Kilimanjaro a Book of the Year Awards Finalist


clip_image002My book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is a finalist for the 2012 Book of the Year Award in the Travel Essay category. The finalists were selected from 1300 entries covering 62 categories of books from independent and academic presses. These represent some of the best books produced by small publishing houses in 2012.

Over the next two months, a panel of sixty librarians and booksellers will judge and determine the winners. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, as well as Editor’s Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction, will be announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago on June 28, 2013, at The Pop Top Stage. Click here for a full list of the finalists.

Kilimanjaro is a travel essay that chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, I tried to change my life by climbing a mountain. This is my true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age. The book, which features more than 60 photos from my trek, earned an honorable mention from the 2012 Global Ebook Awards.

Readers have called Kilimanjaro “life changing,” “inspirational,” “an epic journey of self-discovery,” and “a peek into someone’s personal travel journal.” It’s a book for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, my book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Booksellers

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is available to purchase for U.S.$3.99 as an ebook, U.S.$9.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com (US for Kindle)

Amazon.co.uk (UK for Kindle)

Amazon.ca (Canada for Kindle)

Apple iTunes (iPad and iPhone)

Barnes & Noble (US for Nook)

Barnes & Noble (UK for Nook)

Blio

Diesel Ebooks

Google Play (Android)

IndieBound

Kobo Books (available in Australia and Canada)

Smashwords

Sony ReaderStore

The Wordshop

Kilimanjaro is available to buy in print for U.S.$9.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com (US)

Amazon.co.uk (UK)

Amazon.ca (Canada)

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

Visit the Kilimanjaro web page for a complete list of booksellers.

Click here to read the first five chapters of Kilimanjaro. If you like it, you can purchase the entire book from one of the booksellers listed on the last page or from Scribd. Thanks for reading my memoir! I hope you enjoy it.

About the Book of the Year Awards

ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards program was created to highlight the year’s most distinguished books from independent publishers. The awards announcement provides an additional publicity opportunity for publishers long after a book’s initial publication date. After months of perusing the list of submissions, librarians and booksellers eagerly anticipate this announcement of finalists—a valuable resource for discovering obscure titles from the world of indie publishing.

2011_12_29 Mike Kilimanjaro

Pick up your copy of Kilimanjaro today!

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Real Dreams Featured in the Foreign Service Journal


dreamscoverThe Foreign Service Journal has featured my book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories in its annual “In Their Own Write” compilation of books published by Foreign Service-affiliated authors in 2012. The Foreign Service Journal writes of Real Dreams (p. 49):

Mike Edwards wrote these 15 short stories over a period of 30 years, beginning in his youth. He covers a wide variety of themes and topics inspired by dreams and experiences over those years.

These stories encompass a boy’s fantasies and an adult man’s maturation. A young boy finds himself the protector of genetically modified army ants that have escaped from the military. An old woman considered to be mentally ill may have reason for her outbursts, while a prisoner of war writes letters of hope from his Nazi concentration camp during World War II. And a gloomy maintenance man turns out to have a terrifying history.

 

Real Dreams is a collection of stories I wrote between 1981 and 2011. Each reflects changes in my writing style and interests over time. I wrote the earliest story, “How Little Big Chief Calmed the Mountain,” as a young student, and the latest, “Evil | Live,” three decades later. The book is a story sampler rather than a cohesive anthology. The stories are grouped by genre. You will find some common themes, including hope, dreams, light, darkness, perseverance, and spirituality, wrapped up in some novel ideas. In some stories, the reader is left to ponder their deeper meaning. I hope you enjoy these diverse and timeless works three decades in the making.

Thank you, Foreign Service Journal, for including Real Dreams on your 2012 list. I am grateful that my book joined other superb works written by Foreign Service colleagues and alumni. I encourage readers to browse the books featured in “In Their Own Write” and read the Journal to learn more about the Foreign Service.

Real Dreams is available to purchase as an e-book or in print from these booksellers:

U.S. Booksellers

dreamscover2Available to purchase as an e-book for US$2.99:

Amazon.com for Kindle

Apple iTunes for iPad/iPhone

Baker & Taylor for Blio e-reader

Barnes & Noble for Nook

Diesel Ebooks for iPad and other e-readers

Google Play for Android

Kobo Books for Kobo e-reader

Smashwords for iPad and other e-readers

Sony ReaderStore for Sony e-reader

Available in print for US$8.99:

Amazon.com

Createspace-

International Booksellers

Available as an e-book or in print (prices vary by format and local currency):

Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)

Amazon.fr (France)

Amazon.de (Austria and Germany)

Amazon.it (Italy)

Amazon.co.jp (Japan)

Amazon.es for Kindle (Spain)

Available as an e-book:

Barnes & Noble for Nook (United Kingdom)

Visit my websitefor a complete list of booksellers.

