Inspiring Travel Books: To Hellholes and Back

“I saw a nice all-inclusive resort in Bermuda,” my mother says.

“Have fun!  I’ll be backpacking through Albania,” I reply.

“Want to rent a houseboat on the lake this summer?” asks my friend.

“Want to apply for Turkmen visas?” I reply.

I’ve had these conversations a few times.  The more I’ve traveled, the less I want to visit traditional, popular tourist destinations.  I want to escape the tourist trail and visit places that would otherwise remain a mystery (at least to me!).

to hellholes and backSomeone else who had the same idea is Chuck Thompson.  In his book To Hellholes and Back, Thompson describes visits to such “hellholes” as the Congo, rural India, Mexico City and- yes- Disneyland.  I was surprised to learn that he considered places like India and Mexico City “hellholes”, as my own experiences in Mexico City were great and I’ve heard nothing but good things about travel in India, but Thompson manages to justify his categorizations through humorous retelling of his adventures in these areas.  At times Thompson seems to seek confrontation and deliberately make poor choices… but then again, so do I!  If you’re looking for a laugh, add this to your reading list!


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