Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Lonely Hearts Travel Club – Destination Thailand by Katy Colins

Twenty-something Georgia Green leads a comfortable life. She has a loving family, a steady job and nice boyfriend who she is preparing to get married to. Then just weeks before the big day, her beau calls off the wedding, leaving Georgia in bits. 

On what would have been her wedding day, she goes on holiday with her best friend and takes some time to re-evaluate her life which has drastically changed in such a short space of time. 

She makes a bucket list of sorts and after a few stops and starts; she finally takes the plunge to go travelling. She is booked onto a tour to Thailand and bravely heads off on her first time alone to pastures unknown, and finds that even when things don’t go to plan, there are still plenty of experiences to be had. 

I was drawn to this novel for two reasons. One, its grey and cold outside and I wanted a literary escape to somewhere hot and exotic. Secondly, it’s been almost a year since my own solo backpacking adventure and as I didn't get to see as much of Thailand as I had originally planned while I was away, I wanted to see it through this new character’s eyes. 

I really enjoyed this book because it bought back so many memories of travelling for me. As this novel is based on author Katy Colin’s real-life experiences, the picture of backpacking and travelling is authentic. This story highlights some of the good and bad sides of travelling. 

The good includes meeting some amazing people from all walks of life, getting to try new foods and experiences that would normally be out of your comfort zone, being immersed in a culture so different from your own, the beautiful sights of exotic lands far from home and the freedom and confidence you gain when travelling. The bad bits can include some of the not-so-nice people that you end up crossing paths with, the physical strains of travelling (how I miss you, giant backpack) and the scams that naïve travellers can fall prey to.  

Georgia is easy to identify with as a character which makes you care about her story all the more and as a reader, I felt many of her emotions as she went through all her experiences; happiness, sadness, trepidation and more. Through her trials and tribulations you get a great idea of Thailand and life on the road. 

Travelling aside, her story is warm and funny, with splashes of romance and adventure that help keep you turning pages. Even if you've never been travelling before, and/or have no intention of backpacking, this is a great story about friendship, gaining courage and second chances that is easily enjoyable. A great escapist read, I'm looking forward to the future destinations for the Lonely Hearts Travel Club. 

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