 

About the Foreign Service Journal

The Foreign Service Journal covers foreign affairs from an insider’s perspective, providing thoughtful articles on international issues, the practice of diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. The Journal is published monthly (July/August issues combined) by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). The November issue features its annual “In Their Own Write” compilation, the largest edition yet, with some 90 new books by Foreign Service-affiliated authors. The list spans almost every conceivable literary genre: from history and foreign policy to memoirs and biographies, and from novels and short stories to mysteries and how-to books.

About the American Foreign Service Association

Established in 1924, AFSA is the professional association of the United States Foreign Service. With close to 16,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents over 28,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State, Agency for International Development (AID), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

Click here to read the original post on my blog, World Adventurers.

dreamscoverM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Technorati DBPTZXKSVDZZ

Kilimanjaro Featured in the Foreign Service Journal


mge-kili-cover-front-smallThe prestigious Foreign Service Journal featured my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill in this year’s “In Their Own Write” compilation of books published by Foreign Service-affiliated authors.

The Foreign Service Journal wrote of Kilimanjaro (p. 36):

Approaching middle age, sick and overweight, Mike Edwards was hardly in shape to face the tallest mountain in Africa. But armed with stubborn perseverance and the desire to defy naysayers, he reaches for the top in his attempt to tackle Kilimanjaro.

The tale covers every aspect of the climb, from preparations that included being dragged through aisles of clothing by his avid shopper (and mountain climber) wife to eating a monotonous vegetarian diet for five days.

Once on the mountain, it doesn’t matter who you are. It’s just you and the mountain. Luckily, Edwards had a kindhearted guide and a well-planned expedition. But planning can only go so far when subjecting yourself and your team to the ruthless elements of Kilimanjaro’s highest altitudes.

This Global E-Book Award nominee is fuel for all aspiring mountain climbers as well as those heading “over the hill.” Climbing “Kili” changed the author’s life and gave him the motivation he needed to leave his diplomatic career and follow his dreams. And with this book he is living them.

Mike Edwards was a Foreign Service officer for 11 years. He left the Service in 2011 to focus on writing and now lives in Thailand with his wife, Jing, a Foreign Service specialist at Embassy Bangkok, and their son. This book is the first of his World Adventurer Series. He also writes mysteries, thrillers and science-fiction fantasies, and has published a volume of short stories, Real Dreams.

kilifull

Readers have called Kilimanjaro “life changing,” “inspirational,” “gripping,” “an epic journey of self-discovery,” and “a peek into someone’s personal travel journal.” It’s a book for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Thank you, Foreign Service Journal, for including Kilimanjaro on your 2012 list. I am grateful that my book joined other superb works written by Foreign Service colleagues and alumni. I encourage readers to browse the books featured in “In Their Own Write” and to peruse the pages of the Journal to learn more about the Foreign Service.

Kilimanjaro is available to purchase as an e-book or in print from these booksellers:

U.S. Booksellers

Available to purchase as an e-book for US$3.99:

Amazon.com for Kindle

Apple iTunes for iPad/iPhone

Baker & Taylor for Blio e-reader

Barnes & Noble for Nook

Diesel Ebooks for iPad and other e-readers

Google Play for Android

Kobo Books for Kobo e-reader

Smashwords for iPad and other e-readers

Sony ReaderStore for Sony e-reader

Available in print for US$9.99:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

IndieBound

International Booksellers

Available as an e-book or in print (prices vary by format and local currency):

Amazon.co.uk for Kindle (United Kingdom)

Amazon.fr for Kindle (France)

Amazon.de for Kindle (Germany)

Amazon.co.jp for Kindle (Japan)

Amazon.it for Kindle (Italy)

Amazon.es for Kindle (Spain)

Available as an e-book (prices vary):

Barnes & Noble for Nook (United Kingdom)

Available in print (prices vary):

Amazon.ca for Kindle (Canada)

Visit my website for a complete list of booksellers.

About the Foreign Service Journal

The Foreign Service Journal covers foreign affairs from an insider’s perspective, providing thoughtful articles on international issues, the practice of diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. The Journal is published monthly (July/August issues combined) by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). The November issue features its annual “In Their Own Write” compilation, the largest edition yet, with some 90 new books by Foreign Service-affiliated authors. The list spans almost every conceivable literary genre: from history and foreign policy to memoirs and biographies, and from novels and short stories to mysteries and how-to books.

