The Rough Guide To First-Time Around The World, by Doug Lansky
What is the thought that comes into your mind when you read the book’s title? Maybe you think that this book is a somewhat generic guide to world travel and that’s something you want to read more of before tackling guides to more specific locales. To be sure, as someone who has visited almost a sixth of the countries and dependencies of the world, this book would not necessarily be of interest as someone who is far from a first-time world traveler. That said, this book has something else in mind that I find very interesting, and that is a coherent approach to traveling around the entire globe, conducting one’s own circumnavigation of the globe through land, air, and sea routes, all on a budget that is not excessive. Yes, this sounds of personal interest to me, even if I am not sure that it is something I will personally take advantage of any time soon. It’s the sort of idea that is worth pondering over, letting it marinate as one engages in the course of one’s travels until one’s means and one’s ambitions meet to fulfill such an undertaking.
The book, which is about 300 pages, begins with some ideas from the author to enrich one’s journey around the world. After that there are nineteen chapters that are covered in the author’s efforts to encourage the reader to enjoy a big adventure around the world. This includes some frequently asked questions (1), initial planning (2), logistics of travel (3), choosing whether to travel alone or with friends (4), costs and savings (5), ways to volunteer, work, and study abroad (6), documents and insurance (7), preparing one’s home for departure (8), packing light (9), carrying valuables (10), guidebooks and other reading (11), what to do when one arrives abroad (12), culture shock (13), staying in touch (14), security (15), health (16), special considerations (17), documenting one’s trip (18), and returning home (19). After that the author looks at various sights and issues in traveling throughout the world, covering Africa, Asia, Oceania, Central America and the Caribbean, Europe and Russia, the Middle East, and North and South America. Sadly, the author does not spend any time talking about the logistics of traveling to Antarctica so that one can see glorious penguins and add the most rare and difficult of continents to one’s list. After that there is a directory and some small print and index information that close the book.
There are at least a few general principles to discuss when it comes to traveling around the world. For one, the task of traveling around the world on a shoestring budget can be done, and the author recommends some options to improve one’s hipster points. Also, hilariously, the author also talks about the areas that people might want to visit that are unsafe to visit (most of Somalia), and manages to come up with some options to get flight discounts, deal with visa issues, as well as even work under the table. When an author feels free talking about violating the labor laws of nations as a way of earning money and taking advantage of corruption, there is clearly something intriguing going on here, something that is worthy of reflecting on at least. I was greatly interested in the author’s suggestion about traveling on freight ships and taking advantage of rail and bus transportation for the long haul. That said, different people will find a great deal of interest here based on how they most want to travel and where exactly they want to go, and how many countries they want to see along the way. All of this allows for a great degree of personalizing one’s global travels.