TRAVEL FOR YOUR LIFE
January 19, 2019
I wanted to tell you about four amazing, life-changing books that have helped me come to a momentous decision. Since I was 13 years old I have dreamt of going on an incredible journey and on 1st January 2020 I intend to fulfill my dream but I will tell you about my plans later in a future blog post.
Five brilliant books have helped me to finally take the leap.
One, Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, I have already spoken about in depth in previous posts.
The other four are so life changing and inspirational I wanted to share these with you now; but be careful, if you read them you may just get the ‘wanderlust’ .
A Little Madness: travels on hippie trail more than a little mad
“WE were hitch-hiking to India.”
“It was January 1970. Ciaran de Baroid and his mate Tony O’Connor reckoned they were the first from “their wee city on the Lee (Cork) to be so bold”.
Ciaran de Baroid believed he got his inspiration for his 10,000 mile round trip to India when he was two-years-old and his travelling instinct found him on top of the roof of his family home via a ladder and a cat ladder and from where he had to be rescued by a panicked stricken neighbour and mother. He wondered what all the fuss was about. Having survived that intrepid adventure hitching a lift to India was a stroll.
Although in his book, A Little Madness: Travels on the Hippie Trail, de Baroid suggests that his three years of hitching around Ireland and lowland Scotland was likely the real precursor to his Indian desire.
To accompany him he need someone, a little shall we say ‘off the wall’ like himself.
And such a person was very handy indeed. His best mate and life-long pal Tony O’Connor. His credentials were ideal. He thought nothing of risking his life.
He had been stabbed and survived; sprayed by machine gun fire and survived and eaten alive by earwigs as he awoke from an overnight sleep on the verge of a road in south Belfast.
He had just about turned 18.
When Ciaran was eight he discovered the world existed in an Atlas with glossy pages and told his world (which was Tony) that he was going to cycle around it.
Tony said it was a great idea brought on he thought by a nine-foot fall from the top of a pig lorry and a double-fractured skull two years earlier.
In case they were kidnapped they brought character references for their captors of their honourable intentions.
One was from Tom Barry an IRA hero from Cork’s War of Independence. He advised, “It might come in handy if you run into any revolutionaries.”
A letter from the Soviet Union told them “due to the vastness of our country we do not allow hitch-hiking”.
With £280 between them they set off from Cork for London then India via Morocco, Istanbul, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
This was a time before Discovery Channel, Lonely Planet and the internet; much of the planet was still a place of ‘there-be-dragons’. Their first lift from Cardiff was from a vermin-exterminator by trade and an amateur magician by hobby.
He warned them ‘turn back, turn back’ because bandits would have them but it was not pirates or kidnappers that nearly done for them several times but the reckless driving by crazy people like the vermin-exterminator who gave them lifts.
They decided to split up on the basis that at least one of them would make it to India in one piece.
They met up in Paris and ate porridge for tea while sleeping in a doorway and were lucky to be fed by monks in a local church.
In Spain they were entertained on a train, packed with Spanish revellers, by a woman with castanets and a rose in her hair.
A young Basque man told them the meaning of ‘manana’ – “Sometimes it means tomorrow. Or maybe tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Or maybe never.” At the port of Ceuta in Tangiers in Morocco their first encounter, as they disembarked, was a man who offered them, ‘Kif, marijuana, black hash’.
This was a time when young people were being told that ‘drugs are the religion of the people – the only hope is dope’. Morocco was a place where mad things happened all the time and this was true for the travelling duo.
In Istanbul Tony’s money ran out and he had to go home. In eastern Turkey Ciaran was rescued from oppressive well-wishers by a gun-waving policeman. When Ciaran arrived in Kabul he was told he was the only Irish man there, among many other nationalities, and it was there his tumultuous journey to India stalled. He was stricken with amoeba dysentery, a killer within days, he was told.
For the light relief you will need, why not spend your Christmas holidays in the company of Ciaran on the hippie trial.”
“Like many comedians, Ruby Wax possesses an extraordinary flair for depicting the ugliness of modern life. In her latest book, she underscores the tragic irony that, in the western world, each of us will be approximately three times more likely to die from overeating than undereating, and far more likely to die by our own hands than those of terrorists. Indeed, we become our own worst enemies, unable to think clearly, entrapped in a state of what Wax has aptly described as “brain fog”, lamenting that the average human now devotes some 100 hours monthly to their smartphone – roughly 11 years of our lifespan.
As a mental health advocate, Wax does not judge others harshly; in fact, she often lambasts herself, revealing her foibles as a spouse, as a parent, and as a personality. And she does so in charming fashion, describing, for instance, her marriage: “I chose Ed because he had Grade-A sanity genes and I felt that would break the chain of thousands of years of Wax madness in one fell swoop.”
Expert in the art of public confession, Wax serves as a powerful model for the destigmatisation of psychological troubles. But unlike many humorists, Wax does not consider pungent self-mockery a sufficient remedy. Instead, she went to an ancient university – Oxford – earned a master’s degree in cognitive therapy, and has become a vibrant spokesperson for mental health matters. And her solution to the “brain fog” from which we suffer? Quite simply, Wax has championed the increasingly lionised philosophy of mindfulness, which the health app on my mobile phone defines, succinctly, as: “Quiet your mind. Relax your body. Be in the moment.” In recent years, mindfulness has garnered much enthusiasm, spawning a growing, although not entirely convincing, archive of empirical data.
