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Celebrate Summer with Travel By Book

Travelogues, memoirs, and guides guaranteed to inspire wanderlust

This is a selection of nonfiction titles written by Travel By Book members Jennifer S. Alderson, Alison Alderton, EJ Bauer, Tory Bilski, Catherine Berry, Peggy Boyd, Melissa Burovac, Joe Cawley, Richard Clark, Lucinda E Clarke, Heidi Eliason, Robert Fear, Beth Haslam, Rob Johnson, Susie Kelly, Marjory McGinn, Nicola McGunnigle, Katerina Nikolas, Nancy O’Hare, Gus Pegel, Jean Roberts, Pamela Jane Rogers, and Abby Vegas. Consider joining us over on Facebook!

Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand Travelogue

By Jennifer S. Alderson

“I never thought I would have reason to say to someone, ‘Sorry I’m late, it took longer to dismember the goat than originally planned.'”

I was twenty-six years old, worked at a well-paid job, rented a fantastic apartment, and enjoyed a large circle of friends. I had everything, except I didn’t. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing out on the experience of living.

Part guidebook on culture and travel, part journey of self-discovery, this travelogue takes you on a backpacking adventure through Nepal and Thailand and provides a firsthand account of one volunteer’s experience teaching in a Nepali school and living with a devout Brahmin family.

Trek with me through the bamboo forests and terraced mountaintops of eastern Nepal, take a wild river-rafting ride in class IV waters, go on an elephant ride and encounter a charging rhinoceros on jungle walks in Chitwan National Park, sea-kayak the surreal waters of Krabi, and snorkel in the Gulf of Thailand. Join me on some of the scariest bus rides you could imagine, explore beautiful and intriguing temples, experience religious rituals unknown to most Westerners, and visit mind-blowing places not mentioned in your typical travel guides.

Notes of a Naive Traveler is a must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand. I hope it inspires you to see these amazing countries for yourself.

Included in this book are twenty-five photos of Nepal and Thailand I took during my journey.

On sale for 99 cents until June 19!

Boating with Buster: The Life and Times of a Barge Beagle

By Alison Alderton

Amidst a crisis, Alison feels life’s not worth living, but Buster, a Beagle puppy, will change everything…

Acquiring Lily, a Dutch barge, Alison and her husband, Roger, head for the calmness of the inland waterways. Boating with Buster, they learn plenty about boisterous Beagles and bothersome boats! Redundancy triggers a move to Ireland where the characters are larger-than-life, and the lakes so huge they are known as inland seas. They become custodians of a historical property, partake in milestone boating events, and go ice-breaking in the coldest winter for fifty years. A move to Europe seems to be the chance of a lifetime, but tragedy strikes when Buster develops a debilitating illness. Watching the world go by aboard Lily aids Buster’s recuperation, as they travel through the Netherlands and Germany: spending long summer days on the Mecklenburg Lakes and winter in the former Eastern bloc. Finally, they cross the Baltic Sea to enter Danish waters.

Buster’s story flows through the waterways of Europe in this colourfully portrayed, moving book of canine companionship. A memoir written in first person, Boating with Buster is a charming ‘tail’ that readers who enjoy animal stories, travel and boating will delight in.

From Moulin Rouge to Gaudi’s City

By EJ Bauer

When Elizabeth receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, she reassesses her life’s to-do list. Having always suppressed her travel longings, she opens her neglected ‘someday’ ledger and takes a much closer look at the contents. After an opportune invitation from a friend to meet in Paris, and her sister’s enthusiastic agreement to be part of the adventure, a plan begins to take shape. Join the Australian trio as they savour the sights of France and Spain, where no trip is complete without a morsel of local cuisine and a sip of something sparkling.

Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland

By Tory Bilski

A wondrous story of adventure and friendship featuring a group of women who ride Icelandic horses.
“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.”―Virgina Woolf
Each June, Tory Bilski meets up with fellow women travelers in Reykjavik where they head to northern Iceland, near the Greenland Sea. They escape their ordinary lives to live an extraordinary one at a horse farm perched at the edge of the world. If only for a short while.
When they first came to Thingeryar, these women were strangers to one another.  The only thing they had in common was their passion for Icelandic horses. However, over the years, their relationships with each other deepens, growing older together and keeping each other young.

