What Travel Writers Say

Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footprints;
Twelve Countries in Twelve Months
by Irene Butler, published by Granville Island Publishing, $19.95

Reviewed by Mike Keenan, What Travel Writers Say

Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footprints; Twelve Countries in Twelve Months - Book Cover

When I first started reading this book, I could not put it down. Irene Butler has a definite winner here because her writing is top notch. One experiences an immediate, enjoyable sense of being right there with Irene and husband Rick every step of the way.

Covering four continents, they walk, cycle and even camel-ride through 12 countries, covering both sides of the equator. "After 35 years of being bound to the rigours of the world work, we made a decision to retire or 'restyle our lives,'" says Irene as they sell their business and plan this ambitious expedition. Determined to "follow the sun," nevertheless, they insist that along the route, "We are not here to suffer." Ample reason for readers to share this journey.

In Kathmandu, they exclaim: "Our perspective on everything we thought we knew was in flux; all we knew for sure was that we would never be the same." As Irene and Rick explore four continents, we become immersed with them in each culture. Their intent is always to leave a favourable impression, which reminds me of younger days with "no trace" wilderness canoe trips. The play-it-safe adjective Mostly refers to occasions when their footsteps were less than ideal, often leading to peculiar, extraordinary and amusing incidents. "Expect the unexpected" becomes the daily mantra.

A neat sidebar during this project is their attempt to experience far-flung travel for the same economic cost as that incurred by staying at home - taking into account myriad variables such as exchange rates and their desire to experience a modicum of comfort with at least middle-range accommodations along the way.

Beginning in Australia, this remarkable, readable, vivid account of adventure is filled with the gamut of emotions - high and low, insights, and a profound respect for the world, seen not unlike astronauts - as an entire entity. Their journey covers such varied destinations as Tiananmen Square, notorious for China's historic stifling of human rights with tanks and military might to stunning vistas such as the famed Nepalese mountains versus the congested streets in India.

I recommend this wonderful book and hope their example becomes the impetus for more "retirees" to assume similar risks and experience unexplored regions of the mind, heart and spirit.

Mumbai India
Mumbai India

Irene in Sri Lanka temple
Irene in Sri Lanka temple

Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review, Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Geographic Traveler, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine.

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Irene Butler
Granville Island Publishing
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