About the American Foreign Service Association

Established in 1924, AFSA is the professional association of the United States Foreign Service. With close to 16,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents over 28,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State, Agency for International Development (AID), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

You’re the Adventurer–No Brazilian Visa


Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.

If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

You’re all set for your trip to Brazil. You can’t wait to experience the Amazon, Rio de Janeiro, the beaches, and the vibe of Latin America as the country gets ready for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. It’s going to be a great trip!

counter2

You arrive at the airport and check in with the airline. Presenting your travel documents, the agent flips through your passport and asks, “Where is your Brazilian visa?”

“What do you mean?” you ask, perplexed.

“You need a valid visa to travel to Brazil,” they explain.

The realization dawns on you that you should have applied for a visa before departure. You assumed that you either didn’t need one or could get it upon arrival, recalling that many countries let visitors apply at the port of entry. “I didn’t realize that I needed a visa before I traveled.”

“I’m sorry, but you must have a valid visa before I can issue the ticket,” the agent informs you. “Not only that, your passport has less than six months’ validity left, and you’ll need to renew your passport before the Brazilians will issue you a visa.”

“What?” you exclaim, surprised. “I can’t do that! My flight is in two hours.”

“Unfortunately, you can’t fly until you have a valid passport and visa to enter Brazil,” says the agent in a monotone voice. They’ve obviously confronted this situation before.

“Is there any way I can get one on short notice, like here at the airport?”

“No, I’m afraid not. You have to renew your passport online and then apply by mail for the visa through the Brazilian Embassy. It can take quite a while,” they tell you and hand back your passport and ticket.

You stand dumbfounded with your bag and travel documents as the ticket agent helps another customer.

Not only are you going to miss your flight, but you’ll have to postpone your trip until you update your travel documents. It could take weeks until you can head to Brazil. What a disastrous start to what could have been a great trip!

THE END

airplane

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

buythumb[3]M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. All characters and events appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

You’re the Adventurer–No Chinese Visa


Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.

If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

You’re all set for your journey to China. You can’t wait to experience the Far East with more than one billion people and 5,000 years of history. It’s going to be a great trip!

airport

You arrive at the airport and check in with the airline. Presenting your travel documents, the agent flips through your passport and asks, “Where is your Chinese visa?”

“What do you mean?” you ask, perplexed.

“You need a valid visa to travel to China,” they explain. The realization dawns on you that you should have applied for a Chinese visa before your departure. You assumed that you either didn’t need one or could get it when you arrived in the country, recalling that many countries let visitors apply at the port of entry. You respond sheepishly, “I didn’t realize that I needed to get a visa before I traveled.”

“I’m sorry, but you must have a valid visa before I can issue your ticket,” the agent informs you with a dismissive look and cool voice.

“How do I get one?” you ask, starting to worry that you can’t proceed as planned.

“You have to download the application online and apply through the Chinese Embassy.”

“What?” you exclaim, surprised. “I can’t do that! My flight is in less than two hours.”

“I’m sorry, but you can’t fly until you have a valid Chinese visa,” they insist. They’ve obviously confronted this situation before. “If you entered China without a visa, you would be turned around immediately and sent home.”

“Isn’t there any way I can get one on short notice, like here at the airport?”

“No, I’m afraid not. I’m sorry, but you have to apply through the Chinese Embassy. Good day,” they tell you and hand back your passport and ticket before you can protest.

man

You stand dumbfounded with your bag and travel documents as the agent helps another customer.

You’re going to miss your flight and will have to wait for a few days until the Chinese Embassy processes your visa. What a disastrous start to what could have been a great trip!

THE END

airplane

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories calledReal Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Storiesand Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. All characters and events appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

You’re the Adventurer–Quarantine in South Africa


Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.

If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

You’re all set for your trip to South Africa. You can’t wait to experience the African and western cultures, scenic beauty, and wild safaris. It’s going to be a great trip!

You arrive at the airport and check in with the airline. Presenting your valid passport and tickets, the agent reviews them, checks in your bag, and issues boarding passes and baggage claim. You accept them with a smile.

counter

In spite of your aversion to the high-tech security measures that leaves you feeling underdressed and exposed by a full-body scanner, you pass through security without incident and make your way to the gate. The on-time flight leaves you idling and fumbling with electronic gadgets while waiting for the boarding call. At last, a warm voice announces over the intercom that it’s time to board the airplane for the long flight to a transit airport. Flying isn’t fun, but it’s not long now until you arrive in South Africa.