Combining the self-discovery of Eat, Pray, Love, the sense of place of Under the Tuscan Sun, and the danger of Wild, Wild Horses of the Summer Sun revels in Tory’s quest for the “wild” inside her.

These women leave behind the usual troubles at home: illnesses, aging parents, troubled teenagers, financial worries―and embrace their desire for adventure. Buoyed by their friendships with each other and their growing attachments and bonds with the otherworldly horses they ride, the warmth of Thingeyrar’s midnight sun carries these women through the rest of the year’s trials and travails.

Filled with adventure and fresh humor, as well as an incredible portrait of Iceland and its remarkable equines, Wild Horses of the Summer Sun will enthrall and delight not just horse lovers, but those of us who yearn for a little more wild in everyday life.

16 pages of color photographs.

But you are in France, Madame 

By Catherine Berry

At the collège for a parent-teacher interview, I met my daughter outside in the courtyard and she showed me up to her classroom. Her teacher was busy chatting, so we waited patiently in the corridor. When he did come out, he indicated that the meeting would take place downstairs and headed off with us in tow.

Before sitting down, I introduced myself using my first name, and put out my hand to be shaken. He mumbled back his full name as he took my hand, although I suspect he would have been shocked if I had actually dared use it. By this stage, I had already understood that teachers did not expect to be questioned about their practices. Of course, I did—question him, that is; politely and almost deferentially. There was a slight pause, as he dipped his head to better digest what he had heard. Then, with the assurance of a perfect, unarguable answer, he replied, “But you are in France, Madame”.

Some months before, my husband, three children and I had casually unzipped and discarded our comfortable Australian lifestyle and slipped on life in the country of haute couture. On arrival, there was no celebrity designer waiting for us, ready to pin and fit our new life to us; so we threw it on and wore it loosely, tightly, uncomfortably, any old how—until we learned for ourselves how to trim, hem and stitch à la française. This book is testament to the joyous, but not always easy, journey that we took along the way.

Two Thumbs Out: Hitchhiking Adventures In 1950s Europe

By Peggy Boyd

In March 1954, two young Australian girls set out on what became a five-year travelling adventure across Europe and North America. This book details the first 6 months of that adventure as they arrive in Naples, Italy, and begin to get a feel for how to get around. Using their thumbs for rides they venture across Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, and Morroco, leading a life on the road that is far removed from what they left behind in Sydney. This is a heartfelt memoir of a form of traveling that has all but disappeared. The book recalls the numerous adventures and encounters Peggy and her traveling companion Jane had all across western and southern Europe, experiencing the warmth and kindness of strangers that make thumbing a ride such a rewarding form of travel.


By Melissa Burovac 

Traveling solo as a woman certainly has its ups and downs, but Melissa Burovac will be the first to tell you to embrace the adventure as you encounter it.

Facing her 40th birthday as a single woman in a job she was tired of, Burovac decided to do something. Always keen for adventure, she chose to buy a one-way ticket to Mexico—and quit her job, sell her beloved Jeep, and store all her belongings.

Though she’d gone on trips abroad before, Burovac didn’t feel like she’d ever earned the title of “traveler.” But that was about to change.

Wandering relates the adventures, and misadventures (she encounters so many major weather events that her friends start predicting where the next disaster will strike based on her next destination), of her nine months traveling through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Australia, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Her stories will crack you up—and they will inspire you. As someone with no sense of direction, no ability to plan, and plenty of social anxiety, her experiences prove that anyone who wants to travel can!

More Ketchup than Salsa: Confessions of a Tenerife Barman

By Joe Cawley

A laugh-out-loud, heartwarming memoir.

Childhood sweethearts, Joe and Joy are broke and bored. They’re also tired of smelling of fish.

When offered the chance to escape from the dreary market stalls of England to run a bar on a sub-tropical island, they recklessly jump at the opportunity – despite their spectacular lack of experience.

In Tenerife, dreams of a better life overseas are soon crushed by mini-mafias, East European prostitutes and biblical-grade cockroach infestations.

