Globetrotting on a Shoestring by Lynley Dodd
Travelling mainly alone in her 60s, author and journalist Lynley has created short stories in a travel diary format that takes the reader to six continents. She was determined not to have the typical tourist experience of most people her age, but to be among the normal local people living normal lives. So Lynley stayed in hostels, used cheap forms of public transport and bought her food from local markets. Her mission was to find the fascinating in the ordinary, and she succeeds admirably in this goal.
In Globetrotting on a Shoestring, Lynley goes to Israel, Hungary, Colombia, Kenya, China, the UK, Australia and the USA. This is a delightful book, with a healthy helping of humour that permeates the book, although some stories are more serious and thought-provoking.
The most poignant journey was the 36 hours spent getting to and from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland via train. A distant relative, Jane Haining, died there after trying to protect Jewish students at a school in Hungary where she was a matron, and Lynley movingly imagines Jane’s train journey to her final destination, as well recording her own reaction to visiting the infamous site.
There is plenty of quirkiness and humanity in this book. I felt for Lynley sitting next to a nervous young man on one flight who was obsessively dipping into his backpack over and over. Thankfully he wasn’t a terrorist, but someone with autism. I also felt for Lynley being guest of honour at a Chinese banquet, with every eye on her to see if she would eat the cicadas on offer.
Visiting her daughter in Colombia, Lynley exposes the pervading drug culture that seems to underpin the country. In Kenya, Lynley was able to spend time with a woman she had sponsored as a child, and even though the family lived in extreme poverty, they generously extended their hospitality to her.
Globetrotting on a Shoestring is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys personal travel stories. It is quirky and engaging read that ultimately will bring a smile to your face. It succeeds in getting beyond the typical tourist spots but instead provides an insight into local people and their everyday culture.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Wild Side Publishing, RRP $24.99