Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Armchair Travel - Shooting Stars and Flying Fish

The school holidays are finished and it’s back to our normal routine, but I have to say how envious I was that many of my customers were travelling to warmer climates over the holidays.  Unfortunately, there are no exotic holidays for me just at the moment so I decided that I could be an armchair traveller instead. 

My first foray is Nancy Knudsen’s travel memoir, Shooting Stars and Flying Fish.  I love stories about travelling to far off countries especially those that I am unlikely to visit myself, and this fitted the bill.  Like many of this type of memoir, the decision by Nancy and her husband Ted to leave their secure lives of self employed business executive and architect respectively came after their children had grown up and “left the nest”, and their decision to circumnavigate the globe on a yacht wasn’t that surprising given that they both were part of the Sydney sailing scene

What, I think, captivated me was that the challenge of living together in such close confines, the sailing for days on end without any land in sight and having to rely on each other for their safety and well being meant that the trip was very different to the weekend races they were use to.  I am not a sailor myself, but living in Bayside Melbourne means that I know people who sail and the strong sense of camaraderie and mutual support that I had been told existed was evident in Nancy’s book.

(Blackwattle picture courtesy of Nancy’s blog on which the book is based can be found here)

Don’t be put off reading this book if you are not into yachts and the ocean.  There is so much more to the story than that.  One of the things that Nancy stresses is that when you are on a yacht you see more of the real parts of the countries you visit than when you jet in as a tourist just visiting the major cities.  Her descriptions of the Maldives, India, Oman, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey where they lived for two years while Ted taught at a university,the Panama Canal, the Carribean and the islands of the Pacific gave wonderful insights to the cultural and political differences between these exotic places.

Exploring beautiful beaches, old ruins, and market towns on their fold up bikes, the exotic food and the friends they made along the way, both yachties and locals in the area they were visiting gives the book colour and interest and I feel Nancy and Ted’s story will appeal to a wider audience, especially to those who dream of leaving the rat race for a while to enjoy life to its fullest.

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