Joe and Joy’s foreign fantasy turns into a nightmare as they find themselves trapped with a failing bar in a foreign land, pandering to a bar full of oddball expats while trying to stop their relationship crashing into the rocks.

Can they save their business, their dreams, and their relationship before it’s too late…

Crete – A Notebook: New Edition

By Richard Clark

In 1982, on a whim, the English journalist Richard Clark upped sticks and left the country of his birth to go and work as a teacher in Crete. So began a love affair with the island to which he still returns as often as possible.

Crete – A Notebook is a series of snapshots of his experiences on an island he has grown to cherish. It is less of a travel guide and more of a travelling companion.

Whether a regular visitor or a first-time traveller there, this book provides an invaluable insight into life past and present on this exquisite island.

The author is a writer, editor and journalist who has worked on an array of national newspapers and magazines in the UK. He is married with two grown up children and lives in Kent.

Truth, Lies & Propaganda: in Africa

by Lucinda E Clarke 

Lucinda ‘fell’ into writing by chance, moving from radio to television, to running her own production company in South Africa. She lifts the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes in the media, often hilarious and not at all glamorous. She spent more time on rubbish dumps than in banqueting halls, although she got to meet many famous people.

Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway: An RV Travel Adventure

By Heidi Eliason

For fans of Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, an entertaining story of a five-year, motorhome road trip taken by a woman and her dog.Have you ever felt suffocated by your routine and responsibilities, or just longed for some adventure? Heidi Eliason did, so at the age of 45 she quit her job, sold her house, bought a motorhome, and embarked on a five-year road trip with her dog, Rylie. It was a journey that transformed her life.Through the challenges of managing the Green Monster—her motorhome—traveling in Mexico, and getting derailed by Mr. Wrong, she learned—sometimes the hard way—that chasing the corporate ladder and storybook romance was not always a sure route to happiness. She struggled with insecurities, faced her fears, and dug her way out of depression. By taking a leap into the unknown, Heidi found a new community of friends, met wildlife, traveled the Baja Peninsula, discovered the magic of the sea, and experienced freedom like she had never known.At a time when the American Dream is uncertain for so many, more people are turning to alternative lifestyles such as the van life movement and fulltime RV travel. Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway may help others to find the courage to jump off the hamster wheel of the conventional Dream and make a transformative journey of their own.

Travel Stories and Highlights: 2019 Edition

By Robert Fear

Travel the world with these coffee-time reads

This anthology showcases the talents of 55 authors, writers and poets. Among them are well-known travel memoirists, experienced travel writers and rising stars in the travel writing world.

A compilation of 66 short stories and 66 highlights, this collection will transport you around the globe from the comfort of your own home. It is a book you can pick up and enjoy whenever you have a spare minute.

See the world through the eyes of a Dominican man on his first trip abroad. Travel across the outback to the most remote roadhouse in Australia. Teeter on the edge of a cliff on the Adriatic coast as the bus loses control. Chill out on a Flotel in the remote Amazon tributaries of Bolivia. Find Christ in the high Andean passes between Chile and Argentina. Experience terror in the Egyptian desert at the hands of armed soldiers. Swim as nature intended with reef sharks in the warm waters of the Maldives.

Enjoy these and many more fascinating insights. They will stay in your thoughts long after you finish reading them.

This book will inspire your travel dreams.

Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 4

By Beth Haslam

When Beth, her beloved dog, Sam, and grumpy husband, Jack, return to France, disaster strikes. As they battle to restore order to their home, French authorities visit with shocking news. 
Obliged to sit examinations in French, coping with furred and feathered babies, and wrangling French tradesmen, there’s no let-up in this action-packed episode of the Haslams’ adventures.

A Kilo of String

By Rob Johnson

After living in Greece for thirteen years, writer and reluctant olive farmer Rob Johnson has got used to most of the things that he and his partner Penny found so bizarre at the beginning. Most, but not all.

A Kilo of String is the story-so-far of this not-particularly-plucky couple’s often bewildering experiences among the descendants of Sophocles, Plato and Nana Mouskouri with occasional digressions into total irrelevances.

