I’m delighted to present an exclusive sneak peek book excerpt for my new travel memoir ‘Backpacker to Nomad’
If you are a regular reader, you will know since the pandemic hit, I’ve turned my attention to writing books about long-term travel life and over the past year I started work on my first travel memoir. However if you were not aware let me just give you a little insight. I started traveling in 2010 and didn’t return home to England until a global pandemic put a pause on my crazy nomadic life.
Backpacker to Nomad overview:
From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey for British budget backpacker, Amit!
This selection of humorous yet thought-provoking travel tales dives into the adventures, discoveries, and despair of Amit’s nomadic life. He gets into sticky situations others may think twice about, especially when he’s trapped with a lunatic pilot enroute to a deserted island in Australia, scaling active volcanoes in New Zealand completely underprepared (not his smartest move), or getting propositioned by opium-addicted locals in Southeast Asian jungles to name a few of the soaring highs and crashing lows he shares.
Amit’s life isn’t normal and provides a unique perspective on long-term travel, but these true travel stories will fuel wanderlust for armchair travellers and free-spirits alike.
Book Launched: July 27th 2022
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Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy …..
backpacking New Zealand misadventures overview
Long-term traveling life was a dual internal & external journey, adventures & misadventures flipped on a coin and this adventure pushed Amit to the limit. Blood, sweat & tears were spilt on this incredible day of discovery while trying to face and dodge both mental & physical obstacles.
adventure day backpacking new Zealand
Light started to fill the vast open dry landscape in the early morning half-light, the slow rising sun caused huge domineering sharp and jagged silhouettes to rise up from the earth to stand tall in the surrounding distance. It was as if an artist had made brushstrokes behind the shadowy silhouettes, painting the sky from a deep orange beam to blend into a light blue, leaving the moon high above. It was remarkable, one of the best daybreaks so far.
New Zealand, on many occasions, felt like travelling through a masterpiece. The scenery—from black sand beaches to rolling green hills to dry rocky mountains—was simply stunning and this was no different.
Tour groups and individual hikers marched past on the raised wooden boardwalk towards the bottom of the silhouettes. All of them kitted out in full hiking gear, the correct type of footwear, cargo pants or shorts, aided by hiking poles and carrying backpacks. The tour groups followed flag bearers, while the individual hikers made sure their maps were in hand.
It was like watching a well-drilled army unit march by. However, I decided to take another route, jumping off the boardwalk, dancing past the little spiky shrubs poking out of the dry dusty earth, making sure not to disturb them.
chasing baby waterfalls
“See, happy Amit is here, dancing and chasing the waterfalls, glad that Alex woke him up early.”
Alex’s soft bouncy accent flowed as softly as the mini streams and baby waterfalls that held my attention. The baby waterfalls falling off the little rocks flowing downhill were away from the boardwalk, but there was enough footing and dry earth to dance around in my cream Nike pumps—not exactly hiking footwear, but they were comfortable and light.
“Nope, Amit is happy because of the adventure today and because I drank three cups of coffee before the sun could come up, not because Alex woke me up at stupid o’clock.”
“Oh, come on, waking up early is not so bad. We have the whole day to adventure and explore it. How do you call this… Merder? Molder? Mondor?” she asked while also dancing around the bushes.
The dusty colourless dry earth started to turn to a rich, coppery red the closer and bigger the mountains became. They were emerging from the shadows to reveal their true domineering rock faces.
They’re a lot higher than they seemed at the beginning of the boardwalk. I have to go up there?
Yeah, maybe we did come a little underprepared.
Alex had already jumped back on to the boardwalk and it didn’t take long for me to follow as there was no other obvious route to take. There were more looks, shaking of heads, and tuts as more hikers streamed past. It seemed my attire screamed out ‘clueless or typical backpacker’. One of the hikers in front was even carrying a rope.
Why does he have a rope? Do we need a rope? Nobody else has one, though, I guess he’s just being cautious or he’s a rock climber. We don’t need a rope, we’ll be fine.
“Alex, are we a little underprepared for this? Look at what everybody else is wearing. We look like we’re just going for a leisurely walk.”
“No, I’m fine, just no hiking stick. You are just you.” Her green eyes dotted around and she shrugged.
“What do you mean, just me?”
