Travel commentary: my take on travel authors and their journies

I was at Barnes and Nobles yesterday when I happened to see a book entitled “Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge”. The principle of the book was that the author, John Gimlette, was spending time in the rural parts of Suriname, French Guinea, and Guyana. To begin with, these are countries in South America that we don’t really hear about, but the fact that he was going to go into the jungles of these relatively unknown places adds even more intrigue. It got me thinking, these authors who do these types of trips must have had a lot of hassle during these trips. We hear about the stuff that they have to put up with in their books, such as the struggle to get to their destinations, the general third world bureaucracy, etc., but we still don’t have an appreciation for how exactly bad it is; writing can only convey a portion of the crap they’ve gone through to entertain us. For example, when they say that they had to battle through the heat, insects, and rough terrain, we think “okay, it was an inconvenience”. However, I’m pretty sure that they were blistering while carrying their backpacks while being constantly drained of blood by those pesky mosquitoes. The point I’m trying to make, successfully or unsuccessfully here, is that what we read in these kind of books are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the stories the authors have stockpiled from these trips. Though I have to give it to them-their suffering turns into our enjoyment at these type of trips, and for that, I’m very thankful that a few brave souls embark on these trips.

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