This is a book which is almost guaranteed not to change your life, but what it willdo is answer many of the fundamental questions about life in Greece, such as:

How do you avoid ordering a double tomato for your pine marten when booking a hotel room? Should olive harvesting be registered with the Dangerous Sports Association? Why are chicken livers useful (other than to the chickens themselves)?

Oh yes, and there are some serious bits too about how life in Greece has changed since the beginning of the economic crisis.

The Valley Of Heaven And Hell: Cycling In The Shadow Of Marie Antoinette

By Susie Kelly

This is Susie Kelly at her brilliant best. A hilarious bike ride through Paris & into the French countryside follows Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI’s flight during the French Revolution.

Susie’s cycling adventure follows the route taken by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on their abortive escape from the French Revolution and their journey back to their executions. After a hair-raising journey through Paris that nearly ends in her own execution by traffic, Susie finds a little-known area of northern France full of history, flowing with champagne, with calm waterways and tranquil countryside bursting with history. Idyllic territory for cyclists.

But cyclist she is not. By suggesting an electric bicycle that will get her through the uphill slogs, her husband persuades her that travelling on two wheels is by far the best way to see the little-known, virtually undocumented part of France.

From Paris and Versailles, she wobbles on to the vineyards and champagne cellars of Epernay and Reims, then through the Marne valley, the scene of unimaginable horror and devastation during World War 1. In three weeks Susie and Terry cycle 500 miles, dining sometimes in luxury and often on weird makeshift meals in their tent. Along the way there are traumas, epiphanies, occasional matrimonial disagreements and the odd glass of champagne.

Homer’s Where The Heart Is: Two journalists, one crazy dog and a love affair with Greece

By Marjory McGinn

Homer’s Where the Heart Is continues the story where the acclaimed first memoir left off. Two journalists and their crazy terrier Wallace are into the second year of an amazing adventure, living in the wild Mani, southern Greece. They share an olive grove with their new Greek landlords as the country veers towards bankruptcy and social upheaval.

They are soon pulled into the chaos of the economic crisis with some of the original village characters from Marjory’s first memoir, Things Can Only Get Feta. This candid memoir is also the story of the author’s passion for Greece. Woven into the narrative is Marjory’s thrilling back story from another dark time while she was working in Athens, during the military dictatorship of the 1970s. It will reveal haunting parallels between this period of history and the current crisis and will highlight as much about Greece as it does about her own personal journey at a young age.

Homer also takes the reader on a memorable journey around the Mani, including an exclusive tour of the late Patrick Leigh Fermor’s unique home in Kardamili, and a trip to the island of Kythera. This edition also features some of the author’s own photographs of Greece.

Four Seasons In Nepal: Inside stories of hope and empowerment in a developing nation

By Nicola McGunnigle

It’s not your everyday family adventure, packing up to live in one of the world’s poorest nations. But in the wake of the devastating 2015 earthquake, Nicola took a leap of faith, heading to Nepal to work with NGO International Nepal Fellowship, her family in tow.

Not letting challenges get in the way of contentment, she shares everyday moments of living life with restricted electricity and unclean water, in the midst of political instability, which resulted in country-wide fuel and gas shortages. Moved by the resilience of the nation, the family were welcomed into Nepali culture and generous hospitality, despite the obvious additional hardships around them.

Through her eyes as a volunteer, Nicola paints uplifting scenes of committed Nepali staff who work to empower the poorest and most marginalised in Nepal. Through work, travel and everyday encounters, the reader journeys through each season of learning, challenges, hardship and reward.

Goat In The Meze: A farcical look at Greek life

By Katerina Nikolas

A hapless American couple who are stranded in the bonkers backwater Greek village of Astakos are befuddled and bemused by the antics of the villagers who charm and outrage them with their quirky ways.

The elusive underwear thief is busy plundering the local washing lines hoping his identity will never be revealed, whilst the Pappas is up to his neck in nefarious schemes. Mail order Russian bride Masha is indulged by that old fool Vasilis in her passion for plastic surgery, and Stavroula plots to extricate herself from her marriage to the supposedly dead Toothless Tasos.

Not a day goes by in Astakos without deviousness and humour as part of the scenic backdrop.

The humorous antics of life in a fictional Greek village have the feel good factor to make you laugh-out-loud.

