This detailed account of a man enjoying decades of active travel and excellent meals may provide inspiration for those with enough free time and fluid finances to follow along.
Mr. Tambourine Man by Nicholson is the envy-inducing autobiographical chronicle of an executive whose fortunate financial situation has allowed him to take eighteen “gap years” to date, filling his time with travel, dancing, and delicious dinners.
The author grew up in a conservative household in Essex, without even enough change in his pocket to buy a 45 vinyl. Savings from summer jobs and a short stint working in New York City at age eighteen gave him his first taste of real travel and of the wider world.
Nicholson spent his working years as an accountant, mostly for a multinational conglomerate. A handful of other jobs with substantial salaries, a healthy bank balance, some smart investments in real estate, and a detailed budget allowed him to begin his “gap years” in his forties—so called because he considered himself “too young to retire.”
Much of the book covers those years, including travels with his wife and daughter. Both the United Kingdom and Southern California are frequent launch pads, both to other parts of their regions and to faraway destinations like Australia, the Cook Islands, France, Greece, and Portugal.
Using a diary to keep a record, the author provides copious details, such as where they ate and what, from often mouthwatering menus. The record is concise, down to what dinners and drinks cost and how the author worked off the calories; outdoor activities, too, are recalled with specific statistics.
Such intricate focus often fails to paint a full picture of the author’s sights and experiences, though. Details slow the reading process, with even the most exotic locales running together on the page in a list of bar bills, lunches, and tuna tartare starters. Writing is technically sound, if it sometimes falls short in variety, with the same phrases used to describe memorable meals and moments.
Additional details—about the books the author read, the movies he saw, and the restaurant recipes that were reconstructed at home—are shared in sections at the end of the work, and even ranked from first to worst. Some such descriptions and recipes are tantalizing, but they don’t add flavor to the narrative itself.
Mr. Tambourine Man is an enviable account of a man enjoying decades of active travel and excellent meals that may provide inspiration for those with enough free time and fluid finances to follow along.
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