Travels on my ElephantSaturday, 26 April 2014
I flew from New York to London the other day, earlier the same day Mark Shand, emerging from a New York hotel bar, tripped, fell, hit his head and died. Mr Shand was the brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Prince Charles, so in the British media it was a front page story. It was only when I read of his work with the charity Elephant Family, which works to protect the elephants of the sub-continent, that I remembered his book Travels on My Elephant.
Back in the early ‘90s Shand decided to travel India by elephant, purchased a rather bedraggled 30-year-old pachyderm named Tara and sets off on a long elephant journey which not only led to his award-winning travel book, but also to a lifelong love affair with elephants.
Well who doesn’t like elephants, it’s 1989 and our 18th wedding anniversary, Maureen and I are about to ride off on an elephant in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal. ►
A few years later we were back in Nepal again and here our children and their friends are helping at elephant bathtime. ▼
Apart from being a delightful travel book Travels on My Elephant is a superb example of the Across the Andes by Frog school of travel writing (from the Michael Palin and Terry Jones TV series). This entails doing an otherwise unremarkable trip by some completely unusual means of transport or in some other way making the trip much more complicated. Round Island With a Fridge by Tony Hawks is another fine example.