Most travel writing is the ultimate prostitution. I’ll go anywhere, I’ll go with anyone, I’ll do anything, so long as I get paid for it. There is no purpose, no objective.”
The opening lines of Peter Biddlecombe’s Travels with My Briefcase may put you off, if you picked this book up thinking it was just another travelogue. These sweeping statements, which damn almost half of the so-called travel-lovers and most travel writers, may irritate you. However, if you get past the introduction, the gist of which is that business travelers are the true travelers, you will enjoy reading it.
The book does not describe ‘azure skies’ or ‘dark foliage’ or ‘wonderful trills of birds’. It does not wax lyrical over ‘stately columns of museums’ or ‘true cultural experiences’. It does not drool over ‘fondue’ or ‘fois gras’ or ‘spaghetti carbonara’, ‘native produce’ or ‘vintage wines’. It does not have photographs of the author or his family posing next to statues or hugging people or performing scary acts.
It tells you about what to expect in each country, with just the right mixture of genuine wit, sarcasm, exasperation and appreciation. It shows that travel can be adventurous and eventful, but in a different way.