ravel can be as hard to define as Zen itself. For some of us travel is a vice for anonymity and escape to punctuate breakups, career changes, midlife crises and semi-retirement. For others, overland journeys reveal deeper impulses of personal transformation – to find answers to happiness and harmony and bear light on the ultimate mystery and sufference of it all. But in the bleachers of honeymooners, holidaymakers, iBackpackers, veteran wayfarers and Beat Zen vagabonds capturing this movement is difficult.
In spite of, or more accurately because of such desires, the genesis for “Beat Zen and the Art of Dave” found its own traction. The timing was right. I was standing on a figurative and literal border in my life – symmetrically placed to see equally where I’d come from, where I was and where I was heading. There was a physical lyricism to match where I was in life. After five months travelling down the grand isthmus of Central America I was in Leticia in the southwest corner of Colombia. Nestled on the tri-border of Peru and Brazil, I was well beyond the end of the road (and right where I wanted to be) since Leticia is only accessible by boat or plane. There I stood on the Rubicon’s edge of my journey. It took the form of the Rio Amazonas flowing like a giant causeway into Brazil and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh from an ayahuasca ceremony with Jimmy, the local Medicine Man, I glimpsed an arcane conflation of things that seem to visit me on every overland adventure I undertake – usually involving my staring down at my feet or gazing across a vista, marvelling at how I got there. I had every intention of jumping on a boat and heading downstream for 8-10 days to Manaus then onto Belem on the coast. But for the first time ever on a trip I decided to curb my insatiable onward desire. I was mindful about returning to Australia to help promote my first published book and wanted to return with some cash still in my pockets.
After the release of my first book I realised I wanted to reflect on my own longstanding attraction to an erratic, meandering lifestyle, for which I’ve observed over time more and more people of every age identify with like it is a self-contained religion. While spirituality and travel is a marriage as old as earthly beyuls and pilgrimages, I believe it is no less relevant today.
I wanted to embrace the previous generation of iconic travel writers, such as Kerouac and Steinbeck who sought answers on the open road at a time when Eastern philosophy in the West was new and exciting. And I wanted to make this connection relevant in our present climate of heightened spiritual curiosity – where people are returning to Eastern practices and personalising their faith through mystical traditions, and taking a year off to travel to find answers to happiness and harmony in our digital world.
I also wanted to compare the attitudes of the aging Lonely Planet generation to the new iBackpackers, to expose the conundrum of travellers seeking enlightenment in the less familiar when mobile technology keeps us tethered to all that we left behind. And I wanted to discuss the darker side of wanderlust through the delusions, fallacies and notions of escape which feed any obsession − to make sense of it to discover what part of this predilection comes from within and what part is a design of the world around us.
The result is “Beat Zen and the Art of Dave”, which intertwines humorous anecdotes and travel lore with backpacking philosophy and Eastern spirituality to show that everyone’s journey through is a travelogue of sorts. At its essence my new book is a meditation on the modern vagrant and wayfaring lifestyle, which comes from the life of a vagabond and free spirit.
The eagerly awaited followup to my first travel book, “Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes” is a distinctly ruminative and candid account of international budget backpacking. By offering an allegoric window of personal introspection, “Beat Zen and the Art of Dave” entertains as much as it challenges and inspires because we are all part of a travelling fraternity overlanding it through life.
“Beat Zen and the Art of Dave” is now available via aypal or credit card for the special introductory price of AUD$27.95. Order now and we’ll also ship your order free of postage to any of the dropdown menu shipping locations. For those who shop at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk you can find paperback and kindle editions listed with competitive rates and shipping.
aken from a chapter title in the book, “Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes” exposes the raw edge of international budget travel. Spanning six continents, my candid memoir selects arresting slices of life to capture the risks, adventure, fun and romance of more than a decade on the road. An insightful and emotional account of international backpacking culture driven not by chronology or geography, but by experiential themes – where the main stage on the open road is kerbsides. They’re backpackers’ theatre to meet and re-connect, share our lives, fall in love and say goodbye.
By exposing my enchantment with movement and the spaces between places, “Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes” shares the unpredictability of waking each day in a different place with the unexpected and unlikely wayfarers I meets along the way. But in spite of random rendezvous and the internet making remote destinations accessible, the world isn’t a small place. It takes time to cross – lots and lots of time! And not everyone is comfortable travelling this way.
This is how I have lived for over 15 years – crossing glaciers and deserts, busking at borders, hitching over the roof of the world, surviving South East Asia hedonism and foreign customs and police interrogations, where new onward routes are decided by serendipity and a coin toss.
In “Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes” I balances instinct and caution against adventure, compassion and living loose to lead you from India to the Andes and Amazon, Siberia to the Tibetan Plateau, onto the Silk Road and edges of Mesopotamia.
Along the way I traverse backpacking hazards and kerbside romance, remnants of communist and imperial officialdom, drug exploitation and extreme poverty. Budget isn’t a primary objective, but it’s a fortunate consequence. And while adventure and the unknown are seductive, I’ve always been the people I meet on the road that I find most captivating. By wending my way through life I illuminate the frustrations, joys, tensions, wonderment and brief but tender relationships that afflict and bind backpackers and ordinary folks alike.
A perfect read to acquaint tyro travellers with life on the open road and accompany wanderlust struck mates on their next adventure abroad, or for those who always wanted to feel the weight of a backpack but obligations got in the way.
For a limited time we’re offering customers in Australia a specially signed copy of “Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes” free of postage for the reduced price of $19.99 if you order now via aypal or credit card.
We also offer competitive prices with free shipping for international customers. Just select your shipping region from the aypal drop down menu. For customer’s worldwide, if your shipping region does not appear on aypal’s drop down menu you can find all David McNamara’s titles at all popular online stores. For those who shop at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk you can find paperback and kindle editions listed with competitive rates and shipping.