Further Travels in my Eighties is an octogenarian’s documentation of seeing the world, sure to be both a treat and a challenge to travelers young and old.
Further Travels in My Eighties by Dermot Hope-Simpson captures trips to some of the farthest corners of the globe.
Determined to travel after the death of his wife, Hope-Simpson takes a tour of nine countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The result is an inviting and inspiring travelogue that assures aspiring travelers that it’s never too late to see the world, and that everywhere you go, there’s something worth learning.
These destinations are not the typical fare of senior-citizen tour groups. Instead, Hope-Simpson chose some of the more challenging places to reach across the globe, including Kurdistan and Ethiopia, and places with deep, complicated histories, like Myanmar and Serbia, showcasing sites that many in the West have never seen.
Each chapter captures sites and locations in detail. Often as interesting are Hope-Simpson’s accounts of his journeys to get there, which are reliant on cross-cultural communication with local people. While the narrative is mindful of the cultural and historical significance of each site, it is also focused in its own moments.
The book follows Hope-Simpson’s interests and curiosity in a natural and engaging way. His voice is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and accessible, captured with an informative but warm tone.
The book moves at a moderate to slow speed. It is thoughtful and step-by-step in its progressions, separating it from flashier or adventure-focused travel stories. The book is chronologically organized, methodically capturing what happened, who was there, and what insights were gleaned.
Hope-Simpson’s drive to travel and his perspective on new experiences are the most compelling parts of the book. He looks at new and varied cultures with open, accepting eyes. Still, his account is clearly a Westerner’s one, his perspective an outsider’s.
He asks questions of his guides about histories and contexts, seeks the perspectives of locals, observes and follows local behaviors, and embraces a “learn as you go” mentality with vulnerability and humor.
The narrative features plenty of details about where Hope-Simpson stayed and what modes of transportation he used, but these are not intended to be prescriptive. The book’s aim is simply to share what Hope-Simpson saw and who he met along the way, not to encourage the replication of his journeys.
The writing style is clear and personal, focused on recounting events in the moment. Black-and-white photographs appear throughout and are captioned simply. They are well rendered, documenting key sites and offering a candid view of each place.
Further Travels in My Eighties is an octogenarian’s documentation of seeing the world, sure to be both a treat and a challenge to travelers young and old.
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