more than footprints - Chapter four
Have you ever 'done' a country? Sniggered down your nose at the tourists in their five-star, all-expenses paid air-conditioning while you teach hundreds of years-old civilizations the value of teamwork? Bought a sarong and then actually worn it in England while you inform a captive throng of the true meaning of helping the natives and bemoaned the 'westernization' of the Khao San Road? Then, this book is important for you. Equally, if you've ever had to sit on your hands listening to one of these knights in saffron armour, then this book is all you need! Funny, informative and at times downright shocking and depressing, 'More than Footprints' really puts our preconceptions to the sword and wonderfully mixes cynicism and world-weariness with a fresh look at our impact on the world.
In the era of Air Asia and Easyjet, where 'anyone can fly' and package tourism has proved that travel isn't for everyone and anything can be sold if it looks 'authentic', Martin Stevenson looks at the heart of backpacking culture and voluntourism and simply asks 'what happened here then?'
Required reading for anyone looking to travel 'the proper way', this book is a well-measured, researched and witty call-to-arms for anyone wishing to take responsibility for their actions and, almost accidentally, manages to be a truly gripping and hilarious read!
John Merva, London
Just from reading the Foreword I wanted to go on a journey with the writer. From the off 'More than Footprints? How backpacking lost its way' gets down to the nitty-gritty of backpacking and travel in general. Good questions posed and his personal experiences already offer us some interesting answers. As the chapters progress Stevenson gives us a travel book that looks closely at important aspects of travel and also one that gives you the writer's own interesting observations of his wanderings. Well written, factual and funny, but this book also offers us fresh ideas about travel; new perspectives on how we travel, and great insight into what the hell is going on out there in the world of travel! Not since Paul Theroux has a travel writer really gotten to the dirty bottom of the rucksack of travel writing. Every would be travel writer, backpacker, even package holiday-maker should read this book; along with anyone who enjoys travel writing. In fact anyone who enjoys good writing should read it.
Nick Clarke Gerrard, Writer and author of 'Travelling for the Hell of It', Pisarov, Czech Republic
"Compulsive, lol, good reading - and that's from a book snob who has never had the slightest inclination to go backpacking in Asia!"
Hazel Fairbairn, Vancouver
"The debauchery of the Banana Pancake Trail is revisited with Stevenson's vivid and entertaining take on this well-trodden path."
Fiona Cassell, Brisbane.
"For all of us who have stepped off a plane in Bombay / Bangkok / Bali, Lonely Planet in hand, flip flops worn in and with a stash of travellers cheques in a money belt, this book is laugh out loud funny. Be warned - it'll also make you cringe, as the anecdotes remind you of your past travels, naivety and backpacker snobbery (I'm a traveller, not a tourist). Satire-full like Sutcliffe's 'Are You Experienced', but far funnier. The best bit, though, is how the book recognises change and uniqueness in places. Place X is not like place Y 20 years ago. Both are unique, and this historical queue towards sameness that this mentality creates isn't inevitable."
Oliver Picton, Beijing.
"More than Footprints brings travel to life! Its wit disarms you; its insight opens you to self-examination. You'll never see backpacking the same way again!"
Kristy Lee Gogolen, Breckenridge, Colorado