The journey is uneventful except for a bout of turbulence over the ocean and some movies featured as in-flight entertainment that you missed in the cinema. The mundane routine of getting up to stretch and take bathroom breaks is the only diversion you have from lounging in a seat that looks comfortable enough but feels harder the longer you sit in it. You juggle some electronic gadgets and fill out the transit country’s Immigration and Customs card long before arrival. It occurs to you that the handwritten document will probably end up in a file cabinet somewhere, forgotten.

You arrive at the transit airport and pass through security. The thought crosses your mind that they could have reconfigured it so passengers en route to another destination could have bypassed security and exited directly to the transit lounge. “What do I know?” you murmur, putting the thought out of your mind. You’re just a passenger who should leave security to the experts.

security

Your luggage was checked all the way through to your final stop in South Africa, but you still have to pass through immigration and customs again before heading to the connecting flight. It’s déjà vu. Take out passport, boarding pass, and laptop out, throw away liquids, and remove shoes and belt. You wonder — to yourself, of course — if it’s overkill.

As you sit at the gate waiting for your flight, an announcement over the loudspeaker tells passengers that the flight to Johannesburg (Joburg), South Africa has been delayed. Curious, you ask an attendant why when the plane is waiting in the gate. They respond that the aircraft’s battery is dead. “Great,” you chuckled, none too happy. It’s too bad you left the jump cables at home.

Two hours later, you’re on board the aircraft with a fresh battery and on your way. Fortunately, you have enough time in Joburg to make the short-hop connecting flight to Cape Town. Except for updrafts over the Sahara Desert that buffet the plane and trigger a five-minute explanation from the captain, the flight to South Africa is more uneventful than the previous one. You try to will yourself to sleep during the long flight but can’t do it. Somewhere over Africa, you give up and start watching your favorite movie another time.

Excitement returns when the captain announces the descent into Joburg. You look out the window, see the city sprawling on the horizon, and snap a few digital photos smudged by streaks on the double-paned cabin windows. Your seatmates keep to themselves; one is still dozing and the other engrossed in a pulp novel. No one to share your joy of your arrival in Africa leaves you subdued.

The plane lands, rolls to a halt on the tarmac, and disgorges passengers at a shuttle to Immigration and Customs. As you step off the bus, you read a large sign that announces in bold letters:

Due to a Recent Outbreak of Yellow Fever,

Everyone Who Enters Must Show Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination

at Port of Entry.

You read the sign and gasp. Studying it again, you shake you head. You didn’t get your yellow fever shot at home and don’t have a yellow shot card! An International Certificate of Vaccination would have provided the proof you need, but you passed on it.

You enter the airport terminal and head to Immigration, hoping that the officer will excuse your ignorance and let you into the country. The counter looms. Stepping up after a brief wait in line, you quietly hand your passport and immigration form to the officer. They scan the documents without a word. Finally, they ask, “Do you have proof of yellow fever vaccination?”

Your heart sinks. Fumbling with your travel documents, as if jostling them will make the yellow shot card magically appear, you respond meekly, “No, no I don’t.”

“I’m sorry, but you can’t enter South Africa without showing proof of vaccination. You’ll have to go to Quarantine to speak to someone about taking care of it. Have a nice day,” the officer says, handing back your documents and motioning for you to enter a room to the right. A nearby guard watches you.

guard

You’ve been quarantined! You have no other choice but to go to Immigration Secondary and arrange to get your yellow fever shot. You’re going to miss your connecting flight to Cape Town and could be sequestered for a couple of days. What a disastrous start to what could have been a great trip!

THE END

airplane

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories calledReal Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Storiesand Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

 

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. All characters and events appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

You’re the Adventurer–Planning Ahead


Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.

If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

Your destination is set, and now you have to arrange your travel schedule and handle the logistics. Travel overseas isn’t like getting into the car with a suitcase in hand to visit family or friends. There’s more to it. You’re going to visit a different culture and have to anticipate what you’re going to need before you leave. Grabbing a piece of paper, you jot down a list of things to do.

Flights. Driving isn’t an option. The thought crosses your mind that it would be fun to take an ocean cruise but dismiss the thought when you realize how long it would take — days or weeks. You’d rather spend your time enjoying your final destination. Flying it is! You search online for airline tickets and compare prices, exhaling as the sticker shock hits you, and finally purchase an affordable one with a couple of stops and several hours in transit.

airplane

Lodging. The online options for lodging where you’re planning to stay are mind-boggling. Beyond a few well-known hotel chains, most of the names mean nothing to you. Travel websites give you a variety of hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts to choose from, and you book places to stay close to your preferred attractions. They look quaint and clean in the photos with a list of amenities like complementary breakfast, but who knows what they’re like until you show up in the lobby with luggage in hand.

