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Book Review: The Practical Nomad- How to Travel Around the World


A Book to Prepare you for the Journey of a Lifetime

The Practical Nomad, by Edward Hasbrouck, is the definitive bible for those of us who want to, or love to, travel independently. Like the bible, this 500-page book is packed with general, timeless information, and is a must for travellers seeking more then just a package tour. The Practical Nomad, published by Moon Travel Handbooks, lives up to, and beyond, the standards expected of a Moon publication. It is not your typical Moon Travel guide as it has few specifics; it is designed more to prepare you for the trip of a lifetime than to give you a rundown of must-see locations.

Most guidebooks tell you what to see, what to do, what the prices are and other such information that quickly becomes outdated. Hasbrouck instead shares his wisdom on how to travel, drawing on his experience as a travel agent and world traveller. He divides the book into eight general chapters, each covering a major issue of a trip. From here the reader should have the tools to go out and make a dream trip a reality.

Although written from an American perspective (noticeable although Hasbrouck claims he has eliminated any bias), it is still very relevant to any traveller regardless of where he or she may live. Hasbrouck has done an honest job uncovering myths about the airlines, travel agents and guidebooks, which I am sure such businesses would prefer you not to discover. Hasbrouck explains things in detail, occasionally suggesting that those who only want answers skip ahead to the next chapter. He is even honest enough to suggest that it may be more desirable to buy second hand guidebooks as you go, rather then supporting Moon Publications by lugging fresh copies with you from country to country. He tells it as it is, making honest suggestions rather than writing to please travel agents and tourist boards -- like so many other such guidebooks do.

The Practical Nomad on occasion even convinces the reader to turn around and look at our western culture in a new light. This is missing in most travel guide books. In doing this it validates other perspectives on life, maybe more primitive, but as relevant (sometimes even more so) as our own. For instance, it made me question the value of sit down toilets over squat toilets, and changed my perception on which one is actually more hygienic. In doing this, it made me realize that our systems are as strange to some as theirs are to us.

This book is a good buy for dreamers and travellers alike.