That’s the title for the book I’m reading at the moment: “No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late” by Ayun Halliday. It’s a funny, irreverent travel memoir that details the good, the bad, and the ugly (not to mention stinky) reality of the “travel the world on a shoestring” fantasy.
If you’ve ever glamorized the idea of traveling the globe with nothing more than a backpack of belongings and a phrasebook in your pocket, you ought to read this book first.
I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to take a year off after college and do some solo traveling–looking back with some measure of regret at the adventures I could have had if only I’d been more daring. Every time I read through a travel guide to some far off place I’ve never been, I can’t help thinking, “Gee, you know, I could have gone there in my youth, if only I had planned things better.”
Ayun Halliday’s unflinching look at the reality of this kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travel has given me closure on that whole “what if” scenario. This is the first travel book I’ve ever read that had me thinking, “Yikes, better her than me” rather than “I wish that had been me.” Her stories are told with humor, wit, and despite some harrowing moments–no regrets.