Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

One Big Trip Ends, Another Begins... ...and the Blog becomes a Book

Front page from the book

One Big Trip Ends, Another Begins

On Monday the 27th of August I arrived back in Scotland from Capetown, after 360 days on the road. It's been great to spend time with family and friends in the last three weeks after so long away. It was also good to have some time to think over the trip, the places visited and the people met.

As well as looking back over the year, I've also been making plans. In my last week in Sydney, back in June, Opportunity International Australia offered me a full-time paid and sponsored contract for a year, based in their Sydney, Australia office.

(Left and Right: front and back flaps from the hardback version.)

The position involves working to relieve poverty in India, Nepal, Cambodia and other countries - some of the places I've visited on the Big Trip. The work will build on the voluntary work I did for OIA between February and May.

It's an opportunity I couldn't turn down and so I'm now once again looking out my rucksack and wondering what I can fit in it. I expect to fly out in mid-end October. The key obstacle to overcome is arranging a sponsorship visa with the Australian government. As I discovered back in April, this isn't always an easy process...

Blog becomes a Book

As well as travelling about the country catching up with people and planning for my move back to Australia, I've been busy with one other thing too. I've now converted this blog into a book and had it published.

The book is a 200-page hard-back, coffee table style book - ie with plenty (500+) of pictures. It covers almost the whole blog, from the start of the 500 mile walk up to departing Capetown. Rather than repeating myself, here's the blurb from the back of the book:

Back page from the book

Want to know how to mix a 'panty-ripper', where the best nightclub is on Easter Island or how to survive the civil war in Zimbabwe?

Then read Big Trip, one over-excitable Scotsman's rollocking twelve-month journey through 25 countries and 5 continents . Whether 10,000 feet up over Everest, or 100 feet below the Carribean waters of Belize, Calum's Big Trip was packed with adventure and now you can relive it all in 200 chewable pages. You'll cry with Calum at the birth of his friend's baby, you'll scream with him as he jumps off a bridge, you'll laugh at him as he gets wee-d on by a lion.

You'll meet a whole host of interesting characters, from Prime Ministers' wives to filmstars, from Chilean womens' basketball champs to Bolivian TV reporters. With travel advice from Australia to Zambia you'll find out... where to get a carry-out at five in the morning in Santiago, how to catch endangered tropical fish in Belize and what it means to get 'calumed'.

Packed with poetry, political commentary and an annoying tendency to list things in threes, Big Trip is the perfect travel companion for anyone who can't spend a day in the African jungle without wondering whether there'll be internet and a comfy bed in the evening. So don't be a numpty. Buy it and pack it in your rucksack today and it will get you through many a cold bushcamping evening (each page is coated in a special slow-burning chemical mixture which will keep your campfire blazing gaily for days).

"This book will be an award-winning multinational bestseller"
Calum's gran

"I was surprised to learn he could read, let alone write"
Ewan McGregor

"We won't be letting him back in our country"
The Bolivian Tourist Board

"He fell on my tent!"
Big Momma

"Like, whatever..."
Brock Randy Eston Hoback

Introduction from the book

The book is available to order online (as if, lol!) and is available in softback (£20.95) and hardback versions (£24.95). You can also see a preview of the first 15 pages there. I can't really see it being a best seller, but just in case you're interesed, here's the link: