Book Review: Travel Anywhere (and avoid being a tourist) by Jeralyn Gerba and Pavia Rosati

Nowadays, our wanderlust is often simultaneously fuelled and quenched by travel insta inspo, travel blogs, and an abundance of travel vloggers on Youtube. In such a digital world, the relevance of the old school, hard copy travel guide may seem to be waning. Nevertheless, Travel Anywhere (and avoid being a tourist) seeks to be both the on-trend inspiration and practical guidebook to all that is a must-see, do or visit for the savvy, modern traveller. On the whole, Travel Anywhere successfully fulfils this brief.

The book’s premise, “travel trends and destination inspiration for the modern adventurer”, dictates everything from its content to its design and appearance. Aesthetically pleasing photographs, cutesy sketches, and an interior pastel colour scheme all contribute to the book’s visual appeal. Its basic, simple fonts are easy to read, and appropriate headings divide the book into sections that appeal to the modern traveller’s diverse interests.

The authors’ insistence on distinguishing the superficial, hedonistically guided ‘tourist’ from the culturally aware, #authentic ‘traveller’ may alienate those who travel for purely escapist purposes or want to indulge in the luxury of international travel. If you are someone only interested in having a ‘good time’ in Bali during your post-exam getaway, this book is not for you. Similarly, if you cringe at the thought of ‘Hotels for Instagram Addicts’, and the prospect of visiting ‘co-working spaces’ or ‘wellness retreats’ makes you want to run a mile (or preferably fly to the opposite side of the planet), you may want to put this book back on the shelf.

Although Travel Anywhere is aimed at a traveller infinitely cooler and more hip than myself, I was still able to enjoy the tips, tricks and insights contained in this book. The book canvasses an impressive range of destinations, some of which are off the beaten track, and others are now trending hotspots that had previously been overlooked. Complementary photographs of said insta-worthy destinations also do well to capture the ‘vibe’ rather than typical postcard-perfect image of the place and its people. Unique travel experiences like volunteering or global ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) also feature prominently in Travel Anywhere’s pages. While I have an ethical bone to pick with the concept of voluntourism, I applaud the authors’ efforts to source legitimate organisations that genuinely utilise the skills of their volunteers for a worthy cause.

Despite its aesthetic qualities as a physical book, Travel Anywhere would arguably work better as a blog series or website. Many of the hotels and destinations featured in the book list a link to their relevant website, and contributors’ social media handles even get a shoutout so we can follow their travel adventures. Such details would be easier to navigate as hyperlinks on digital platforms. There is also a danger that including this information (like in any other printed travel guide) and focussing on current trends may inevitably make the book date easily.

Nevertheless, Travel Anywhere proves a pleasant read (or browse, if you’re only here for the wanderlust-inspiring photos). Its visual appeal as a book and suggestions for travelling in the modern world are commendable, and it contains just enough detail about each place to spark interest without overloading the reader with information.

Travel Anywhere is no doubt a book fit for the millennial coffee table.

W. Wong

The author W. Wong

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