Travel book ‘To Oldly Go’ out this month
To Oldly Go: Tales of Intrepid Travel by the Over-60s is an inspiration for senior citizens
There seem to be three kinds of senior travel writer: those who discover travelling late in life and think that everything is wonderful; those who take the world and themselves too seriously; and those who have gradually become world-weary, curmudgeonly and dryly amusing. The latter is generally the more readable. One exception was Evelyn Waugh, who set the 20th-century standard for acerbic travel humour at the beginning of his career with non-fiction books such as Labels (1930), Remote People (1931) and Ninety-two Days (1934), and remained mordant and exasperated until his last travel book, A Tourist in Africa (1960). He was 57 when that was published, sadly making him a little too young to be quoted in To Oldly Go: Tales of Intrepid Travel by the Over-60s, which is published this month by Bradt Travel Guides.
But in any case, Waugh wouldn’t fit well in what is apparently a rousing call-to-arms for senior citizens to embrace retirement and see the world. More than 40 new and previously published chapters from travel writers – both professional and amateur – are featured, with better-known names including Colin Thubron, Matthew Parris and Dervla Murphy. Readers of a similar vintage who are looking for inspiration to get out and see the world will find plenty here to get them going, although the content is mainly from the first two writer categories listed. Jaded armchair travellers who prefer a nice sit down and a cup of tea will find reassurance in the anthology of Waugh’s early travel writing, When the Going Was Good (1946), which was most recently published by Penguin in 2011.