Did you know that the cheetah is the largest cat in the world that purrs? Did you also know that there is a sanctuary in Zambia where you can pat and caress a cheetah, and rub your hands through its fur, while the feline purrs with a throaty rumble? As a sign of contentment the large feline will lovingly lick you with a tongue that would feel like 80 grit sandpaper. After that comes the opportunity to take your cheetah on a walk, while on a guided tour through the surrounding bush.
The Mukuni Big Five Safari’s Cheetah Walk in Zambia, Africa, is one of those “off the beaten track, but well worth the visit” destinations found in the book, “You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper”. Released just a few weeks ago, author Ben Pastore, from the blog Trip Accomplice sent me a surprise e-mail mentioning the book, and asking if I would write a review on his book, and post it here on my blog.
It was certainly an honour to be asked. I have done book reports in college, where you follow a Rubric, and are graded by this Rubric for your grade. But this was different, no academic strings attached. And having never written a review of this sort, it will be uncharted territory, a new adventure for me.
Before I launch off into the book, I will give Ben a bit of an introduction. To date he has visited 62 countries on all 7 continents. Not only is he an author, he offers in person travel presentations at libraries, schools and groups. With his business, Trip Accomplice, Ben, having over 20 years of international travel experience, also offers travel advice, consultation and a full planning service with up front fees.
Personally in my life I have loved to travel. But over the past few decades, as I have settled into home and family life, I have very much become an “armchair traveler.” I am the type of person this book is written for, and Ben must have been aware of that when he asked me. Described in answers.com, an armchair traveller is “someone who stays at home, but experiences travel by watching TV, DVD’s and reading books about different countries, cultures and customs. They experience the benefit of travel without leaving the armchair.” That is me.
After having read a lot of travel books, what set this book apart from all the rest are 2 things. The 1st is that the book has been written in the 1st person, from 1st hand travel, and 2nd is Ben’s incredible sense of humor. I would be reading this e-book on my computer, and would constantly be sharing some humorous travel story that I read, with my wife, when she was nearby. It is not just information which would be helpful when travelling. It is experiences that were experienced.
The book cover several countries on every continent in the world, so you are not going to find, say ever hotel option in a particular city you plan on visiting. What you will find are destinations that are off the beaten track, areas that might not be known as “normal destinations”. Places that the author Ben has himself experienced, and gives his recommendations based on his own travel experiences. If Ben has not personally experienced and visited a place, it will not be found in the book. He mentioned in the book, “he would not plagiarize someone else’s travel, or make things up”.
In India, you can stay in a Western chain hotel, but why? You can depart from this homogamy, and stay in a refurbished former palace or mansion called a haveli, with rates far cheaper for such opulence in other countries.
You find a couple of North American cities that have a very European flair. You can experience Europe, without having to travel to Europe. But, if you do go to Europe, there are some places you will not want to miss. Such as the Italian island of Ponza. You will also find details of how to get to this idyllic destination.
You will learn of a travel destination that has all the best value, in terms of value and things to do. You will see how far $5 goes in another country, and what country has cave dwellings. While China becomes modernized, and is losing cultural heritage, the Outback in Australia continues to be sprawling and largely untamed. You will visit pyramids and Inca ruins, as well as rainforests and reefs. There are monasteries’ to be discovered, perched precariously on a cliff, where they use to lift the monks up in a hand winch powered basket. You can go on a safari in Africa, find the best access to Victoria Falls, or relax on an island paradise in the Pacific. You will also find Ben’s absolute #1 pick for the most beautiful place on our planet. A place that my wife and I visited, when we were free spirited travelling newlyweds.
There are so much to see and do in this book, enough to satisfy the adventurers, the romantics, the upscale and eco travellers and everyone in between. And at the bottom point of South America is Ushuaia, Argentina, the exit point for the Antarctica. As a runner, I have learned in my armchair travels that there is a marathon that takes place at Antarctica. Yes, that’s right, a marathon. Seeing it explicitly detailed how to get there, I got excited. Yes, I can do this. Well maybe not the Antarctica, because of the cost, but there IS such an amazing world out there. It is changing fast, both culturally and physically in terms of our forests and oceans. In a generation or two, some things will be lost forever.
Would I recommend this book. ABSOLUTEY! Not only was it entertaining, it rekindled a wanderlust spirit within me. Time for me to get out of this armchair and start exploring, and experiencing! 😀
Links for where you can purchase this book can be found here.
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121645716?ean=9780966758344
Bastion landing page http://bastionpublishing.com/you-can-keep-your-adventure.html
Thanks so much for reading! 🙂