Off my bookshelf

I not only like to travel I like to read about travel too. My bookshelves are full of travel related books, not just guidebooks. These are a selection I have taken from my bookshelves to share with you.

Not strictly a travel guide…

Bodyguard: My Life on the Front Line – Craig Summers

I initially picked this book up when looking for a novel to read. The cover and jacket grabbed me. Reading the blurb I realised my mistake but decided to read a bit anyway. It turned out to be one of those books you can’t wait to pick up again.

While not strictly a travel book it relates the travels of Craig Summer, the fixer, bodyguard and get journalists out of trouble or rather prevent them getting into it in the first place. For most of the book he works for the BBC and was beside John Simpson during the infamous “friendly fire” incident in Iraq and when he broadcast live from inside Zimbabwe during elections. In the book you are taken to destinations unlikely to be on the tourist trail any time soon, though going undercover with football thugs takes him to European capitals that are. Mixing it with people traffickers in Eastern Europe, the Taliban in Afghanistan, dodging bullets and incoming missiles in Iraq or hiding John Simpson in Zimbabwe may not be your idea of holiday hotspot but it makes for jolly good read.

Bodyguard: My Life on the Front Line (£)

Swimming with Dolphins, Tracking Gorillas – Ian Wood

Having swum with dolphins and with tracking gorillas on my list of things to do before I die it was the title of this book that first got my attention. This guide by Bradt Travel Guides is all about helping you discover the best in wildlife encounters in their natural environment. In my time as a travel writer I have had some amazing encounters with wildlife. I have been stalked by a leopard, kayaked with a mother and calf humpback and canoed alongside beavers.

Swimming with Dolphins, Tracking Gorillas
A peek inside Swimming with Dolphins, Tracking Gorillas

Each encounter is preceded by a personal experience. This followed by a description of the type of encounter you are likely to have along with some helpful facts about the the animal it’s conservation, when to go and other wildlife you may encounter as a bonus. A handy factbox with details on when, where, who offers tours and where to find out more about the animal.

It’s not just the big encounters like the mass migration in the Serengeti that are covered but encounters like macaws at a salt lick, puffins, alligators in the Everglades and wolves. Of course the dolphins and gorillas of the title are covered too.

For anyone wanting to get up close and personal with wildlife this is an ideal reference book.

Swimming with Dolphins, Tracking Gorillas: How to have the world’s best wildlife encounters (£)

Blue River, Black Sea – Andrew Eames

Having cycled part of the Blue River in the title I was keen to read of someone else’s adventures along the Danube though in my experience it is anything but blue. Andrew Eames takes the reader on a journey from the source of one Europe’s great rivers to its mouth on the Black Sea.

Last Resort & Blue River, Black SeaAlong the way we are treated to the part the river played in Europe’s history; not just the cities like Regensberg, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade but the bits in between too. This is not just dry old history book as the author has sought out interesting people, from counts to captains, along the way and manages to prise out their stories.

This is a personal story and Mr Eames weaves in plenty of his views, experiences and feelings so that you feel you are travelling right there with him.

Blue River, Black Sea (£)

The Last Resort: A Zimbabwe Memoir – Douglas Rogers

Douglas Rogers writes in a moving and sometimes hilarious manner about his parents who ran a backpacker resort in Zimbabwe at a time when Mugabe induced chaos and terror reigned across the country. They refuse to leave choosing instead to stay. A motley crew of hookers, diamond dealers, spies and farmers populate the story and the resort.

It is a gripping tale well written with an edginess that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. I was loathe to put the book down.

The Last Resort was winner of the Best Travel Book 2010 by the British Guild of Travel Writers

The Last Resort: A Zimbabwe Memoir (£)

If you would like to purchase any of these books you can do so by clicking on the links at the end of my brief review of each book or you can click on the images in the widget below. All the links are affiliate links which means that when you purchase any of these items from through these links I will receive a small percentage of the sale which helps me maintain this website. Affiliate links are denoted by (£) throughout this website

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it

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