Ground transportation. Moving around the country might be easier in a car rental, but you’re not sure about local driving conditions. Cities may be crowded and perhaps dangerous if you venture into the wrong part of town. The rental may offer challenges like right-hand driving or manual shifting into tight spaces. Without GPS, driving could become a misadventure you didn’t anticipate and don’t want. You decide to use public transportation, taxis, and organized tours to get around.

taxi

Travel guides. You research online for travel information about your destination and dig up dozens of websites with a wide range of data of varying quality. Some have great pictures but scarce information about the country, while others read like encyclopedias that leave you perplexed over a dizzying array of choices. You decide that travel guides on electronic media like smartphones don’t adequately replace old-fashioned paperback guides. You check the ratings on a few of the more popular ones and choose a guide that vaguely registers in your memory, throwing in a local phrase book for good measure as you don’t know if or when you’ll need to speak the local language. While English is a second language for many worldwide, it might not be widely spoken in some places you’ll visit.

luggageBaggage. You dig your luggage out of storage and lay them out on the floor. Opting for one large suitcase and a smaller carry-on bag, you wonder whether your soft-top bag will be sturdy enough to handle the journey and recall a time when you saw another traveler’s broken, splintered hard-top suitcase flailing about on the baggage carousel, its contents spilling out of the bag for gawking bystanders to ogle. Soft top is fine, you think. You make a trip to the store to buy luggage tags and belts and TSA-compliant locks.

Electronics and cameras. You grab your digital camera that’s been anxiously waiting to take great travel photos and all the electronic equipment begging to join you. Unsure whether theft will be a major concern, you consider which items you can keep safe on the road. You opt not to bring an oversized laptop that won’t fit into a locked bag or a hotel lockbox or your cell phone that won’t work at your destination. Instead, you jot down the phone numbers of your hotels, the nearest embassy in case of an emergency, and other contacts to input into a local cell phone after you arrive. Whatever you can carry in your carry-on bag will go with you. The lucky items cheer their good fortune.

Power converters and plug adapters. You discover that your electronics are incompatible with the plugs at your destination. You check to make sure that all your equipment uses 220-volt power, avoiding the anguish of your electronics blowing a fuse after an electrical surge. You stop by a local store to pick up a set of universal plug adapters that will fit any foreign socket.

plugs

Clothing. Local weather reports help you plan your wardrobe. The forecast suggests that temperatures will be variable with a chance of rain. You recall the different latitudes and hemispheres where the seasons are reversed and decide to bring both warm- and cool-weather clothing. You’re careful not to pack too much to avoid an airline charge for overweight baggage; enough clothing for a week is sufficient with downtime to do laundry.

Insurance. Uncertain whether your insurance will cover accidents and theft overseas, you check online and learn that a serious incidents overseas such as a medical evacuation or lengthy hospitalization may not be fully covered. You decide to play it safe and check out travel insurance coverage in the event you’re injured, robbed, or worse.

Money. Although the thought occurs to you that it may be better to purchase travelers’ cheques or local currency from a money exchange before arriving at your destination, you realize that cash and credit cards should work where you’re traveling. You make sure that you have your credit cards’ personal identification numbers (PINs) handy, mindful to keep them separate from your cards.

money

Travel documents. You check your passport to make sure it’s still valid. It’s close to expiring, and you wonder whether you should renew it before you leave. You’re also unsure whether you’ll need a visa to enter the country. Reading International Travel Information, you learn that Brazil and China require visas, but South Africa does not. You should also get the recommended immunizations from your doctor and an International Certificate of Vaccination — better known as the “yellow shot card” — issued by the World Health Organization.

passport

With your trip planning well in hand, you breathe a sigh of relief. While not much fun, you feel better knowing that most of the logistics are done to help make your trip a good one. Crashing on the sofa, you ponder what to do about your travel documents. You hope you have enough time before your trip, but you’re leaving soon and aren’t sure if you can get them back in time. If you apply for a new passport, you risk not getting it before you’re scheduled to leave. Applying for a visa can be a notoriously slow and time-intensive process. Adding a visa to a new passport will take even longer, possibly jeopardizing your trip. You can get vaccinations and a yellow shot card, but who wants to gets shots? Maybe the immunizations aren’t required and can be avoided.

What should you do about your travel documents?

Click here to travel to Brazil with your current passport.

Click here to travel to China with your current passport.

Click here to travel to South Africa with your current passport.

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.