Only Two Seats Left by John Anderson
Written by the founder of Contiki, John Anderson, a young man who left New Zealand in 1962 at the aged 23 on a adventure that took him all around the world. Here is where the story begins. After an exhilarating tour to Paris, John arrived back in London wanting to see all Europe had to offer. Trying to find a way of traveling Europe on the cheap he first maps out his itinerary consisting a total of 12 weeks. His next step was to find other expats wanting to travel as small a group thus everyone would be saving money on accommodation and meals. Next was finding a vehicle, eventually deciding on a red Commer van. All that was left was to sell the idea to others, thus begins the long business history that is Contiki (formerly “Tiki Tours”).
This fantastic book is a little bit autobiographical, business insight and travel stories all rolled into one. This narative follows John’s journey of difficulties, failures, team work, risk taking and his most valuable secrets to a successful entrepreneurship. It is the incredible story of how a simple idea became a worldwide travel company with an internationally recognized iconic name.
I loved this book! reading all about this business side of the travel industry, especially how the Contiki’s “Special Stopovers” came about, I found myself reminiscing about my time I spent there at the French Château, Austrian Gasthof and Swiss Chalet. In July it will be 3 years since I rocked up to the Royal National anxious to meet my fellow travelers, I made life long memories and friends in just 25 short days. It was easily one of the best experiences of my life thus far and I urge all young travelers to get on board, whether it is Contiki or Topdeck etc. It gave me a great snapshot of Europe and now I know which places and need to go back to.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
This book is based on recollections, diaires and photographs of the life and tragic death of Chris McCandless. It all started in April 1992 after graduation when he decide to donate his $25,000 savings to charity and begin his new life hitchhiking across America, his final resting place, Alaska.
I started this book without any prior knowledge of this young man’s story, the news and opinions that surround these events. I was keeping an open mind, hoping to come to my own conclusions and opinions; naive and showed a lack of respect for the Alaskan wilderness or simply misunderstood. Krakauer attempts to retrace his steps in an effort both to understand what went wrong, and to figure out what made McCandless abandon his family, give away his money, possessions, and just head off in the first place.
This is an extremely well written book, I enjoyed hearing about the authors personal experiences and other explorers stories that ended up with similar fate to that of Chris. From the beginning I was booked, I couldn’t put this book down. I found Chris’ life fascinating, truly wanderlust although I don’t agree with his philosophies and living in such minimalist lifestyle. It’s a very sad story and you can’t help but well sorry for this loved ones that he left behind.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road, the original round trip, is a somewhat of a fictionalized autobiography filled with Kerouac’s real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers.
The spontaneous road trips that take ‘Sal Paradise’, Kerouacs alter ego and many others from East to West and back again many times over the course of a few years. The nomadic, carefree lifestyle in which it is portrayed had a strong appeal to me and his ability to paint such a vivid picture of his travels is what captivated me originally, not so much the self-induglent, narcissistic characters such as Dean Moriarty. I still find it baffling how the majority of Dean’s conquests were a direct result of him taking advantage of other people every step of the way, including Sal.
I must admit I did find it rather amusing that whilst reading about these raw and ragged adventures, I was sitting very comfortably traveling by train through the South Island of New Zealand, a far cry from hitchhiking or freight-hopping.
Did i dig it? I am still sort of unsure how a feel.
“There is nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”