Please note: All opinions stated here are my own.
I love travel books. I love all books, but travel books are my favourite to devour, especially when I’m getting a little bored of daily routine. I love to sink comfortably into other people’s travel experiences and daydream about myself being in that magical place.
However, there’s not much that’s comfortable or magical about travels with Kerr and his partner Ellen. In this very honest account of their two years traversing the globe, you wonder if so many strange things can possibly happen to one couple. After coming across a porcelain Buddha at a car boot sale while hungover, the duo decide to pack their belongings and Buddha into a pair of rucksacks and hightail it out of Edinburgh and around the globe, on a mission to return Buddha to his home in Bangkok and beyond.
I came across this book by accident and had never heard of it before. I was browsing the iBooks app on my iPad, trying to find a good travel book to read that’s actually available on this app (please put on more options iBooks! 😃). Having purchased quite a few already I came across this one as recommended for me. How well Apple knows me!
Safe to say that this book will keep you entertained with countless anecdotes of their failures to see some of the worlds’ famous landmarks, their numerous bouts of sicknesses, discovering a Scottish brothel, many drunken nights, a magical experience at Machu Picchu, and a terrifying experience in a ‘taxi’ in Venezuela.
Not to mention all the fascinating and sometimes downright irritating people that they meet along the way, including one with whom they spent the entire journey from Russia to Beijing!
There are some painfully honest parts too, like discovering the passing of his father while in Asia, and the aftermath of their frightening experience in Venezuela.
There was something about this book that I really enjoyed. I love discovering new places through travel accounts, but with Billy and Ellen it was more than that. You really grow very fond of the pair, and want them to find some luck on their journeys as they miss yet another key tourist sight or lie in bed suffering from another severe bout of sickness. I enjoyed following them on their epic train journey from Russia to Beijing on the Trans-Mongolian Express, an interesting ferry ride in South East Asia, scary flights in South America, and multiple bus journeys as they made their way down Chile.
Minus a year in Australia, I think Kerr has summed up his travels very nicely. It’s not so long as to get boring and become a trawl, but it’s long enough to give a fair summary of each place they went to. Not to mention the so-typically British traits that they display that I can totally relate to!
If you want a kind of off-the-grid travel account to read, that isn’t all roses and rainbows, then for sure pick up “A Tale of Buddas and Bandits”. It’s well worth the read.