Reckless Traveler: an autobiographical novel of adventuring in South America, sure to delight anyone with a passport. > > Perú and beyond: Through the alchemy of travel, youthful folly may bring disaster or wisdom . . . and more. > > The instructional travel guide for aspiring backpackers: learn how to bribe police, avoid malaria, and find employment abroad -- and what to do (and not to do) when armed mercenaries detain your charter bus. > > Awaken your inner explorer with Walter Rhein's Reckless Traveler, expat tales from a decade of discovery.
Another bit of a reading departure for me with Walter Rhein’s Reckless Traveler, an amusing anecdotal diary of his adventures, both mundane and otherwise from spending 10 years in Peru.
I think I enjoyed it in part because it wasn’t full of dramatic episodes fraught with peril and danger. We just accompany Walter as he immerses himself in an alien culture and the difficulties that presents.
Problems with language and interpretation, meeting people, finding accommodation, navigating the city, acquiring the necessary bartering skills, adapting to the cuisine and coping with minor hindrances – bed bugs, mosquitos/malaria. Unavoidable interactions with immigration on a quarterly basis and the obvious delight petty bureaucrats worldwide seem to take from messing with those they purport to serve.
What comes across is the warmth of the Peruvian people in general and our narrator’s genial disposition, as well as a willingness to adapt. He learns the language – not itself without an odd experience or two; before subsequently supporting himself by teaching English.
Just an enjoyable all-round trip.
One passage of prose – relating less to Peru and more a memory from his childhood – struck me.
In Lima, the day passed, while everything I did brought back some vivid recollection from childhood.
A thousand forgotten images came alive. Memories long locked away, lost in a sense, came forth due to the strangeness of my new surroundings. The exotic culture of Peru shook my thought patterns free from where they had settled, and gave a new twist to anything and everything I could recall.
I basked in it.
I found that revisiting old memories changes their nature. The advantage of an adult perspective takes the sting out of old wounds. Words remembered as being spoken in anger are revealed, upon examination, to be no more than a friendly jest. Revisiting instances of harboured guilt often expose that the action was not taken as a cruelty. All our perceptions are magnified and distorted by the mists of memory. The passage of time reveals we are neither as good nor as evil as we might have come to believe.
4.5 stars from 5
Walter Rhein was born in northern Wisconsin. After earning a degree in English literature, he began traveling and teaching English in various parts of the world. He currently splits his time between South America and Wisconsin. He has also written in the fantasy-sci-fi genre.
The author supplied me a copy of Reckless Traveler for review.