AirBnB – A Home-based Adventure

In this post I will share our home-based adventure as an AirBnB host. In reality it is a pretty tame adventure, but hopefully this post will be useful if you have ever considered signing up as an AirBnB host.

Over the years we have stayed in a few AirBnBs ourselves. As my work was very quiet at the beginning of 2017 and because the kids have now left home, The Brave Man* thought becoming a host on AirBnB would be a good thing for us to be part of. Needless to say, since we joined AirBnB my work has gone ballistic, but we are still managing to keep all the balls in the air.

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Discover yourself…

Without Reservations

Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach. Photo: Penguin Random House.

Book Title: Without Reservations

Author: Alice Steinbach

Promotional Blurb: Without Reservations is about a woman’s dream come true – taking a year off to travel the world and rediscover what it is like to be an independent woman, without ties and without reservations. ‘In many ways, I was an independent woman,’ writes Alice Steinbach, single working mother and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. ‘For years I’d made my own choices, paid my own bills, shovelled my own snow, and had relationships that allowed for a lot of freedom on both sides.’ Slowly, however, she saw that she had become quite dependent in another way. ‘I had fallen into the habit of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me.’ Who am I, she wanted to know, away from the things that define me – my family, children, job, friends? Steinbach searches for the answer in some of the most exciting places in the world – Paris, where she finds a soulmate in a Japanese man; Oxford, where she learns more from a ballroom dancing lesson than any of her studies; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards Steinbach wrote home to herself, this is an unforgettable voyage of discovery. Source: Book Depository

My Thoughts:  Although I read this book many years ago, it still resonates with me today. I was struck by her courage to cast off the expectations of other people, as well as the limitations that she placed on herself. She wondered what happened to her old self, the missing woman, who was adventurous, curious and more of a risk-taker? Of course it helped that she had the financial wherewithal to afford her very own brand of international irresponsibility, but what a way to pursue a journey of self-discovery.

I use the word ‘courage’ because I believe she was pretty brave to step away from the comfort of her routine life, but also because she stepped out into the world on her own, with no real plans. How liberating would that be? She ticks off her personal highlights  – Paris, London, Oxford and Italy, and throughout the book she includes copies of postcards that she sent herself, capturing a snapshot of what she was experiencing that day. Note to self: time to start sending postcards to self!

I have included, at the end of this review, an interesting Q&A session she completed on the release of Without Reservations.

A light and enjoyable read, especially if you have visited any of Alice’s destinations, or if you also hanker to cast off the bow lines and sail out into the world.

Steinbach

Alice Steinbach. Photo: Penguin Random House.

Author bio: Alice Steinbach, whose work at the Baltimore Sun was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 1985, was a freelance writer until 1999. She was appointed the 1998-1999 McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton University and was the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She lived in Baltimore, Maryland and passed away in March 2012 from cancer. (Source)

Author blog or website: not found.

Pages:  320

Published: 2002

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Available from: Book Depository (from $AUD17.63)

Q& A with ALICE STEINBACH

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Girl Power and the World of Walking!

Remember herWhy is it that as we age, our sense of adventure often dims, and our expectations of what we can achieve, or what is appropriate behaviour, changes?

Thankfully I think society now views 50 as the new 30 and 60 as the new 40, so the only limitations we are controlled, or driven by, are the ones we place on ourselves.

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One Man’s Adventure, is Another Man’s Insanity!

Book Title: The Well At The World’s End

Author: AJ Mackinnon

The Well At The World's End - Book Depository

The Well At The World’s End. (Source: Book Depository)

Promotional Blurb: When A.J. Mackinnon quits his job in Australia, he knows only that he longs to travel to the Well at the World’s End, a mysterious pool on a remote Scottish island whose waters, legend has it, hold the secret to eternal youth. Determined not to fly (‘It would feel like cheating’), he sets out with a rucksack, some fireworks and a map of the world and trusts chance to take care of the rest. By land and by sea, by train, truck, horse and yacht, he makes his way across the globe – and through a series of hilarious adventures. He survives a bus crash in Australia, marries a princess in Laos, is attacked by Komodo dragons and does time in a Chinese jail. The next lift – or the next near-miss – is always just a happy accident away. This is the astonishing true story of a remarkable voyage, an old-fashioned quest by a modern-day adventurer. (Source)

My Thoughts:  I love a good adventure, and even more than that, an adventure that turns into a comedy of errors. I give Mackinnon full marks for audacity, vision and perhaps a fair dose of stupidity thrown in there. He was lucky to get out alive!

