Review by: Rox Burkey
Author Robert Fear opens up the pages documenting his 1981 travels to Hong Kong, Thailand, India, and Nepal. Keep in mind this is not a fictional story nor a travel guide to use in your travels, but it is interesting.
These are the daily, detailed exploits of a young man who meets people, sees places, and records the nuances of each day. It takes discipline to register every day on a trip, but Fred’s Diary capitalizes on that effort.
In reading the details of the 158 days of adventure, I wondered how the remote destinations, costs, and interactions might differ nearly 40 years later along the same path. There are several references to towns, travel destinations, and new acquaintances made along the way, which made me wonder how much of this remains today.
“… Sped off into the traffic and within five minutes were at the office of the houseboat company. We chatted over a cup of tea to the owner, a young Kashmir guy whose father owned the houseboats. We agreed to take a place on one of the boats for our first night in Srinagar at least. This will cost R60 with breakfast for a C category room.
We were driven to the Indian Airlines office where Rita got a ticket to Bombay leaving at 8:30 p.m. on the 25th. The flight takes an hour and three quarters and should leave plenty of time for her to connect with the flight back to Frankfurt. The cost was US$81 which is expensive but saves all the hassle and time involved if she’d had to get the train down there.”
The honesty of his experiences over the length of the trip was evident. His writing is clear and concise as well as transparent. It was precisely how it was for him at the time. The drug usage isn’t my cup of tea, but it was available in many places with few regulations. I appreciate the writing as thoughts of the times from a young man who enjoyed the time he traveled.
I recommend this diary for those over 20. It is a look-see inside someone else or, indeed, watching the world through someone’s eyes. It would be interesting if Fred would make the trip again today and compare the younger to the older Fred.
About the Author
Robert Fear has lived in Eastbourne, on the south coast of the UK for half his life. He moved there to be with Lynn, his future wife and is still there with her thirty years later. As cat-lovers they have taken on several rescue cats over the years and are owned by three at the moment – Hazell (tabby), Jet (black) and Sparky, a bouncy ginger three-year-old.
For his day job Robert works as a self-employed software consultant. In his spare time, he writes, edits and self-publishes books, and organises annual travel writing competitions.
Robert’s interest in travel goes back to his twenties when he spent most of his time abroad. His experiences included a summer in Ibiza, hitch-hiking around Europe and touring the USA & Canada. His most eventful trip was in 1981 when he travelled around Asia.
Born into a religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren, his father John took the brave step of leaving it with his young family when Robert was nine years old. Robert never saw his grandparents again but is thankful for being able to grow up outside this restrictive group. His life has been full of adventures that he would never have experienced otherwise.
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