Travel Book Review

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Travel Etcetera: The World on Another Plane. By Stephen Scourfield. First published in Australia 2005. St George Books, Newspaper House, 50 Hasler Road, Osborne Park, Western Australia 6017. ISBN 0-86778-07101. 182 Pages. $19.95 (Paperback).

[i]Stephen Scourfield is a professional full-time Western Australian writer and photographer since 1977. [ii]Scourfield’s writing career began when he was 18. [iii]He is passionate about travel, music and the wide brown land of Australia. [iv]He is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books and a widely experienced magazine and book editor. [v]His publications include Unaccountable Hours: Three Novellas (fiction), Connected (essays and short stories), Other Country (novel), Travel Etcetera: The World on Another Plane, Western Australia: An Untamed View (photographic), The Lighthouse Keepers. [vi]He is Travel Editor of The West Australian newspaper in Perth, Western Australia, and its weekly publication, Travel Extra. [vii]He has travelled extensively throughout the world, and his journeys in Australia have developed a deep understanding of the continent’s human and geographic landscape. [viii]Scourfield is also an occasional lecturer on writing and photography.

Scourfield brings together some of his most fascinating journeys and encounters in this book, Travel Etcetera: The World on Another Plane. [ix]This book features destination pieces written after journeys between 2002 and 2005. [x]The book looks at the world in a personal and often amused way. It is a literary journey that interprets the very nature of travel.

The front cover of the book has a distinctive and colourful style picturing boats in Mauritius and also Waikiki, Hawaii on the back cover. It is a soft cover book held together with glue which is convenient for short term reads – that is, meant for people boarding airplanes, trains and etc, as it is of light weight. However, I would prefer a hard cover book as it is more durable and protects the book from wear and tear. Personally, I feel that Scourfield could have included photographs of his destinations which would make the book even livelier and that readers could better picture of what the places were like. Besides this, he could have also mentioned about the timeline of the places he went to so that readers know when and where he visited first. What I like best is the advisory part at the end of the book. I think that it is very practical and useful, and not many books would have included such a chapter.

The choice of words Scourfield used in this book was rather profound. I had to have a dictionary with me while reading the book at all time. It was a quite cumbersome task as I had to flip through the dictionary at every few pages of the book. Nevertheless, my knowledge of words generally increases. Scourfield also used plenty of descriptive phrases in which enable me to see a better picture throughout his journeys.

A few interesting questions asked by Scourfield to reflect: [xi]Why do we travel? What is the value of travel? If we travel to see, enjoy and learn about cultures, and believe that knowledge breeds respect and tolerance, how to explain continuing racism and aggressive international politics, taking into account how commonplace travel has become? [xii]Scourfield define travel as a badge. Once an adventure, it is now an expectation, just as we expect a car, a television set, a computer.

[xiii]It is said that only seven households in every hundred in India have a telephone. Scourfield asked a friend there why and was answered there was not anyone else he needs to speak to as everything is within 100 paces; a whole world. The statistics was shocking and I could not even imagine myself living without a phone. I agree that [xiv]giving money to beggars simply...
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