Backpacker Book Review: The Beach – Alex Garland

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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!

Travel quotes to give you itchy feet!

I love travel quotes. They inspire me, motive me and mostly of all, they bring back memories. Below are some of my favourite travel quotes to get you packing your backpack or booking that ticket.  If you are saving or planing for a big trip, its always a great idea to stick a travel quote on your mirror or wall. It is great motivation when you are working hundreds of hours and saving all your money!

What’s your favourite travel quote? Can you add any to the list?


1.  “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with our one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

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3. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I  took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost

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5. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than the things you did, so throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain

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7. “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr Seuss


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9. ” The great stories go to those who don’t give into fear” – Donald Miller

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11. “ I have come home at last, this is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it until now” – C.S.Lewis


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13. “At the end of the day. your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling” – Shanti

14. “Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before” – Joseph Campbell

15. “Why do you go away? So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving” – Terry Pratchett


Reasons to go Backpacking: it leaves you penniless and afraid

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You know that feeling: You’ve been home a week, seen all your friends and family. Been to the parties and caught up on the news. Then the travel blues start to kick in. You know, that feeling. The feeling that something has come to an end. Something new has to start. That feeling when you realise that your round the world trip had more impact that you could ever have imagine and now it’s left you penniless and afraid.


You have spent every single penny you own and then some. Borrowed from family, friends or even the credit card! You worked 100’s of hours before you left, worked extra jobs to fund the trip. Even worked whilst you were travelling – doing crazy jobs only backpackers will do. Yet you would do it all again. Give up every single penny in exchange for all the experiences you’ve had. Although you may come back from a trip penniless you will be full of life, of stories and experiences.

There is a reason why backpackers come back penniless. You realise the importance of experience and you learn to live of nothing. You learn being penniless doesn’t matter. That money isn’t everything. As soon as you know it, you’ll be saving for your next trip.


When travelling you experience the ultimate freedom. You discover the world and see things a new. Returning from travel leaves you afraid, terrified even, because you are so scared that you will never feel that way again. Afraid you might loose your new view of the world. Afraid you might loose your freedom. Or afraid that you won’t ‘fit in’. But travel leaving you afraid is one of the best reasons to travel. It turns your world upside down. That afraid feeling is good, because it makes you fight for things. Fight for your new freedom. It pushes you to create new habits. To keep you searching for whatever it was you went looking for in the first place. Travel leaves you afraid and it’s invaluable.

What do you think? Have you been on a RTW trip? Did it leave you penniless and afraid?