Memoir Travelling Light
Alastair Sawday (Little, Brown, £20)
Alastair sawday is a very attractive, passionate man, who is also highly intelligent and bursting with cutting-edge alternative ideas. it’s fascinating to read how the pursuit of his vision and the associated research trips came about and how, virtually single-handedly, he changed the meaning of ‘bed and breakfast’ forever. His passion for all things ‘special’ sweeps the reader along on a rollercoaster ride of characters, culture, laughter, food and lots of wine.
the combination of his growing ecological awareness, his campaigning, writings and eclectic travels throughout Europe, india and the rest of the world as he tracks down equally eccentric and like-minded people, who just happen to live in delightful houses, makes fascinating reading.
He’s best known for having created his ‘special Places’ guides. they’ve become the travel bible for many seeking unusual but always enjoyable accommodation. i have long maintained that this hugely successful initiative, both as a publishing venture and as a completely new source of income for so many owners of nice houses, was the silver lining of the lloyds insurance debacle.
Many families, who would otherwise have been forced to sell, turned to taking in what
‘His passion for all things “special” sweeps the reader along
used to be called ‘paying guests’ and found their lives transformed. it certainly worked for us. we were among his first Cornish clients more than 20 years ago and have made ends meet as a result ever since. we’ve also enjoyed the whole process tremendously and made an enormous number of new friends, which is a constant theme of the book.
However, much more is revealed in this funny and sometimes racy life story of a vagabond hedonist. Alastair’s exuberance mounts as his life story progresses. He seems at times to be carried away with his own excitement at all the fabulous sights he sees on his travels and all the mouthwatering food he relishes along the way.
there is also an undercurrent of real anger at the cultural and, especially, the environmental destruction he finds in so many of the places he visits.
thoughtful and informative, this book is also funny and entertaining as it rises to a crescendo of enthusiasm and hope towards the end. i couldn’t put it down. Robin Hanbury-tenison
Alastair Sawday travels the world looking for the best B&B accommodation