Languages, customs, rituals, fascinating things to do, places to see, people to visit – all in the one book, covering almost every nook and cranny throughout the world. This is a travel book covering, well, pretty well everything.
It is off the cuff, the language of a man used to roughing it. The book is akin to a conversation in a bar. Starnes is his own man. He has his favourite subjects, he revels in them with his own brand of insight and humour, and what doesn’t particularly take his interest he reduces to a couple of paragraphs.
Roam captures the language, and ethos, of Lonely Planet. This is not a surprise as Dean Starnes has been travelling for fifteen years and, after 75 countries, five continents and three backpacks, he has co-authored Lonely Planet guide books including those of Central Asia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
Now don’t think because he has written for Lonely Planet, Roam is only about pitching your tent and drinking the local brew (although that is certainly included). Lonely Planet has changed since its first heady days of guiding young tourists on how to survive low-budget travel throughout South-East Asia. It is now a vast business that makes, and breaks, tourist destinations. It is no longer aimed solely at the lowly backpacker, it now covers the whole range of travel, including the interests of the affluent traveller.
So it is with Roam, a book covering a vast array of subjects. It takes years of travelling experience, tosses them into the air, and lets them land onto the page for you to be inspired at will. And that is essentially what this book is – an invitation to travel. If you have itchy feet, if you long to discover something new, then this book is for you. Just like going into a restaurant from another culture, there is a selection of food you may not have eaten before, you may not even know from what animal or plant it comes, but if you dare, it may open up to you a whole new culinary world.
Starnes presents us with an entree. In Europe, entree means that which preceeds the main course, and prepares your taste buds for the plate to come. So this book is an introduction, a fascinating read, an insight into our extraordinarily varied world. It will tempt and invite you to partake of the main course of travelling and experiencing more of the world for yourself.
Author: Dean Starnes
Publisher: HarperCollins NZ.
Page count: 271