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Earlier this month, I was given an advance copy of Wherever You Go: A Guide to Mindful, Sustainable, and Life-Changing Travel by Daniel Houghton. I was really excited to dive into this book, because I was curious about the different travel perspectives. Since I get to travel for work, it’s always neat to see other people with work-travel opportunities and how they take advantage of it.
Each of the 8 chapters start with a personal experience, followed by an interview. Through his personal experiences, you start to see how Houghton became the CEO of Lonely Planet and what his experience was like, being put in the role at such a young age. I enjoyed seeing Houghton’s growth through the book, and I learned a lot of random facts from the interviews. For example, I didn’t realize the founder of Tumi was also the founder of ROAM Luggage, a luxury luggage brand that I have had my eyes on for a while.
There were a few interviews in the book that stood out to me. Interviews with Dough Mills, a presidential photographer, and with Stephen Mansfield, a best selling author, reminded me that I once wanted to be a journalist. The interview with Lynda Lloyd, one of Delta’s most senior flight attendants, threw out facts about being a flight attendant that I didn’t know. She also had great travel advice that I hadn’t seen before – for example, keep your ‘evacuation kit’ in your hotel room handy in the event that you have to quickly leave.
What I found interesting was there seemed to be a recurring pattern with the interviewees, and the fact that they didn’t start traveling so much until they had to travel for work. A lot of stories shared talked about experiencing culture shock, or pointing out that they were the only white person on a train. These experiences seemed a bit cliché, but it was reassured that culture shock isn’t something that should prevent you from exploring the world.
The interviews that I read in Wherever You Go were very formulaic. Each interview starts with the interviewee explaining how they are involved in the travel industry, or why they think it is important to travel. Just as the conversation gets interesting and I want to hear more about their careers, Houghton switches the conversation to asking about personal travel experiences that they could share. As a career-minded person, this leaves me lingering for more information. The stories are at least relatively interesting, and flash me back to my own travel experiences.
Houghton was not necessarily my ideal interviewer. Many of the interviews in the book appear unedited with a lot of rambling from the speakers. The questions don’t seem to flow with the conversation, and there are many places where I would have asked the interviewee to expand. Sometimes Houghton doesn’t even ask questions, but instead adds personal commentary or will add simple comments such as “Indeed”. I found myself caring less about Houghton’s experiences, and wanting to hear more from the incredible people that he was talking to.
Overall, the book was still enjoyable in that it encouraged me to reflect on my own travels. There was a story about concerns with eating in India and getting Delhi belly – which was an experience that I also shared. My favorite quote from the book was from Noo Saro-Wiwa, an author and freelance journalist, who said:
The smallest town and the most boring parts of any country are full of exciting stuff, but you have to go look for it And yeah, it is really important to travel. I find simply going to a country you’ve never been to before, you suddenly engage with it in a different way, you come back home, and suddenly the newspaper articles about that country that you used to ignore, suddenly you’re paying attention, because you’ve been there. And that’s a small step towards helping people engage with the different parts of the world.Noo Saro-wiwa, Wherever You Go by Daniel Houghton, pg. 186
It’s quotes such as the one from Saro-Wiwa that make the book a worthwhile read. I have been struggling for a while to articulate why I think it is important to travel, and she was able to sum it up perfectly.
The goal of Wherever You Go: A Guide to Mindful, Sustainable, and Life-Changing Travel is to get you to book a flight and see the world. Houghton aims to give inspiration on why people travel – why people travel for work, and why people continue to travel in their free time. While Houghton’s interview style was a bit rough, there are still plenty of gems throughout the book.
Wherever You Go can be pre-ordered now on Amazon, and is available after November 26, 2019. See below to pre-order the book now.
The book was gifted for this review. All opinions are my own.