Running With Thugs! Crocs “Down Under”! “Wednesday’s Bookmobile” Has Dangerous Wanderlust!

Stand Up And Shake Hands!

Looking for an adventure and eager to make an exotic new friend? Yes, this Australian Crocodile knows how to put out the welcome mat.

Perhaps you just want to lie out and soak up some Thailand sun…

Or, are you the crazy world traveler, willing to head out on your own, no matter how dangerous it can get? Even if you wind up meeting this guy?

I’m all three, and I bet you are too – so these three travel adventures are for you!

Let’s begin with a riveting look at wild soccer fans in the UK!

“Among The Thugs” by Bill Buford

Bill Buford is a great writer. He’s a native of the United States, Editor of the London-based literary magazine Granta, and loves English soccer. In 1982 he witnessed the takeover of a train, a football special, by English soccer thugs.

And he wrote this compelling book about it, and his fascination for this distinctly English phenomenon of “soccer hooliganism”.

He decided to follow a group of violent supporters of the Manchester United Red Devils.

Buford is accepted into the group, and the book is his story of traveling with the fans to games, like his riveting account of the aftermath of a match in Turin, Italy, where 200+ Manchester supporters marched through the ancient streets of that town leaving fire and destruction in their wake.

This book is unsettling, brutal and dynamite – I cannot recommend it more highly!

Pass The Suntan Lotion, Please…

If you want to avoid violent confrontation, then you need to head to the beach…but beware, there is danger lurking there too…

The Backpacker by John Harris

I came across this book when I was in London – it’s terrific, the story of a young British backpacker who goes “on holiday” with his girlfriend in India – the beginning of a two week trip that goes on for two years!

So, just how dangerous was this adventure? Well, to quote from the book:

“Leaving the blinding sand for the cool shade of the trees, I walked carefully through the undergrowth to where Dave, using two twigs as chopsticks, was picking up a freshly severed human finger . . . ”

And away we go on an incredible true-life backpacking thriller!

The Author’s trip to India starts badly when his girlfriend, with whom he is traveling, returns home. Left to his own devices, he soon finds himself looking at the sharp end of a knife in a train station cubicle. But his life is saved–and turned upside down–by Rick, an enigmatic fellow traveler who persuades John to question his mundane plans for the future, risking it all for much, much more.

Fast forward to the Thai island of Koh Pha-Ngan, where John, Rick, and their new friend Dave pose as millionaire aristocrats in a hedonistic Eden of beautiful women, free drugs, and wild beach parties. However, when they find themselves hotly pursued by the Thai Mafia, they embark on adrenaline-fueled journeys to Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and Hong Kong, facing danger at every turn.

This is a terrific real-life thriller; the author makes a lot of mistakes – and has some wild, entertaining adventures!

Speaking of wild adventures…

Down Under by Bill Bryson.

Bill Bryson is a legendary travel writer – his books are hilarious as well as packed with interesting information and insight.

His travel memoir “Down Under” documents his exploits in Australia, where A-bombs go off unnoticed, prime ministers disappear into the surf, and cheery citizens co-exist with the world’s deadliest creatures: toxic caterpillars, aggressive seashells, crocodiles, and of course, great white sharks…

Bryson treks through sun-baked deserts and endless coastlines, crisscrossing the “under-discovered” Down Under in search of all things interesting, including encounters with the world’s deadliest snakes.

I went to Australia in 2009 and was fascinated by the country. I mean, look at the size of Australia – almost the same land mass of the US, yet they only have a tenth of our population! And 90% of the population lives within ten miles of the ocean!

I didn’t have the chance to go into the Outback, but Bryson does, and it’s fascinating to imagine life there. Bryson’s adventures there are really funny.

Welcome To “Tittybong!”

Bryson loves to share great stories of a country, and uncover wacky places too.

He finds ridiculous place names: “Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong,” and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like:

“…listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren’t biting; it’s like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what’s going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.”

I took this photo at iconic Bondi Beach – and I loved how gorgeous the country is, even if it has literally the deadliest of all animals on land and in water.

Bryson loves it too…

“You see,” Bryson observes, “Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I’m saying.” Of course, Bryson–who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian–says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be “mostly empty and a long way away,” but it’s a little closer now.

I bought this book because of my interest in Australia – as a result of how funny this was, and because of what a great writer Bill Bryson is, I have purchased several more, so I can join him on all of his adventures – like this one!

Only this Author would find a way to traipse from he southern most point of Great Britain to the northernmost – and what incredibles stories he has to tell!

See more of that by clicking here:

I love all of these books, which mix wanderlust, danger and travel all together!

Here is another terrific travel book – a memoir that exposes a haunting family secret – one of seven books that has influenced me…see the rest here:

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Leave me a comment with some of your favorite travel books!

Categories: Art, Australia, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

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14 replies

  1. I am a fan of Bill Bryson…not so all the critters in Oz but have visited a few times and made it out safely… I have a daughter and grandson who live there…Some good book recommendations …Thank you, John 🙂 x Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Imagine the US with a tenth of the population and most near the coast. That sounds like the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. How many times have I looked at the map of Australia and not realized it is close to the size of the US? Soccer in Europe makes football in America look tame.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. these sound incredibly sit on the edge of your seat exciting! as for bill Bryson, one of my fav authors and one of my daughters married an Aussie so I’ve visited a few times, nothing quite like the place –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill Bryson is a terrific writer, John, I’ve read a few of his books. I’m not sure about English soccer hooligans, I’m not a big fan. The Backpacker sounds exciting.


  5. Australia has so many animals and insects that can kill you, it’s a wonder anyone survives!
    Sadly, I know a great deal about fooball hooligans in Britain, as I was brought up in south London close to the football ground of the notorious Millwall F. C. Their troublesome fans have the motto, “Everybody hates us, but we don’t care”.
    They are even mentioned in Wikipedia.

    The club and fans of Millwall have a historic association with football hooliganism, which came to prevalence in the 1970s and 1980s with a firm known originally as F-Troop, eventually becoming more widely known as the Millwall Bushwackers, who were one of the most notorious hooligan gangs in England.
    Rivals: Inter City Firm, Soul Crew, Service Crew, Chelsea Headhunters, MIGs
    Territory: South London
    Criminal activities: Football hooliganism, riots, fighting and arson.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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