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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - September 2018

Thanks lionpops, I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading about our travels, it was quite an adventure and took us far out of our comfort zone, but I believe that’s what world travel is all about

You make a good point about a positive attitude attracting like minded people.
I remember when Helene and I were in Japan trying to navigate across the country by train. We would often stand under a train departures board staring blankly at the flashing hieroglyphics of the Japanese language, without fail a local would approach us and go out of their way to help us. What charming people they are.

I enjoyed reading about the travels of David and Helene. I have flown around the world,cruised around the world and am very glad to have done so before the world has become such a hostile place. I do believe that if you travel with a positive spirit you will meet the same positivity in the people you meet. I remember a beautifully spoken young man in Istanbul escorting me to a carpet shop belonging to his Uncle. I was hot tired and thirsty after two weeks travel through turkey. The gentleman sat us down brought us mint tea and we chatted about our travels and purchases. We shook hands and left with no mention of selling.

Thanks again @ESW for the great insight into your travels and wise words about how places can be destroyed by ‘modern tourism’. The law of unintended consequences!

I mentioned below the Q&A interview I had done with David Moore, the author of Turning Left Around The World, the Silver Travel Book Club book of the month for September. The article, with some brilliant answers from David and his wife Helene, has now been published….here is the link:

https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/blog/silver-gap-years-and-bucket-list-travels/turning-left-around-the-world

Hopefully it gives Silver Travellers a window into David & Helene’s adventure, and also inspires all of us to expand our travelling horizons.

Looking forward to hearing about your own ‘retirement’ adventures, and look out for some interaction on this Forum with David & Helene….

Over the years we have realised that many of the ‘must see’ places on the typical tourist itinerary are over run with other tourists, and are in danger of being spoilt by tourism. (The tourist destroying what originally attracted them to the place). Some places are so unique they really do deserve the designation of a ‘must see’, but the majority don’t. Very often it is possible to discover somewhere else just as good which hasn’t yet been discovered. These are the places which have always attracted us.

Go to Kyrgyzstan soon @AndrewMorris before it is ‘discovered’. It is a fascinating place and the tourist infra structure is developing. We loved the Tian Shan mountains and would have liked to have spent longer there. The area around Tash Rabat was beautiful.

We had a few days around Lake Issyk Kul and would also have liked to get to some of the smaller lakes. time didn’t permit and we were warned they were more difficult to reach and and accommodation could be ‘iffy’. The Ala Archa National Park was stunning.

Unfortunately Michael picked up a severe stomach bug so much of his time in Kyrgyzstan was spent in a bit of a blur as he was unable to leave the bedroom. We needed to call out a doctor to see him. The cost of doctor, nurse, IV drip and medicines (including taking me to the chemist to collect the prescription) cost us the princely sum of £65 dollars!

ESW
Lincolnshire

Wow, thanks @ESW for that fabulous post about your own travel adventures in the first few years after retiring. What an extraordinary collection of real travel experiences and destinations….you really did get ‘off the beaten track’, didn’t you!

I love the idea of taking a nation’s temperature by measuring its ‘Gross National Happiness’, as they do in Bhutan, rather than using GDP growth. I wonder which direction our own GNH index has gone in the last few years…..

The empanada escapade in Chile sounds like a perfect example of what can make a trip so special and – cliche alert – ‘authentic’.

And by coincidence, there’s another fascinating insight into Kyrgyzstan over on Silver Travel Advisor partner TripFiction’s website today….a Talking Location article by author Tom Callaghan, who has married a Kyrgyz woman and spends a lot of time there:
https://www.tripfiction.com/talking-location-with-author-tom-callaghan-kyrgyzstan/

I’ve always wanted to go there since my nephew told me how beautiful the landscape is, and how friendly the people are, when he was on a World Challenge expedition there, while still at school. Tom’s article and your own memories have only reinforced my desire to get to see this fascinating place too.

Thanks again for your genuinely inspiring comment. Looking forward to more Silver Traveller retirement stories throughout September, when Turning Left Around The World is the Silver Travel Book Club book of the month.

Andrew
Literary Editor

Like David and Helene, we used Audley Travel for seven long haul trips a few years ago. They were done over a period of 5 years, covering ten countries and we were away for a total of about 6 months in that time – so a long way to go to beat the Moores. We didn’t do a hot air balloon or motorbike and sidecar but did planes, ferries and trains as well as car and driver.

Like them we were full of praise for Audley Travel who really did go the extra mile to meet our very precise and desire to visit often out of the way places.

Our first trip was seven weeks across Asia, beginning at Irkutsk (for Lake Baikal) and taking the Trans Siberian Railway into Mongolia. Getting out of Russia was considerably more difficult than getting in and Russian customs almost took the train to pieces. You don’t mess with the Russians as two young Germans found to their cost….

