Tuesday, 29 September 2015


5 out of 5 stars

Travel memoir ~ Aus, NZ, Nepal, India, Malaysia

On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE

I'd been meaning to read this for so long, and even started it a couple of times but kept getting distracted by stuff like writing novels, reviewing commitments and zombie apocalypse series... but at last the time was right, when I just felt like a travel memoir, and what better than one by Jo Carroll?

It made me humbled ~ Jo started her 'gap year' when she was the age I am now, and I read about it from the comfort of ~ well, you know.  Yo respect, and all that.

Jo's grand tour starts in Australia and New Zealand; I wished there was more about these countries as they're places I long to visit; I loved reading her descriptions, particularly of NZ.  She travels with a companion in a huge camper van, after which she carries on alone to ... was it Nepal next?  I can't remember.  But then there's India, and Malaysia, and Cambodia, and Thailand.  I enjoyed the Nepal section very much, too, and Malaysia.

This account is very honest; I liked the way she talked about gradually finding her own rhythm, confidence that she could do things she never dreamt she could, the personal disasters (illness, the first time being due to a dodgy spring roll in Lucknow), her fears and occasional bouts of homesickness.  Best of all is the astute observation of the people she meets along the way, the pictures painted as sharply as in any good character-driven novel, from the garrulous Victor early on in NZ (or was it Australia?), the self-absorbed young travellers in Malaysia, the lovely and generous Rocky, slightly creepy Gardner in Cambodia (who does a fair bit to help her, it has to be said) with his young Khmer wife, and little nine year old Lolita in India, selling trinkets on her stall ~ yes, there are sad bits, too.  

There's far, far too much for me to describe here, but if you have any interest in visiting or have visited any of the countries named, you'll love this.  

Now, Ms Carroll, you mentioned meaning to go to St Petersburg; will you do that next, please, so I can read your book about it from the comfort of my four pillows?

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT by Jo Carroll is reviewed HERE
~ it's paperback only, and contains Jo's three other books all together, which are available on Kindle.  The one about Laos, Bombs and Butterflies, is wonderful and, I think, easily the best; it's on Amazon UK HERE

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