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Displaying items by tag: travel book review


This gem of a book will warm your heart and have you packing a backpack to climb the nearest mountain. “Up” takes you on a delightful journey of a little girl who, with her mother, does the impossible: climbs forty-eight of New Hampshire’s tallest mountains. At only four years old she has the spirit of an adult and the energy of many more. We travel with mother and daughter as they spend their weekends bonding by climbing mountains and camping outside. 

They go it alone most of the time, but along the way they meet lifelong friends. Fellow climbers read about their weekly adventures and during the last 4k climb they show up to watch this little girl reach the summit and receive her 4k badge. Full of emotion, this book is loaded with candid shots of Alex standing at summits, trudging through forests and giving us her biggest smiles. 

We accompany her as she takes her first steps on a hike in the snow. The sorrow she feels when she sees a dying Bumble bee at the top of a summit. Her amazement as she watches a line of spiders going marching by. By the end of the book you’ll be cheering her on and wishing for one more summit to bask in the innocence of a little girl who is seeing the world, the mountain views, the landscape through a child’s eyes and the mother who allows her daughter to be herself. 

If you’re curious to see if Alex has continued her journeys, you can visit her and her mother on their website and see what they’ve been up to. You’ll also meet Alex’s younger sister Sage who is also an avid climber and a father who has a compelling story of his own to share. 

©Antoinette Marie

Published in ink
Saturday, 30 April 2011

700 Places to Volunteer Before you Die

700 Places to Volunteer Before you Die by Nola Lee Kelsey outlines many ways to make a difference in the world from working in an orphanage in Nepal to saving architecture in Albania to small business development in Ghana.

Kelsey is clearly passionate about volunteering abroad and one gets the feeling that she’d like to personally volunteer at each of the 700 places mentioned in the book.

The book is a fabulous resource for planning a trip as it is divided by both country and interest, so if you are going to Liberia, Honduras, or Mongolia you can search by country, and if you’re interested in working with elephants, building houses, or doing public health education you may find opportunities in a country you’ve never even thought of visiting.

The programs have a wide range in costs from many which are completely free such as teaching English to the disadvantaged in Peru to others that are quite expensive such as a wildlife conservation program for teens in South Africa that is $5,380. Most programs have a small fee and Kelsey cautions not to avoid volunteer organizations with reasonable fees as there are many services provided to you when the organization is well established in the community with an office for volunteers that organizes accommodation, meals, transport, and handles any concerns. She does encourage you to ask how much of the fee goes to the community and what exactly it includes when in your planning stage.

So whether you want to do wildlife research, prevent climate change, or help out in a women's shelter this book will help you find a project somewhere in the world where you can make a real contribution to a community and perhaps have a life-changing experience.

700 Places to Volunteer Before you Die, Nola Lee Kelsey, Dogs Eye View Media, 2010

(c) Christina Bolton

Published in ink
Friday, 31 December 2010

On the Other Guy’s Dime

OtherguysdimeOn the Other Guy’s Dime: A Professional’s Guide to Traveling Without Paying by G. Michael Schneider is a how-to guide written by a professor who arranges working holidays in ten different countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. If you are an educator interested in traveling the world, this is the book for you.

Schneider explores in detail how he got each of his trips paid for: from cold-calling various colleges and asking for a plane ticket and a modest stipend to applying for Fulbright grants which offer a significant increase in pay and better accommodation, though the application process can be quite long.

In each place they end up he teaches a class or consults on curriculum while his wife volunteers in various capacities such as teaching English or helping out in a school. Being a visiting professor in a university overseas also offers many more opportunities to interact with locals than a typical tourist would, as relationships with colleagues are usually formed quickly.

As he is working during the week they can only go on side trips on weekends, but the great advantage to this type of travel is that it is free. Schneider also explains that they rent their house while they are away, so there are no maintenance costs.

This book is geared towards academics or people with flexible schedules, though. It’s tough to imagine many people in the corporate world being able to take four months off to go to a far-flung country and work on a project of their choosing. Academics, however, live on the semester system with summers off, and can usually find someone to cover a semester for them, or can just arrange to teach a summer class abroad.

Schneider does mention the shorter grant programs (2-6 weeks) that CIES came up with for extremely busy professionals like CEO’s who don’t have the 4-6 months off needed to take a Fulbright grant, but many people with limited time off may chose to take a much-needed vacation rather than a working holiday (and can usually afford it). So this book seems like it’s the best fit for academics; it is chock-full of good advice for them to follow.

Schneider does what many of us want to do, but few ever manage – live around the world without giving up his house, job, or nest egg – and in On the Other Guy’s Dime he shows you the practical steps needed to do it yourself.

©Christina Bolton

On the Other Guy’s Dime, Tasora, G. Michael Schneider, 2010


Published in ink
Friday, 30 July 2010

Buddhist Temples of Thailand

Buddhist Temples of Thailand written by Joe Cummings with stunning photography by Dan White is the ultimate guide to Thailand’s most important temples. With the rich history of each temple outlined and interesting facts about the influence of Buddhism across Thailand today, this is one of the most comprehensive and accessible books on the subject.

Published in ink
Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sex in a Tent

Sex in a Tent: A Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature by Michelle Waitzman is a unique guidebook – an interesting cross between a beginners’ camping guide and a manual on sexual positions. Peppered with stories of couples making love in idyllic coves and those getting caught in campgrounds, there is much useful advice here for those looking to increase the romance in the great outdoors.
Published in ink
The Long Walk: the True Story of a Trek to Freedom was one of the most inspiring, dramatic and compelling books that I’ve ever read.  I was lucky to run across it in the bookstore, as it is a re-release of a book that originally came out in 1956, but a timeless true story of not only a very long walk, but also an unquenchable thirst for freedom.  I was drawn to the title, as I’m drawn to all books that involve journeys, but quickly found that it was not a traveler’s tale, rather a survival story of a group of people with infallible spirits.
Published in ink
Saturday, 25 August 2007

Rough Guides World Party

This past year, I was lucky enough to be in Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day.  Having had the time of my life – I thought I had satisfied my international partying desires. That was until I read: Rough Guides World Party, a 2007 guide to World’s best festivals. Rough Guides are known for travel books on hundreds of worldwide destinations. Their latest guide has opened my eyes to festivals I never even knew existed!
Published in ink
Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Bluelist 2007: The Best in Travel

Bluelist 2007 The Best in Travel by Lonely Planet Books covers an astounding variety of places and kinds of travel.  Its publisher describes it as ‘a conversation about travel’ and it is always changing pace like a lively chat.
Published in ink
Monday, 04 December 2006

Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune

Make Your Travel Dollars worth a Fortune: the Contrarian Traveler’s Guide to Getting More for Less is a good beginner’s guide to finding deals to fit your own lifestyle and budget.  Tim Leffel uses two imaginary families to make most of his points – a typical couple arranging a vacation – the Smith’s, and contrarian travelers extraordinaire – the Johnson’s.
Published in ink
Thursday, 19 October 2006

In the Sierra Madre

Jeff Biggers illuminates the people of the Sierra Madre in his historic, yet personal book In the Sierra Madre.  Biggers and his wife, Carla, rented a rustic cabin from a local woman, set up a solar panel, and settled in for 9 months while she worked on her thesis about the local attempt at multicultural education.


Published in ink
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