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Follow British backpacker Amit’s humorous wild ride into nomad life. From his early calamitous struggles with solo travel, the odd brush with death, to ghetto snobbing (his words), it’s been a ‘take the rough with the smooth’ type of journey
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Not a proper hiker
She ignored the question as the boardwalk started to get swallowed up by the earth until it completely disappeared. All of a sudden, a coppery rusty smell took over the air. Loose charcoal had replaced the dry grey dusty ground and it almost felt like we were standing on a different planet. Wind swept up some of the finer loose charcoal grazing across my exposed legs like crushed glass. It only took another few steps before I was dwarfed under a sheer rock face that stretched up high to touch the sky.
So, yup, a lot bigger than it looked. Maybe we do need a rope. There probably should have been some planning and research done rather than just turning up.
Yeah, and where is everybody? Where did all the hikers go? Where’s Alex? Is there a secret way through the mountains?
“This way, dickhead,” Alex’s German accent floated down from the side.
There was no secret door, but a rocky pathway was hiding behind a huge boulder. I could feel the corners of my lips widening, the adrenaline was just kick-starting into action.
Here we go, the quest is about to begin.
The first few metres were deceiving, luring me into a false sense of security—it was an easy climb for the first fifty metres, but then the incline suddenly become steeper. The ground loosened and little stones rolled around under my feet. Before I could think, tiny sharp stones were being embedded into my hands and knees, Alex was laughing but pain shot through from the moment the ground gave way.
“Maybe you should have got better footwear?”
That was her response to seeing me hit the ground. Fifty metres in and blood had already been spilled. It took a little while to pick all the little stones out, but they left indents and burning sensations ran from my palms and knees.
“See, this is karma. You make fun of my hiking boots, always saying they just get in the way. This is what happens. I don’t fall, but you do,” Alex was taking great pleasure in my pain.
“No, not karma, I just slipped that’s all. Come on, let’s go.”
The ground kept swapping from long stone slabs to flattened dirt, to loose stones, and caution was needed. The wind wasn’t helping, little swirls passed by, picking up dirt, grazing as it drifted by. With each step up the incline, it was clear this wasn’t a manufactured path. It would be much easier if there were wooden steps with a handrail.
It made complete sense why others had hiking sticks. The higher the ascent, the smaller everything below seemed—the little shrubs were barely visible, but there wasn’t much of a view from this side of the mountain face. It sounded like other hikers were struggling, but looking, there was nobody around. The heavy breathing was from my lungs—years of smoking was not helping the climb.
Dusty but crisp mountain air had started to fill my lungs, trying to break through the layers of tar from years of smoking, which made breathing a little difficult. At the same time, blood had started to pump through dormant muscles, which became tired in an instant from a lack of use. My body’s engine was trying to kick into gear while climbing a mountain, but it was a strain.
The pathway started to veer inwards for a few metres until it just stopped. Rocks arched over; jagged splints stood as obstacles to the other side. It was really starting to feel like an adventure. Alex had already made her way over.
The quest begins!
“It’s easy, just climb up and look on the side for footings.” She stood on higher ground, looking back down.
My eyes followed her finger to see little stumpy rocks poking out of the side of the mountain, acting like foot holes. The stone slab was cold against my palms as I held on and pushed with my legs to climb over. My inner child had burst out of the adult suit, and monkey boy—just like my grandad used to call me—was climbing away. I would never claim to be a mountain climber, but from a young age, I would climb anything—walls, rocks, trees. But that’s not to say there were never any mishaps.
One of my earliest childhood memories was trying to conquer a tree outside my grandad’s house out next to the steam train tracks. It took a few attempts, but the first time I reached a high branch, it snapped, causing me to crash on to concrete, splitting the back of my head open. I must have only been four or five, but that was the start of my injury curse. Since then, visits to A&E (accident and emergency) became regular occurrences.
The climbing and being a monkey boy continued and so did breaking practically every bone on the left side of my body. However, the older I got, and as my attitude to life changed, the less the injuries came from climbing and more from fighting and drunken mishaps. There was more than a chance today could end in broken bones.
Read rest of story in new travel memoir
This was just the start of the story, nothing is ever how it seems, adventures can easily turn into misadventures on the drop of the hat and not revealed itself yet.
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