I'm a big fan of this genre so it's no surprise that I really liked this book. Thompson's voice really reminds me of NYC Chef Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential and host of No Reservations), but with a totally different spin. This excerpt from the book sums it up:
The biggest reason travel writing is dull, as Queenan correctly pointed out, is that most of it is devoid of anything approaching an authentic point of view. On those rare occasions when travel writers are allowed to express an actual opinion, it must be a completely harmless one that's also shared by the travel industry at large. These are usually offered as hard-hitting commentaries describing how “quaint” a hotel room is, how “mind-blowing” a nature park is, or how “mouthwatering” a chef's specialty is. Everything is superlative. Like being a sports fan, one of the best things about being a traveler is complaining about the parts you don't like—hating the Dallas Cowboys not only doesn't make me any less a football fan, it probably makes me a more avid one. This is a concept the travel industry has never embraced.
From having all his money stolen on a remote island in Thailand to running out of gas on a remote British Columbia highway, I thought this book was a great read particularly if you're interested in travelling or writing about your travels.
Don't forget to check out Chuck Thompson when he appeared on The Hour in April 2008... and then check out More With Chuck Thompson...