Travelling for the Over Sixties by Timothy Blewitt is two books in one. There is a travelogue where the author describes his travel adventures. But intermixed with the travelogue is a detailed, sometimes very detailed, travel guide. Both are angled towards the over sixties traveller, although much would be of interest to travellers of any age.
The travelogue parts are very readable, with wisdom and humour often coming through. On the other hand, the travel guide parts of this book are largely for reference. I tended to skip these parts when reading through this book, whilst making a mental note of what I would consult when making travel plans.
The author very much favours independent travel, asking: ‘Do you want to be travelling around with a group of old people even if you are one of them? Travelling is not really about following someone holding up a flag so that you do not get lost.’
However, he is happy to admit that cruises can sometimes make good sense, even if they may be considered as ‘cheating’ to the ‘real’ traveller. He considers them okay if there is no choice, such as when visiting the Norwegian Fjords or Antarctica.
Taking the travelogue parts of the book first, I particularly enjoyed reading about the author’s round the world trips. Having made a couple of such trips myself when over sixty, it was good to compare notes. I very much agree with Tim’s comment:
‘If you have never been on a round the world trip then I envy you because you still have that to look forward to. It is often described as a trip of a life time and it is but I would be quite happy to do one every year.’
His adventures when overlanding in West Africa were fascinating. Having myself spent seven years in West Africa, I can appreciate some of the problems he came across, but also the intense experience of colours, smells and sounds that is real Africa. Similarly enjoyable to read was his account of a journey on the trans-Siberian Railway.
The travel guide parts of the book covers almost everything, including what to pack, where to go, which airlines to use, where to stay, how to travel safely and where to get further advice, with over 200 useful websites.
One tip I found useful was to check out Avis car rentals if other major companies turn you down because you are too old.
At the end of the book the author gives his top 100 travel experiences, a truly wide-ranging and inspiring list. This article is illustrated with some of the items taken from this list.
This is a long book, 339 pages, with a fairly small print size. There are a large number of photographs, which, as the author pointed out, are unfortunately in black and white for production reasons. It would be good if the colour versions were made available online.
If you are a frequent senior traveller, then this book is a recommended read, although maybe missing out some of the travel guide details, as I did. If you are an over sixties thinking of travelling, then the whole book should prove interesting and very useful.
It would also be an excellent gift for someone approaching retirement, who maybe needs a little bit of encouragement to get out and see the world.
It is printed in paperback by CreateSpace, 2013 (ISBN 9781492346333), and can be obtained from the Book Depository for £8.50 with free world-wide delivery (search with the ISBN number).
For my other book reviews see: Books
POSTED 10th DECEMBER 2014 by STEVE HANSON