We spent a few nights in Mongolia – wonderful open spaces and still well off the tourist trail, including a stay in a ger. We then continued on the train to Beijing (Forbidden City, Great Wall of China etc) before making our way across China to Kashgar in the far west. We were in China during the massive earthquake and part of our itinerary would have taken us into areas still suffering from after shocks, and had to be rewritten ‘on the hoof’. Audley travel and our guide came up trumps and within a few hours had completely rejigged a week’s itinerary. We got into parts of China European visitors never reach and jaws did literally drop when people saw us. We had avoided avoided the Sunday Market at Kashgar which probably has more tourists than locals now. Instead we visited a traditional local market in a small settlement near Kasgar. Farmers were arriving by donkey cart. We were the only European faces. We sat at a stall eating naan, water melon and drinking green tea, trying to ignore the sheep’s head for sale at our feet which became difficult when the stall holder started pointing out its finer points to a prospective buyer.

From Kashgar we continued across the mountains into Kyrgyzstan – the Chinese custom officials were very interested in any guide books and maps we might have in our luggage and carefully inspected all of them. (They take exception to maps which show Taiwan in a different colour to Mainland China.) It was lunchtime on the Kyrgyzstan side, and all the officials were at lunch and we just drove straight across the border.

We also had two holidays in South America, visiting Argentina (NO Tango dinners but we did get as far south as Ushuaia), Chile and Bolivia (the salt flats are amazing and saw the train Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid blew up). One of the highlights were the empanadas from a tiny village in the depths of the Chilean Lake District. We were exploring when we were stopped by an old gentleman valiantly peddling after us on his bicycle and shouting at us. At first we thought it was along the lines of “You can’t go down there.” We then picked up the word empanada and realised he was trying to sell us some. We assumed we would be taken to the house and buy a couple of empanada from his wife. We followed him and were taken through the back garden past with all the vegetables into a large wooden shed at the end, where there was a production line in operation. One old lady was rolling out the pastry and another two were filling and cutting out the empanadas. These were then handed to someone else who deep fried them in a huge saucepan of boiling oil over a wood burning stove.

Michael had a limited amount of Spanish. In our innocence we indicated what we thought was one empanada each. We were sat down at a rickety wooden table like honoured guests with a piece of kitchen towel as a table mat. Someone disappeared to the house and came back with two china cups so we could have tea to drink. What we hadn’t realised was that one empanada meant one bowl with 12 empanadas … and every one stood and watched as we ate. A message about us must have gone round the village as more and more people appeared to see us. We managed about three each before getting full. The remainder were carefully wrapped up and given to us – so guess what we had for tea that night.

There were also holidays in India to Ladakh which involved flying over the Himalayas with views of Mount Everest and also Bhutan. This has only been open for tourism for a few years and in many ways is still a Medieval society with work in the fields all done by hand. This is one of the few places in the World which use an indicator of “Gross National Happiness’ rather than economic development.

Compared with this, our last trip with Audley to Tunisia could almost be considered ‘main stream’!

Then add in other holidays to Greenland, Iceland, Faroes, Newfoundland…

We feel very privileged to have been able to visit places like this before they get ‘discovered’ and spoilt by the problems of mass tourism

ESW
Lincolnshire

This month the Silver Travel Book Club is reading Turning Left Around The World by David C. Moore. And you can find out much more about the author and his wife Helene, and their experiences travelling around the world, in this Q&A interview article with our Literary Editor Andrew.

For some people, retirement dreams consist of comfy slippers and gardening. Not so David and his wife Helene, whose dream was of adventure.

They presented Audley Travel, specalities in creating tailor-made journeys to all corners of the globe, with the challenge of exploring the history, landscape, wildlife, people and food in fifteen countries over ten months.

Fortunately, they were up to the task so David and Helene traded their slippers and gardening gloves for 53 flights, 30 trains, 8 boats, 3 cruise ships, 1 light aircraft, 1 hot air balloon, a motorbike and sidecar, countless speedboats, taxis, tuk-tuks, cyclos, bicycles. And a disobedient horse.

Turning Left Around The World is an entertaining account of their adventure, often intriguing, frequently funny and occasionally tragic. Share their adventure, enjoy the surprises and meet some fascinating people with some unusual customs

We would love to hear about your own travels since retirement, or where you are planning to visit when you do retire. Or did you plan a single, exciting trip to celebrate retirement?

And in a special giveaway month, join this Forum thread, or comment on Silver Travel’s Facebook page, and the best five – yes, that’s five! – entries from Silver Travellers will each win a signed copy of Turning Left Around The World. And it gets even better….the single most entertaining or interesting comment will win a print by Tim Bulmer, the humorous artist who designed the book cover for Turning Left Around The World.

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