THE IDLE TRAVELLER: THE ART OF SLOW TRAVEL BY DAN KIERAN
Whilst travelling idly through Berkshire en route to a wedding recently, I happened upon the fabulous Hungerford Bookshop. It’s an exciting modern cavern of new and old titles that is unfortunately such a rarity these days. And that is where I got my hands on this great little paperback. Enticed by the cover art and the fact that we were travelling idly at the time, I snapped it up and read it in the garden during this weekend’s heat wave.
The author, Dan Kieran, is a travel writer and is perhaps best known as the only such writer who does not fly. Instead he chooses to get places slowly and discover all manner of people, landscapes and life along the way. In this book he describes various slow journeys he has made – to a wedding in Poland, inter-railing around Europe in his twenties, to the surroundings on his doorstep in West Sussex and to Land’s End on a milk float with a top speed of 15mph!
He teaches us to embrace inconvenience and the adventure it could bring, to look out of the window and take in life peacefully instead of fiddling with iphones and laptops, and to be our own guide when we visit somewhere new and not be led by others and the tourist trail.
Like me, he is not a fan of racing around “doing the sights” as he often feels underwhelmed when he does. Talking about a trip to Vienna with his son, he describes it as “no guilt, no making the most of our stay – just a few days walking and reading.” Perfect.
In this short book, Kieran’s writing is thought provoking and convincing, delivered with humour and insight. Being someone who tries to swim against the tide of fast paced modern living, I found this an excellent read – perfect for a mid-length train journey somewhere this summer.
SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 8/10
Notes on the author – Dan Kieran:
- Has written slow travel articles for the Guardian, the Observer and The Times
- His books include Crap Towns, Crap Jobs and Crap Holidays and is co-author of Three Men in a Float
- In 2011 he co-founded the publishing platform Unbound
“Unbound puts the power of publishing in the hands of authors and readers. Authors pitch their book ideas directly to you. If you back a project before it reaches its funding target, you get your name printed in the back of every copy and immediate behind-the-scenes access to the author’s shed. If any project fails to hit its funding target, you get refunded in full.”
MY RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS – GREAT TRAVEL WRITING:
- McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland by Pete McCarthy
- Stranger on a Train: Daydreaming and Smoking Around America by Jenny Diski
- Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington