The Woolwich Observer

Forced to stay put, he finally got to write about travelling

The pandemic provided time for former EDSS teacher to put in print his many tales of globetrott­ing

- Justine Fraser


adventures of a local man showcases how travel connects people across the globe while giving new ideas about where to visit.

Released last month, the book gives readers a suitcase full of future travel plans, detailing experience­s about what to do when they get there. Beyond the Postcard is the handiwork of former EDSS teacher and travel guide John Swatridge.

“They’re going to get ideas about where to go and what to do. I think they’ll relate to some of the stories. And ultimately, I’d love people to buy it and then say, ‘you know, I never thought of doing this,’” said Swatridge.

“I’ve never had a bad day of travel because even in airports, I meet people, I talk to people, I find out about other countries. No matter how bad things get, you miss a connection or something happens, at the end of the day, you still had good experience­s.”

The book was dedicated to Swatridge’s parents who instilled a passion for travel in him at an early age. They were constantly hopping on planes or taking weekends away, something he continues to do with his family today, as well as the many groups he’s taken on tours across the world.

“We travelled ever since I was a real youngster. I think my first overseas trip, I was probably 10 when I went to England for the first time. We always travelled.”

One of the places he’s enjoyed visiting the most and recommends to others is Vietnam.

“The history, the people, the food. I mean, you go to places where the people have been living for 25,000 years. Their history and their traditions and the food are just spectacula­r and it doesn’t cost you anything. And the people are very friendly – there’s a whole chapter there about meeting people. There’s a common thread throughout the book I’d say in meeting people, but there’s one chapter I just talk about some of the friendlies­t countries I’ve been to and one of them is Oman. And who knows anything about Oman and yet I found them to be so friendly, so welcoming.”

Beyond the Postcard takes a look beyond the places people often go

to and explores places that tend to go unseen. It gives advice on new adventures to take that may appeal to well-seasoned travellers. After his sister jokingly suggested he turn his stories into a book, Swatridge made it happen and word after word created the recently released book, soon to be the companion in the packs of many fellow travel lovers.

“My sister years ago, because I’m always telling stories about trips, she said, ‘you know what, John, you should write a book about your stories.’ I’m way too busy and then all of a sudden, the COVID thing happened. I needed some exercise for the brain so I started just jotting down one word, things to jog my memory and all of a sudden pages and pages of these stories came out, which I turned into Beyond the Postcard.”

Swatridge wasn’t able to travel for the last couple of years due to pandemic restrictio­ns but was able to write a book to help new or seasoned travellers with where to go as they come out of isolation. Swatridge has an extensivel­y large list of countries on his list of where he wants to go next, with more on the side as a tour guide.

“For my own personal travel right now: northern Pakistan and Uzbekistan, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Patagonia, that kind of area. I want to do the gorillas in Uganda, mountain gorillas. But incorporat­e Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda.”

Beyond the Postcard can be found online at Friesen Press bookstore, Walmart, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It can also be purchased directly from Swatridge by e-mailing johnswatri­

 ?? Justine Fraser ?? A constant traveller, John Swatridge was finally able to stay still long enough to write about his experience­s.
Justine Fraser A constant traveller, John Swatridge was finally able to stay still long enough to write about his experience­s.

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