Helping us to savour the preciousness of the moment, Wax has embraced mindfulness with passion, and I doubt that anyone will write a more engaging treatise on the subject. Nevertheless, much of the practical advice given here by the author (in conjunction with a kindly monk and a thoughtful neuroscientist) strikes one as rather pedestrian: myriad breathing and self-scrutinising exercises.
Wax’s manual, engagingly written and full of useful tips, will no doubt bring comfort to many people. But as someone who has worked in mental health for 40 years, I must express a strong concern. In my experience, one must already be quite healthy to benefit from a well‑intentioned self-help book. Prior to psychotherapy, more than half of my patients had already made valiant attempts to heal themselves with mindfulness, and yet continued to suffer from depression, anxiety and self-destructive lifestyles. For many of us in the psychological community, profound characterological changes occur only when individuals discuss the most troubling, shameful, and terrifying aspects of their biographies in the confidential presence of a professional.
Wax has expressed reservations about some of the talking therapies, caricaturing 125 years of psychoanalysis in only a few words: “Freud came along and said that everything was our fault and we should pay people like him to root out our id or wild-man tendencies.” I do wonder whether Wax has read Freud’s work closely. Freud never claimed the neuroses to be “our fault” and placed far greater emphasis on attributing the causes of our symptoms to early traumatic experiences inflicted by caregivers. One would hope for a more serious engagement with the progenitor of the modern psychological therapies.
Yet when Wax writes in semi-Freudian style – revealing her own hidden family tragedies – she offers us something profound. Indeed, at the very end of her book, she relates how her Austrian parents escaped from the Nazis, while many of her relatives ended up in concentration camps. This all too brief but highly compelling chapter alone justifies the purchase of this book. And this account moves us, because Wax narrates a deeply private, painful story in simple words, confident that many will listen with sensitivity.
We owe Ruby Wax a great debt of thanks for her important work in foregrounding mental health in public discourse. In this respect, she sits alongside such recent champions as Prince Harry and the Pope, who have spoken about their helpful experiences of talking therapy.
Whether mindfulness will ultimately prove to be the perfect panacea, one cannot say, but should that be the case, Wax will occupy a special place as its guardian angel.”
Free as a Global Nomad: An Old Tradition with a Modern Twist
“How does it feel to be forever on the move? Who are global nomads? Why did they leave their former lives? How do they finance their travels? And, ultimately, what is the meaning of life for them?
In this book our fellow global nomads, travelers who wander the world without a permanent job or home, answer these intriguing questions. They are modern-day adventurers and vagrants, no one’s property.
Global nomads value freedom and mastery of their own lives. Their ideas draw from the everyday life and dreams of explorers, philosophers, and vagrants, some notable pioneers including Alexander the Great, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and George Orwell.
This book shows how global nomads revive the ancient ideals of a simple and beautiful life. In the process, home, nationality, freedom, and travel get a new meaning that will permanently change the way in which we perceive the world.”
And with out doubt the most inspirational life-changing book I have ever read:
“Travel for Your Life will show you how to quit your job, travel the world, and transform your life. Plus it will provide you with essential tools for when traveling, from staying safe to making the most of your trip If you have ever wanted to travel the world, the time to do it is now. This book will show you how to overcome the obstacles that are preventing you from traveling; it also shows what you’ll gain once you make the necessary changes so that you can travel, and gives practical advice on everything from safety to attitude for once you’re on the road. Chantell Glenville is an experienced traveler who quit her job in 2014 to travel the world. The information Chantell shares in this book has been gleaned through her own experiences and those of others, through trial and error and chance discoveries she has made whilst globe-trotting. In this step-by-step guide you’ll find out how you can make the changes in your life that will free you to travel the world too. Learn:
- Why you should travel now.
- How to travel by overcoming the obstacles that stop you from traveling: lack of money, work commitments, age, lack of a travel companion.
- Guidance for the solo traveler and why going it alone can be better.
- How traveling will allow you to take control of your life and start enjoying it fully again.
- Top tips on how to stay safe.
- Practical advice on how to plan your travels, pack perfectly, find cheap flights, and choose where to stay.
- Essential knowledge to utilise once you’re on the road; how changing your attitude will make travel fun no matter what happens, how to haggle, and advice on what to do on your travels.
This book is not a travel guide that provides information on multiple destinations; it is instead on why and how to travel the world, even if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking for travel guides to destinations around the world visit www.TravelForYour Life.com where Chantell shares the routes she has taken around the many countries she has visited and the time frames/practicalities of those journeys.”
TRAVEL THE WORLD:
“You may think that’s easier said than done and there are a multitude of reasons not to do it. They’re just the things that you have to start working to overcome from this moment on. The time to make the firm decision that you ‘will’ travel and start getting your life in order so that you are able to go is ‘now’.”
Chantell Glenville Travel for Your Life LIFESTYLES Press