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Silver Travel Book of the month - March 2019

Congratulations @Upstart and @The-lone-traveller who have both won a copy of The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton, our Silver Travel Book Club book of the month for March.

The book will be landing on their doormats soon, and I hope they enjoy reading this interesting take on travel.

April’s Book of the Month has been announced on the Book Club home page and you can start leaving comments on the Forum thread here.

Happy reading and happy travelling!

Andrew
Literary Editor

Wrapped up in thick coats, gloves, hats and life jackets, we sat in our zodiac inflatable boat. The sea was a mirror, reflecting the pale sky. Snow-covered mountains to our left and right were impressively jagged. Usually a chatty bunch, we were awed into silence, the only sound the lapping of waves around us.

With a noise like a dam bursting, a dark, smooth mass broke the surface. A whale. This is what we’d come to Alaska to see. She raised her huge body as if it was feather light, disappeared beneath the surface, rose and dived again. And again. And again. We could have been watching a slow-motion film. We knew she was female as a calf swam close beside her, moving in sequence with its mother.

They could have been out for a leisurely afternoon swim. We realised that mother whale could have tipped us into the sea with very little effort. But she accepted our presence, allowing us to share her world.

I’ve no photographs or film of the encounter but I can recall every moment of it: the sense of peace, beauty and awe-inspiring power will stay with me forever.

That’s why I travel. To explore the way others live – humans and animals. My experiences don’t always bring me happiness, but are always enlightening. And I value the life-long memories of my travelling encounters.

@MOUNTAINGOAT….
What a great experience.
Just goes to show how important it is to be open to new experiences….and to serendipity

Gullane

Escapism is my reason to travel.
Seeing people, places ,cultures so different from mine, and if I could I would just keep traveling .
But I do like to carry my shell to crawl into giving me a feeling of home. A tent or vehicle, maybe a motor bike or boat.
And because I have no problem talking to any one or anything that moves, trees and I have long conversations and animals, don’t mind milking a cow, goat ,sheep or camel if I need milk . I find that peasant people are the most interesting to me .I understand their thoughts and life style
.When meeting diplomats or politicians I see the defensive positions in which they hide their real characters, though charm and eloquence surround them.And intellectual conversation can be stimulating .Give me the natural people who do not have an act to put on and you become one with them.
Special place to me is Russia. The plane landed, a bus picked us up, took us to the centre of St. Petersburg, lost two of us and drove off. Now that was fun ,no money, no language, no idea where our ship was for our ongoing journey we had been told a different ship was to be used no name given . So we went to sit in a park while we planned our next move !
There we met an English speaking Russian man who was studying music at the conservatoire .We chatted about the highly decorated accordion player Oleg Sharov, whom I had meet a few time in Oban where he played for an old friend ,(He makes the most extraordinary musical sounds) . By now we were feeling at home,we found a bank with the help of our new acquaintance ,then went for a meal in the square with him . Hours went quickly by, a terrified guide was seen alighting from a bus which had squealed to a stop the other side of the area we were in.
Ah! That must be our transport, we exchanged hugs and addresses with our knight in shining armour .And went over to a very frightened cowering guide who was so relieved to find us , he had not counted his charges before driving off.(Bet he never forgets again. Off to Siberia if he does.) I found Russians so hospitable and we went on to have a wonderful holiday. Met a Dr who worked in the big prison in Amsterdam that then led to our next trip where we stayed with him! But that is another epic !

WEST SCOTLAND

To travel is to experience new places, the scenery & sunsets, cities & villages, historic buildings, museums & art galleries. Enjoy the company of others, eat & enjoy good & different food and bring back the memories of all these things.

Like most I travel to see new places, cultures, people and food. I’m also fascinated by the varied architecture and scenery. About half of my travel is centered on visiting family and friends as so many live far away. I love to read novels set in different countries and later visit them to marry the written words with what I later see. I’m also drawn to read novels set in places I have visited so I can even more clearly see what the writer describes. It is a continuous circle of reading and travel.
What stands out to me as being when I enjoy a feeling of complete happiness are those moments when I’m in nature; the countryside or along a coast where the scenery is breathtaking. This has happened recently taking in the 360 degree vista from the top of St. Michael’s Mount and along the opposite coast in Port Isaac in Cornwall and at the far side of Lindisfarne Island in Northumberland. Maybe it’s because I’m from the seaside, but I am happy when I can see the sea. These memories are compounded by being with family members with whom I love to travel.

Thanks for all the inspiring comments so far from Silver Travel Book Club members on why you travel, and for sharing some of your most powerful travel memories.

This month’s Book Club choice is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton – definitely a travel guide with a difference – and we’ve asked why you travel and if there’s one particular trip that instilled a feeling of warm happiness in you. The most interesting two entries by 31/03 will each win a copy of the book.

Personally, I travel to experience other cultures, to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise come across, understand and eat local food, and generally – cliche alert – try to discover what is truly authentic about a place.

One memorable recent travel experience, thanks to Explore and Silver Travel Advisor, was to Chernobyl where I met the remarkable Ivan Semenyuk, living inside the nuclear Exclusion Zone:
https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/blog/special-interest/discover-chernobyl-trip-with-explore

It didn’t fill me with warm happiness (apart from the horseradish vodka, obviously), but it was a fascinating travel experience and certainly a very humbling meeting.

Andrew
Literary Editor

I travel to meet new people and get away from the routine of home. I cannot bear the thought of when I cannot holiday.

Sutton coldfield

I just love to visit new countries – see the sights, taste the local cuisine, learn about the culture. One of my favourite places to visit was French Guyana – shooting the rapids on the Amazon, sleeping in a hammock – very scary to see and hear animal footsteps underneath all night, tasting the food which the organisers went out to catch and cook for us, visited Devil’s Island and saw the remains of the prison where Papillion was. A really different interesting time.

London

Why do I travel? The big question.

I like to explore, meet people from different cultures, try new foods, see iconic sights I have only heard of, and have adventures.
I have a scratch of map that both excites me and depresses me. Depresses me because the 50 countries I have visited hardly make a difference on the map, and excited because there are so many places to go, people to meet and adventures to be had.

While travelling in the Galapagos Islands, on the Mary Rose, a beautiful sail boat with only 16 passengers, I met an inspiring young woman. She had MS and was travelling solo. She wanted to do her long haul travel before it became to difficult and then would travel closer to home. From the Galapagos she was flying to Easter Island. She was not to proud to ask for help when needed.

A similar meeting took place in Vietnam, another young woman travelling solo and again with MS. I saw her struggling to board the boat taking us into a large cave. I helped her and we walked together, exploring, chatting, and sharing stories.

If these young women can travel solo so can I.

Last year, in Vietnam, I sat by a lake with two friends. In silence we watched a lone fisherman, paddling, in circles, with his feet, while he dropped his nets and hauled them in. Such peace, such quiet, such beauty, such serenity, such happiness.

Exeter. UK.
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