Today I am excited to welcome author Alistair McGuiness to the Book Binder’s Daughter. He has put together a preview, with some great pictures of his travel memoir entitled Round the Bend. This is a stop on his blog tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book. Scroll down to the end of the post to see all of the stops on this tour.
Round the Bend is a travelogue of adventures, as we, Alistair and Fran, use redundancy as a catalyst for change. The story starts with a factory closure, which prompts a rethink of life and ends with a new life in Australia.
When the factory closed its gates for the final time, we were left with 2 choices. We had come to a fork in the road. The low road meant staying local- playing it safe and never leaving home. The high road meant global travel, migration to Australia and an uncertain future. We chose the high road, not knowing that it would eventually lead us across 3 continents and 13 countries.
Our first stop was Ecuador.
“The five-hour bus journey from Quito offered glimpses of what lay ahead, as the road weaved through small villages that hung close to deep ravines. Gradually, pockets of jungle began to appear, competing with the cleared land littered with scrawny cows that picked at the scorched grass. Some fields displayed single, majestic hardwood trees that for some unknown reason had survived the clearing and stood awkwardly amongst the straggling domestic herds that chewed on the parched scrub. As Tena approached, the humidity on the bus steadily climbed as we entered the heart of Ecuador.”
Within weeks of leaving Ecuador, we were stuck in Bolivian traffic jams.
Months later, we left South America and trekked to the summit of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The summit day was painful but the experience was unforgettable.
“Tiny pockets of cloud drifted over our feet, following the gentle contours of the crater. To our left stood the shining buttress of Furtwängler Glacier, thicker and taller than imagined. How must this sight have been to early explorers who would have had to traverse its formidable ridges to reach the summit? The first rays of sun touched the glacier, replacing darkness with a stirring blaze of pinks as we moved steadily along the crater to Uhuru peak.”
From the snows of Kilimanjaro, we headed across Africa to the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
“Papyrus reeds towered over us as we glided through clear waters. At each turn we discovered small lagoons, littered with speckled green lily pads, while the air hissed with dragonflies darting across the millpond. The afternoon was a sensual daze, interrupted by treks onto low-lying islands in search of distant game, which shimmered on the horizon. Open-billed storks churned through mud in search of fresh water mussels, ignoring chatter from white-faced ducks that nested nearby. Before dusk we made camp on a small island, cooking stew on an open fire and constructing a shelter of tarpaulins draped from branches. The sun dripped below the horizon, coating the lingering clouds in a velvety sheen, and our world turned to darkness.”
About The Author:
Alistair McGuiness grew up in the UK in a town called Luton, which lies 30 miles north of London. Family holidays were spent in County Donegal, Ireland, staying with his Grandmother in their large family home where she had once raised fifteen children.
It was these annual trips that made Alistair realise his Great Uncles were Seanachaís (Irish story tellers). After a few pints of Guinness in the family bar, brothers Barney and Francis would entertain the evening crowds with their recitations of life in rural Ireland. As their rustic voices carried across the crowded room, Alistair would watch and listen as the animated tales mesmorised the overseas visitors.
44 countries and four decades later, Alistair now calls Australia home and in the tradition of Great Uncles Barney and Francis, loves to recite stories. He lives between the beach and the forest with his wife, two young boys and a fun puppy called Peppi. After decades of adventurous escapades Alistair is calming down and has decided to write more and bungee jump less!
He works as a Business Improvement Specialist and has just spent three years as a fly in fly out employee at a remote iron ore mine site in Western Australia. As a trainer and facilitator, he has worked in Europe and Australia and is passionate about helping people and organisations to become successful.
A fun family day for Alistair would be fishing from the local jetty with his boys, taking the puppy for a walk along the beach at sunset and cooking a scrumptious curry in the evening with his wife. An ideal adventurous day for Alistair would be a days walking and scrambling in the Lake District with friends, followed by a visit to a village pub nestled deep in the English countryside.
Click on the banner below to follow the rest of the blog tour for Round the Bend where you can read reviews of Alistair’s book. Thanks so much to Pump Up Your Book for hosting this tour.