Searching for Unique: A Traveller’s Guide to Extraordinary Experiences

By Nancy O’Hare

Searching for Unique uncovers some of the most impactful destinations around the world.

Trek through untouched valleys with more sheep than people in the blustery Faroe Islands. Feel the heat of an ancient Buddhist fire ceremony in the secluded Kingdom of Bhutan. Discover these and twenty-five more places across five continents through bite-sized narratives and on-the-ground travel advice.

Choose from six themes—wilderness treks, little-known hikes, ancient temples, rare festivals, fallen kingdoms and modern metropolises—to find unexpected wonders around our world. Taste the fiery sambal of Brunei’s Gadong Night Market or dance alongside your favourite Malipenga team on Malawi’s Likoma Island.

Peel away your assumptions and get ready to unwrap secluded places and far-off cultures.

From Australia to Germany: The Ultimate Overland 4×4 Adventure

By Gus Pegel

A true story of a fifteen year old, who traveled in a Postie van 4-wheel drive from Melbourne, Australia to Stuttgart in Germany with two others. Crossing the vast expanse of the Australian outback to Perth in Western Australia, where they caught a container ship and sailed via Singapore to Sri Lanka and India, and from there, continued overland crisscrossing India up to Pakistan, all the way to Europe via Turkey and what was then Yugoslavia. This book gives an account of the journey, with all its ups and downs. It is not a tourist guide, but a detail of the things they experienced along the way… many of which most tourists would never see.

From Australia to Germany will be enjoyed by those who love to travel along back roads and off beaten paths.

Get your copy and go on a 4×4 adventure!

A Kiss Behind the Castanets: My Love Affair with Spain

By Jean Roberts

When Jean buys a house in Spain following a breakdown, she dreams of vibrant Spanish art, passionate flamenco, and cocktails at sunset. Her glorified image of life abroad is crushed as she battles rogue tradesmen and vicious local wildlife.

From stalking a neighbour to encountering trees with testicles, will she weather the storms of expat life or wish she had never left the UK?

A Kiss Behind the Castanets is the first instalment of Jean Roberts’s lighthearted and uplifting tale in her Moving to Spain series.

Perfect for fans of Victoria Twead, Chris Stewart, and Alan Parks.

GREEKSCAPES Illustrated: Journeys with an Artist

By Pamela Jane Rogers

A twist of fate sends this American artist to Greece on a painting workshop in 1982. After a luxurious swim in the Aegean, an epiphany in an olive grove inspires her to continue her life’s journey with art – and either mend her broken marriage or end it. Her mission is to learn from her past and resurrect faith in her intuition and her love of art.

Yearly art workshops abroad give unparalleled inspiration for her painting for seven more years, ending with a devastating loss. The dark curtain lowers when her mentor leaves the earth.

Divorce and plans for a secure future as an interior designer are put in motion as a foreign light continues to beckon; the generous culture, peals of laughter, the people, nature’s landscapes, the olive trees, the mountains, the turquoise sea, the light, the epiphany… the most exhilarating moments of her 40 years have all been in Greece! Can living there allow the serenity she seeks? Most everyone agrees – it’s irrational for a middle-aged woman on her own with minimal financial resources to simply follow her heart. Maybe it’s only a dream, yet isn’t it worth a try?

With courage, hope, and a sense of humor she journeys forth from her unfulfilled past to “trust in the process” of art and life on a Greek Island. Will the enchantment last?

Living La Vida Vegas: Three Friends. Four Trip Reports. One Fifth-Step Inventory.

By Abby Vegas 

If you and your friends stay out drinking and gambling until dawn, is it really tomorrow yet? “Living La Vida Vegas” might actually answer that question, but not before it gets sidetracked at the Wheel of Fortune slot machines and overeats at the buffet. Abby Vegas dives head-first down the rabbit-hole of Sin City in this laugh-out-loud travelogue, chronicling her adventures in her signature sassy voice.

If you like Bill Bryson, you have excellent taste in travel writing and you might want to give this book a try.

Jennifer S. Alderson

Hello! I am the author of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series, the Zelda Richardson Art Mystery series, and Adventures in Backpacking novels. I love to write and blog about travel, art, museums, expat life, and great books. Thanks for stopping by!