I first saw this book while waiting for a flight to go travelling again. I had a brief look through it and immediately recognized many of the things that i have experienced from independent travel. The book really is very insightfull and pulls no punches. I applaud him for being honest and speaking the unspeakable. There are plenty of backpackers out there who dont want you to know about the grizzly mundane side of travel. And Peter rumbles their little game. But in being so honest, that's where this book's danger lies. It could bring you to travel, or send you running away from the idea in horror. The humour is often hilarious, but at other times overplays it,or hides behind humour to be bitterly sarcastic about cultures or countries he perhaps did'nt enjoy. At one stage you just start to feel that Peter is adoring how funny he can be, and steps it up for the sake of effect. The book itself is well layed out, and very easy to read. But perhaps lacking in content for your money?, given the price of the book. I read it in half a day and felt i'd payed far too much for it. Later on, you see the original point of the book has run out of steam,and just cops out in favour of "Top 10 <enter subject here>" lists.
Much of the later parts of the book seem like filler. Everybody likes Top 10 lists, and i think Peter played on that to fill out where he'd trailed off from the point of the book. It's a shame because it does seems quite promising at times, delving with great comic insight into the real hopes and sometimes delusions of budget travellers. It suddenly seems to move away from that subject later on, in favour of being funny with Top 10 lists and his personal memories. That's where it loses it's original edge. They say that you cannot have the pleasure without the pain. Peter describes the pain very well. But he does'nt talk about the pleasure, which is the reward for all those trials. He briefly mentions that at the start. But makes it sound like it's just a kind of maschochism that some travellers thrive on, and that is what keeps him travelling. Rather than you being rewarded with something much deeper for the trials you sometimes face along the way. I think it is very easy to make it sound as though you dont feel anything more higher than the mundane,when you travel.
So in that sense, i think Peter tried to portray himself as "Just an ordinary Bloke" a bit too much. He must have felt more than that, to have travelled so much. But he tries to deny it with "down to earth Aussie humour". I've travelled independently on a budget in about 22 countries now. So i can recognize much that goes on in the book. But i also know that Peter must have experienced the romance and deep feelings that travel can bring. That's the other side to travel which is'nt touched upon in this book. Aussie humour always tries to knock romance off it's perch and "Be one of the Lads". Ever macho and down to earth,it fears being seen as possibly affected by deeper emotions of travel. And in that way, at times i felt Peter was scared to perhaps tell both sides of the travelling story?,for fear of being seen as "A bloody Poof" (insert Aussie accent here). But the romance of travel is the other side of the coin, and it exists.