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On Travel – from Melbourne University Press

Sunday, 11 November 2018

I’ve got a new book – On Travel – just out from Melbourne University Press and selling for all of A$14.99.

The ‘on something’ series are a handy little collection of essays on interesting topics ranging from Patriotism (Paul Daley), via Lust & Longing (Blanche d’Alpuget) and Sleep (Nikki Gemmel) to Beauty (Susan Johnson) or Privilege (Julian Burnside).

I’ve read quite a few of them and I think En Route, by Juliana Engberg, out this month like mine, will be next on my reading list.

 

In On Travel I tried to pinpoint what travel is all about from my perspective, kicking off each chapter with a handy quote like Yogi Berra’s ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it’ for the Wanderlust chapter, looking at where our travel addiction comes from. I also look at Distance – how we can be so close yet so far away at times, Beauty – why I always want a window seat, even Everywhere – what it means and where it is. After all, as Susan Sontag said, ‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.’

I don’t leave out Understanding because as Aldous Huxley suggested ‘To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries,’ or Damage, because travel is never harmless whether we’re worrying about its effect on climate change or the dangers of that current buzzword: ‘overtourism.’ Overall, however, I’m a firm believer that the world’s biggest business is also the world’s most important business.

I’ve been talking about On Travel on assorted radio and TV programs, click here to hear me talking (for 21 minutes) on Late Night Live with Phillip Adams in Australia.

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On Travel – from Melbourne University Press

11 November 2018 | Media

I’ve got a new book – On Travel – just out from Melbourne University Press and selling for all of A$14.99. The ‘on something’ series are a handy little collection of essays on interesting topics ranging from Patriotism (Paul Daley), via Lust & Longing (Blanche ...

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The Houtman Abrolhos Islands – Western Australia

7 November 2018 | Places

I’m working on Australia’s Islands, a book to be published by the National Library of Australia in late 2019. My island explorations recently took me to the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, about 60km offshore from Geraldton, which in turn is 400km north of Perth. There are ...

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Transnistria, Baron Munchhausen, Salisbury, Russian & Saudi Ineptitude, Paveway Bombs

16 October 2018 | Living

◄ Baron Munchausen at Benderry Back in July I made a brief (ie 24 hour) visit to Tranistria – that curious sliver of a nation sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine and recognized by nobody in the world except for Vladimir Putin and his friends. In my Transnistria ...

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Wajib & its Insights into Nazareth

14 October 2018 | Media

The film Jirga recently took me back to Afghanistan and now Wajib takes me on a quick return trip to Nazareth, the Palestinian centre in Israel. A wajib is an obligation, not an absolute necessity, that’s a fard, but something you should do. Like deliver invitations f...

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Jirga – a film in Afghanistan

29 September 2018 | Media

Benjamin Gilmour, a very enterprising Australian filmmaker, has just released Jirga, a film not just set in Afghanistan, but actually made there. Mike Wheeler, an Australian soldier stationed in Afghanistan, took part in a raid on a village in the Kandahar area of ...

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Komodo & Sumbawa

20 September 2018 | Places

▲ Lamima off Gili Banta Island which in turn is off the southern side of Sumbawa Island. Three years ago I spend some time in the Komodo Islands on a delightful Bugis-style schooner, joining and leaving the Katharina at Labuan Bajo. This time with eight friends fro...

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Kuta – then & now

19 September 2018 | Living

◄ Poppies Gang – a ‘gang’ is a narrow pathway or alleyway – and this popular gang at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, runs by Poppies Restaurant and Poppies Hotel. Despite Kuta’s massive growth Poppies Gang looks just the same as it did in the ‘70s, right down to the tr...

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Looking for Transwonderland

3 August 2018 | Media

Although she grew up in England and lives there today Noo Saro-Wiwa definitely has a strong connection to Nigeria. In 1995 her father Ken Saro-Wiwa, an environmental activist (and a peaceful one) was hanged along with 10 others who had the temerity to complain about t...

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The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina in Romania

2 August 2018 | Places

I’ve been a regular visitor to Romania in recent years. Mauren and I were in Bucharest and Transylvania in 2014 and enjoyed it so much, particularly the beautiful Saxon villages of Transylvania, that we returned with a bunch of London friends for a second look in 2015...

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Ryszard Kapuściński’s Imperium

1 August 2018 | Media

Back in 2008 I read Ryszard Kapuściński’s Travels with Herodotus, the travelling tales of the Polish journalist whose adventures proved, once again, that less is often more. His expense account was as threadbare as the Soviet-era Polish economy and he made up for it b...

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