Book Review – ADVENTURES OF A COMPULSIVE TRAVELLER by Dominic Dunne
Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller Synopsis
Journalist Dominic Dunne’s travels have rarely been ordinary, despite his best intentions. He has been travelling all his life, from the time his parents started their annual pilgrimage to the opal fields of Lightning Ridge. Since then he has trekked all over Australia and to some 60 countries, spending his life trying to satisfy his insatiable appetite for travelling, an addiction that has taken him to wonderful and sometimes dangerous places where he has met all manner of people.
In Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller Dominic uses insight and wit and a good dollop of gossip to capture the highlights (and lowlights) from destinations the world over. Dominic takes readers backstage with Nana Mouskouri in Greece and in search of the ghosts of Elvis Presley in Mississippi. He escapes marauding Americans at Noel Cowards Jamaican sanctuary, crosses cranky guards in North Korea, rubs shoulders with Hillary Clinton in Washington and solves a life-long mystery in Zimbabwe. And he meets his namesake, the best-selling American author Dominick Dunne, with whom he forges an enduring friendship.
‘Dominic Dunne has had a surfeit of quirky travel experiences, and amazingly, has lived to tell the tale. Now would someone please confiscate his passport?’ – Pamela Stephenson-Connolly
BOOK REVIEW by Tony Ziemek
The only thing that comes close to the joys of travel is the armchair kind. Globe-trotting is mostly about anticipation and then recollection, which is where good travel writing comes in. For a few dollars we can vicariously enjoy or suffer a writer’s experiences, without the mediocrities of delayed flights, pointless security checks and annoying fellow travellers. Robert Dessaix, who loves to travel, wrote that it’s mostly about eating, queuing and anxiety. I paraphrase, because otherwise I’d have to get out of the armchair to find the quote.
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Dominic Dunne’s Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller is an astonishingly varied tour of the world.
It’s crisply written, good humoured and full of encounters with famous characters and those that are just plain odd, without straining for quirky effect. When I say ‘famous’ that should be ‘famous in Australia’ primarily, although the Bush family gets a mention or two, and where would we be without their global comedy act?
Mr Dunne is a journalist and many of the pieces read like brief media articles, to the extent that I wanted to know more about the destination, but the writer had already packed up and moved on. Other pieces though, explore locations in greater depth offering a more textured, nuanced view. His piece on North Korea, with a unique perspective from both sides of the DMZ, is a fine example of revealing writing. The US also gets a multi-faceted treatment, ranging from the insightful to the comically bizarre.
So what motivates all this travel? The following excerpt is from the preface and despite the lazy appeal of armchair travel sums up beautifully the urge for the real thing:
Sometimes it’s the extraordinary, incredible and wonderful things that happen when you travel, the people you meet, the coincidences, the anecdotes and the events of which you become part. Occasionally a trip turns out so bizarre that you feel like you’ve lived out a script from a soap opera. Well-planned itineraries go out the window, danger lurks, an exotic stranger enters your world, you negotiate wild terrain and face your own demons.
Then, when it’s over, you arrive home, a quivering mass of jelly, exhausted and euphoric from the ridiculous, funny,whacky, poignant and fabulous things that happened along the way. Your bones ache, you’re jet lagged, your credit cards are maxed out, your camera is full of images and your mind is a blur.
You promise not to put yourself through it again, and then you start planning the next trip.
It’s a story I know well.
Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller by Dominic Dunne is a thoroughly entertaining and wise read and you should buy it, if only to find out why Gene Pitney, sadly never got his liquorice.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
~ Tony Ziemek is the lead editor of Ed Fresh Editorial Services.
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BOOK DETAILS: Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller (Booktopia)
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Author Information: Dominic Dunne is an award-winning journalist who has worked on major newspapers including The Australian. He started his career as a cadet reporter on The Courier-Mail in Brisbane in 1984 and later moved to Sydney to be News Limited’s interstate correspondent. He was recruited by Qantas Airways to work as Assistant to the CEO and in 2004 relocated to Washington DC where he was employed by the Australian Embassy as a communications consultant before returning to Sydney. Dunne and his twin brother were born in Brisbane in 1966 and raised with their five siblings on the Sunshine Coast. He is a keen traveller, having visited more than 60 countries, and has written about many of them. Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller is his first book.
– Listen to a podcast of Dominic Dunne talking about his travels with ABC Radio National
* Note this book being provided free of charge from Transit Lounge for review purposes did not influence the honest opinion provided above.