I like a book that teaches me something, and Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story by Maarten Troost taught me plenty. Like any good travelogue, Troost exposed me to a part of the world (the South Seas) that I had no familiarity with, and he did so with humor and wit. He also gave me quite the education on Robert Louis Stevenson, the personality Troost uses to inspire his adventure.
Not surprisingly, Troost confirmed one of my hardest learned lessons about traveling: your trip becomes much enjoyable when you think of it as a story. For example, Troost shows up at a tiny island airport for an 8am flight (or thereabouts) only to find out that the pilot left at 5:45am and he'll have to wait till tomorrow to catch the next one. If he was trying to have the "perfect" trip, this would be massively frustrating. But, because he's writing humor, this is comedy gold. I've learned that you can adopt this same perspective while traveling, and thanks to the world of blogging, you can even record your story for all to read. No book contract necessary. Bottom line: it's amazing how a change in perspective can influence your view on a travel crisis.
But mostly, I learned that Alcoholism is a disease not to be trifled with. That's right, as Troost is taking us island hopping, swimming with the sharks and meeting the locals, he's also telling the story of how booze nearly destroyed him. He takes us through the whole process, from the casual drinking, to the out of control drinking, through rehab and into the day to day steps he goes through to keep from relapsing. And he manages to do it in a way that's both humorous to read and deadly serious. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to put all that out there, but I'm thankful he did.
After reading the book, I've downloaded a number of Robert Louis Stevenson's books to my Android, including In The South Seas. Thanks to the long expired copyright, Project Gutenberg has this title and many others ready for you to grab and read.
All in all, Headhunters on My Doorstep is a fun, easy to read travel book that should stretch your mind in ways you didn't expect.