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Inspiring Reads: Slow Travel by Mari Rhydwen

Slow Travel by Mari Rhydwen.
Allen & Unwin, 2004

If, like me and many others, you have a dream of selling everything you own and heading off around the world, then read this book with caution as you might just end up living the dream.

It’s the third time I’ve read this book. [Aside: My memory is shocking. So bad that I sometimes worry about Alzheimer’s in the future. On the upside, I get to see movies and read books over and over again without knowing (remembering) the ending.]

Each time I read Slow Travel I getting this niggling, pulling, wrenching feeling to just go travel. To pack up my life and take off.

I used to be in the position to do that, and would often. As soon as I felt the tug, I’d be off. Times have changed. Things change. And now my life has other tugs and wrenches. Still, a woman can dream.

Mari Rhydwen and her husband, Allen, sold their home in Western Australia and set off on a voyage that would take them around the Indian Ocean for three years, stopping along the way at various out-of-the-way ports and islands.

Slow Travel is a journey of self-discovery. It portrays the joys of diving head long into your dreams, shaking loose the shackles of the everyday rat race.

Describing the frustrations and elations of travelling by sea, it reveals the downside of sailing that few who dream of doing it long-term think about – the harsh reality of being stuck in the middle of the ocean for three weeks with no wind to power the sails and not being able to do a thing about it, of the gruelling hours of labour required to keep the vessel in good working order, the days without food and the nights spent alone on watch in a vast empty ocean.

But for all the low points there are infinitesimal highs, which seem to make it all worthwhile.

The happiness of reaching port after a few dodgy days at sea, catching up with friends at various harbours who were once merely a voice at the other end of a CB radio, being able to dive off the side of the boat on a whim; of having a shower after going without for days and weeks at a time.

Slow travel, in the real sense, may be about taking your time to get to know places, people and cultures. To leave with a greater understanding of where you’ve been and the people you’ve met, but sometimes it’s about slowly getting to know yourself and what travelling can teach you and realising that, like all great adventures, the crappy times are needed to make the good times shine. After all, they frequently end up as the best memories; the ones that stick around long after the bright orange sunsets have faded and gone.

It’s books like this, that don’t cover the blemishes and paint a rose-coloured scenes throughout that inspire me to do the same. To see for myself what it’s like. Experience the rough with the smooth, the highs and lows. Books like Rhydwen’s keep me planning, hoping, dreaming… and travelling.

What is your most inspiring travel book?


  1. Pingback: Slow Travel – A Frugal Father

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