How is it that some people can dream up these journeys, and rationalise in their own minds that such trips are perfectly acceptable, and perfectly achievable? I guess that is what sets us apart – true adventurers and absolute novices.

He seems to lurch from one disaster to the next, meeting ever more fantastical characters, and brushing ever nearer to death. He gets arrested, jailed, deported, married, kidnapped, becalmed, and continuously re-routed on his two-step-forward-one-step-back progress, battling to get out of the Southern Hemisphere, let alone to a remote island off Scotland. In fact, over 230 pages of the book are devoted to lurching around Australia, New Zealand and Asia, before racing through the Mediterranean, Europe and finally to England in the last handful of pages.

Similar to his debut novel, he travels and writes quoting great swathes of poetry, and in this book, playing his tin whistle to earn his keep.

No wonder he travels solo!

It is hard to read Mackinnon’s story and not wonder how much is true and how much is simply wishful thinking. After all, this book covers a year of adventure in 1990, and this book was not released until 2011. Surely the lapse of 21 years has polished the tales to a golden hue?

Regardless, it is an enjoyable read and I look forward to him packing his bags, or at least putting pen to paper, again soon.

AJ (Sandy) Mackinnon

Sandy MacKinnon. Photo: Black Inc Books

Author bio: A. J. (Sandy) Mackinnon was born in Australia in 1963 and spent his childhood between England and Australia, travelling with his family on the last P&O liners to sail between the two countries. His interests include painting, philosophy, writing, conjuring and home-made fireworks. He is currently a teacher of English, Drama, Mathematics and Philosophy in the Victorian High Country. He is the author of The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow and The Well at the World’s End. (Source)

Author blog or website: not found.

Pages:  298

Published: 2011

Publisher: Sky Horse Publishing

Available from: Book Depository (from $16.83), fishpond.com (from $22.54)

 

A 4 023km, four-legged adventure…

Book Title: Crusader: By Horse to Jerusalem

Author: Tim Severin

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Photo: amazon.com

Promotional Blurb: Nearly 900 years ago, Duke Godfrey de Bouillon set out on the First Crusade– and in our own time, author Tim Severin retraced his steps. The destination: Jerusalem, city of gold. For more than eight years, Severin followed the historic trail, riding through northern Europe’s green countryside and into the heat of the Near East. In the process, he covered more than 2 500 miles by horse, past ruined Crusader settlements and ancient battlefields, over arduous mountain passes, and across Anatolian steppes. A dazzling synthesis of adventure, practical history, and exploration, told by one of our finest and most respected travel writers – illustrated with his own photographs. 

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“I felt the rains down in Africa..”

Sing along with me (and Toto) now…

Yes, I am a child of the 70s and 80s, flares, ponchos and Farrah-Fawcett-flick hairdos, but this song and its cutting edge film clip (for its day) does capture the essence of my South African adventure.

1983 was the year I grew up, had my mind opened (no drugs involved), and experienced the great outdoors of the Africa you see featured in postcards and travel brochures. I feel that, in some ways, I got to know Southern Africa better than many people because I lived there for 12 months, eventually learned the language, and travelled extensively. Continue reading

The True Spirit of Adventure

Book Title: The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow. A Mirror Odyssey from North Wales to the Black Sea

Author: AJ Mackinnon

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Photo: Black Inc. Books

Promotional Blurb: A couple of quiet weeks sailing the River Severn was the intention. Somehow things got out of hand – a year later I had reached Romania and was still going…

Truly hilarious books are rare. Even rarer are those based on real events. Join A.J. Mackinnon, your charming and eccentric guide, on an amazing voyage in a boat called Jack de Crow. 

Equipped with his cheerful optimism and a pith helmet, this Australian Odysseus in a dinghy travels from the borders of North Wales to the Black Sea – 4,900 kilometres over salt and fresh water, under sail, at the oars, or at the end of a tow-rope – through twelve countries, 282 locks and numerous trials and adventures, including an encounter with Balkan pirates. Along the way he experiences the kindness of strangers, gets very lost, and perfects the art of slow travel. 

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