Immersed in West Africa by Terry Lister

Assuredly, it is one of the finest travelogues I came across in recent times. The author’s definitive account is of cinematic level, making the journey comes alive to the reader. Such is the impact that after a few initial chapters, you are no longer a reader but a co-traveler. He doesn’t render rosy pictures of exotic destinations but talks about his shared cab rides, bike rides, struggles to get a seat, bribing experiences, and spending time with locals without speaking a common language. The reason why I loved this travel journal, it is not about the destination but the journey.

Terry took the road lesser traveled and chose West Africa as the travel destination. However, he fancied going there since childhood. His travel route explores Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea Conakry. None of his days was a cakewalk, and every day he fought a new battle. Sometimes, it is related to the hotel, which is nothing more than an under-construction building with barriers all around, sometimes it is a corrupt official aiming to extract some money out of him and sometimes villagers who also need some extra cash. It is incredible to see how he escape the trap every time and made his day marvelous.

I have never considered Africa in my travel list as I didn’t know it is full of worthwhile sightseeing. The author has explored beaches, markets, parks, and museums that sounds spectacular. But, unfortunately, images are not doing justice to them. There are very few and do not precisely show the point of attraction. But the author looked so happy in all of them it gave a different level of satisfaction.

Among all other places, I wanted to know more about the history of Goree Island- Door of no return. Exactly what gruesome history made everyone cry by being there is worth knowing. I also adored how he traveled like a local guy using public transport. His experience of witnessing mint tea and having meals with families where no one understood each other’s language touched my heart.

I am grateful to the author for sending the book across. Although I would still need a lot of courage to travel to Africa yet, this book has opened up a gateway to the unexplored world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *