Backpacker Book Review: The Beach – Alex Garland

Thailand 2009 380

I finally got around to reading The Beach. I didn’t want to be one of ‘those people’ reading a dog eared copy on the beach in Thailand so I kept putting it off (- that’s just me being a travel snob!). And now I’ve finally read it, I can’t get it out of my head!

The book is so much better than the film. I mean seriously better. I can’t stop thinking about it. You know when you finish a book and you look up and the whole world is just carrying on as normal. Yet somehow everything seems to have changed?

It’s the way travellers are described in the book, like we are special. We are different. We a group of individuals that fought for a life well lived. It’s a club anyone can join. But not everyone gets it. You know that feeling, that you belong on the road.

The book reminds me of the backpackers life. Even if it’s just because I’ve been to those places or I Know the names of the Island’s. I can picture them, you know. I can see myself saying, ‘oh Koh Pha-Ngan the new Samui’. It’s premise is so true, we all seek a places where know one has been but we follow the same path. But I love backpacking for this same reason, as even though it may not be a road less travelled, it was for me. It is for you. It’s still not normal to give up everything and travel the world. It’s the road less traveled for you and that’s all that matters.

There are some great lines in the book, I’ve listed my favourite below:

Escape through travel works

If I’d learnt one thing from travelling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.

Tourists went on holidays while travellers did something else. They travelled.

Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is the generation that travels the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite & never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience— And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.

Reading the beach has inspired me to re-read all my old travelling favourites. You know the books you discovered on the road. The ones you brought in back street in Vietnam from some street kids? Or swapped on a beach, or found in hostel. Shantaram, Holy Cow, Eat Pray Love, Memories of a Geisha, The Alchemist… you get my drift. I’m planing on writing some more thoughts and reviews, but I would love you to get involved. Would you like to write a Backpacker Book Review? Get in touch!

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