The pandemic has affected every one of us in different ways – While the impact of COVID on the economy and nations is best left to the experts; I empathise with the most affected community of not- for- business- leisure and pleasure travellers of which I consider myself a member. The hardest hit is the travel & leisure tourism industry and pundits believed that it will take some years before things get back to pre COVID times. Holiday travellers like me lament the situation and are waiting for travel restrictions to ease, and “leisurely” rue the loss on airline and hotel bookings of this year’s travel plans. Each one of us has a different story pursuing refunds from agencies and service providers. But my dear friend, former colleague and inveterate traveller Sushil Bali has created an opportunity from the forced grounding caused by the Pandemic by writing a travel book.
Sushil, a military and corporate sector veteran along with his wife Manju have co-authored a book TRAVEL THE WORLD ON YOUR OWN – ITINERARY BUILDING , DREAM DESTINATIONS COST SAVING TRICKS, ALL ABOUT VISAS etc –The rather longish title can be forgiven since it contains a tremendous amount of distilled wisdom of their travels through 52 countries and all the continents and as an amplification they added “ except Antarctica” which to me seemed more like a lament .
The book is laid out in nine chapters and covers every aspect of planning for the leisure traveller. As Sushil himself says this book is not a travel chronicle or memoir but an inspirational book to motivate the uninitiated traveller to go it on his own. I particularly subscribe to the underlying thought of planning a trip on our own without the restrictions imposed by travel agents on a package tour – Couldn’t agree with him more. As one of my friends quoted from a travel guide pre-tour briefing – “You are on a conducted tour and not a holiday trip”! best sums up the reason for going it all by yourself. And besides researching and planning a trip is as much fun as going on the trip itself. While the internet is a fund of information and a great place for your research I would suggest you start by reading this book to appreciate the many dimensions and nuances of planning a tour. In a simple and lucid style the authors’ reinforce their belief that it is not as complicated as it is perceived.
Sushil and Manju in their book dispel the myths that travel is expensive and unaffordable and offers numerous cost saving tips(tricks as Sushil and Manju call it! ) to suit travellers with varying levels of budgets. Costs saving skills get sharper with each trip! Their learnings from travel through 52 countries are condensed and distilled in three chapters devoted to saving costs on airlines, travel, accommodation, sightseeing and of course spending.
I have personally related to every chapter in this book and find it a good and easy read. Some of the photographs jogged my memory of my visits. I would have loved to see more of Sushil and Manju’s experiences in the book but perhaps would make it voluminous and detract from the purpose of this book. Maybe that could be topic of their next book(s)! If you are an uninitiated novice this is the book to clear your mind of some of the notions and misconceptions holding you back and if you are a seasoned traveller you must still read this book and compare with your own ideas. I am sure you can learn more than a thing or two.
And the book has served one of the aims of the authors – to motivate the leisure traveller to get moving. I, for one have been extremely motivated to shake off my “sit back and wait” attitude and am building up my courage to brave the pandemic and set out once airline travel gets back to normal. I do hope that Sushil and Manju too set out for Antarctica soonest and achieve their unfulfilled desire. I will be there cheering them along vicariously enjoying their trip .
Notion Press Paperback: