navigates her way through twenty-six different countries.

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11 Worldwide Travel Experiences To Read From Your Armchair #TuesdayBookBlog

Over my years of reviewing I have enjoyed travelling across the world with several authors, while most of us are re-thinking our holiday options, I thought I’d take another look at a selection of my favourite travelogues.

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Salt Water and Spear Tips by Thor F. Jensen. Thor’s world-record circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea in a traditional sailing canoe. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills by Patrick Rogers. Patrick goes to Northeast Indian in search of the people who grow living bridges from the roots of trees. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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Hit the road Jac!: Seven years, twenty countries, no plan by Jacqui Furneaux. On her fiftieth birthday Jacquie took off travelling the world on an Enfield motorbike. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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In Foreign Fields: How Not To Move To France by Susie Kelly. Susie and her husband hoped to find paradise in the French countryside. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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A Visit to Gansu Province for the Chinese New Year by Helen Wallimann. Helen visited rural China and the man-made cave dwellings known as yaodong. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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Fifty Miles Wide by Julian Sayarer. Julian cycled through Israel and Palestine meeting people from both sides of a troubled region. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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Among Friends: Travels in Cuba by Heather Murray. An interesting look at Cuba from the author’s multiple trips which began in 2009. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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Immersed in West Africa: A Solo Journey Across Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau by Terry Lister. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.


Adventure by Chicken Bus by Janet Losole is the memoir of a family who spent three years backpacking through central America. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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Toubab Tales: The Joys and Trials of Expat Life in Africa by Rob Baker is set in Mali. Rob tours the country in search of its music and musical instruments. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

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From A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journey join Janey de Nordwall, her cat and her 1970s VW campervan as they journey around Scotland. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.

Rosie’s #BookReview Of #Travelogue From A Wonky Path To An Open Road by Janey de Nordwall @silverjaney67 #TuesdayBookBlog

From A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journeyFrom A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journey by Janey de Nordwall

4 stars

From A Wonky Path To An Open Road is a travelogue and semi auto-biography of BAFTA award winning film producer Janey de Nordwall.

In 2019 Janey drove her 1970s VW campervan on a soul-searching six-week trip around Scotland. We join Janey on her journey and learn about how she came to the point where getting away from it all and recharging her emotional batteries became life-changing.

For most of us driving off over the horizon in a campervan is just a dream, so going on a virtual trip with Janey, particularly in 2020, was a lovely chance for escapism. Janey took an inspiring solo trip with just her cat for company; they stayed in campsites and even wild camped, took ferries to some of the islands, visited local breweries and distilleries and met plenty of generous and helpful people. I was very happy to read that her route took her on some of the less travelled roads, as these are ones that interest me most. Janey also took her bike along and I enjoyed her spontaneous, and very impressive, agreement to take part in a 100-mile charity cycle ride after her campervan was mistaken for a genuine race participant.

The front and back covers of this book open out into a delightful picture gallery of Janey’s journey, and I enjoyed this style as a way to include the photos. At the back there is also a list of Janey’s milestones, a map of her route and even a link to the Spotify soundtrack playlist which Janey created especially to accompany her on her trip. This book would make a lovely gift, not just for those considering solo travel.

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Book description

In 2019, BAFTA-winning film producer, Janey de Nordwall packed her bags (and her cat), fired up her 1970s VW campervan and headed off from her London home to Scotland for a journey that would change her life. In this heart-warming, fresh and joyful book, Janey captures the lucid beauty of her surroundings, remembers the pivotal moments of her eventful life and reveals her most intimate thoughts.

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Rosie’s#Bookreview Of #Travelogue FIFTY MILES WIDE: Cycling Through Israel And Palestine by @JulianSayarer

Fifty Miles WideFifty Miles Wide by Julian Sayarer

4 stars

Fifty Miles Wide is a travelogue about cycling through Israel and Palestine and meeting local people, hearing their stories as well as discovering the complicated history of the area.

Julian Sayarer met a mix of people on his journey: artists, refugees, soldiers, shop keepers and fellow cyclists. He gained insights into their daily lives, their struggles, their survival and their hopes for peace and a different future.

Sayarer blends the hard truths with poetic descriptions of nature and his experiences of one man and his bike on an open road. With this book he gently lends his voice to those whose stories need to be heard, and he tries to make sense of the plight of all these people who are living side-by-side with little room and a maelstrom of force just waiting to ignite.

I learnt a lot while reading this book and I shall remember it for a long time. My favourite parts were the stories from the people Sayarer met. I also liked the sections that described the scenery. I wasn’t so sure about some of the deeper philosophical thoughts that Sayarer had whilst on the open road, many were a little strange for me.

Overall, an interesting piece of travel writing and one I would recommend reading.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Ten years after breaking a world record for a circumnavigation by bicycle, award-winning travel writer Julian Sayarer returns to two wheels to write life at the roadsides of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. His journey weaves from fertile Mediterranean hills of the Galilee, down to the Bedouin of the sparse Naqab desert. He speaks with Palestinian hip-hop artists not sure if music can change their world, Israeli cycling activists who hope that bicycles can, and Palestinian cycle clubs determined to go on bike rides despite the military checkpoints that bar their way.

Riding through stories of Israel and Occupation in Palestine, talking to people at the roadside, the bicycle becomes a medium for more than just travel in this complex land, cutting through tensions to find truth, and some hope. The book reads as a meditation on making change; how people keep their spirit in dark times and continue to believe a different world is possible.

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