Monday 31 October 2016

The world is a book… By local author Allan Boroughs

 “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – St Augustine It was while I was packing my bag for Antarctica that my son gave me his carefully considered assessment of my research habits. ‘Dad, isn’t it true that you just write books about the places you want to go and visit?” He had me there. 

On the other hand, I reasoned, why would anyone write a book about a place they didn’t want to visit? As a writer of children’s adventure stories, travel is the most essential tool I have and no adventure story is going to be convincing to a critical audience of 12 year olds unless I have experienced some part of the adventure myself. For me, the key to a successful adventure story is to give the reader a sense of being ‘on the journey’ and to achieve that, first-hand experience is the most essential tool I have. In the last five years my writing has taken me on adventures of my own to Russia, Mongolia, China, the Antarctic and Venezuela. In the cause of research I have eaten scorpions and termites, traversed jungle rivers in a dugout canoe, fallen down a crevasse and become frozen to a toilet door in Siberia. Of course, I do ‘routine’ research on the internet like everyone else and I can easily find out more facts about Siberia in an hour on Wikipedia than in a month spent travelling there. But what first-hand research does give me is a much deeper sense of place that is grounded in all the senses. No Google search will ever tell you what it feels like to breathe the gin-clear air of the Antarctic, how a Venezuelan rain-forest smells or what fermented mare’s milk actually tastes like (yoghurt and cat pee in case you were wondering). It is said that the great aviator and adventurer Richard Halliburton left on a round the world flight in a biplane with only twenty minutes preparation, however this is not generally advisable. Most adventures requires careful planning and advice, preferably from someone with expertise in the region you are going to. And although many believe that the adventure only really begins when things go wrong, these are exactly the times when you will need back up and a friend who can help you out of a difficult situation.

In all my journeying I have relied heavily on my relationship with my travel agent, Matt at Scott’s Travel. This is not just a bland advertorial endorsement. I have genuinely valued the personal service offered to me by this small independent travel agent and without their expertise, support and attention to detail then I am certain that many of my adventures would not have ended as favourably as they did. Whether I missed a connecting flight in Santiago, required a visa for Mongolia or needed a safe escort through an airport where tourists are routinely kidnapped and ransomed, Scott’s Travel has been able to help me. Of course your own travel plans might be more modest, and I also enjoy a week by the pool now and again. But however you find adventure your concerns will be the same – good advice, good planning, good value and reliable back up if you need it. Wherever you go, travel safely, travel adventurously and travel well.

If you are thinking about your travel plans for 2017 please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you plan the perfect holiday. Booking with a travel agent can save you money and certainly time. With over 80 years’ experience from our shop in Southgate you can rest assured that your holiday is in good hands with Scott's Travel 

Moonrise over the Antarctic peninsula  
Nomadic camp in Northern Mongolia 
Flying the flag in Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Allan's Books are available to purchase on Amazon
IRONHEART is set in Siberia BLOODSTONE is set in Antarctica


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