Rae's Reviews > Radio Shangri-la: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth

Radio Shangri-la by Lisa Napoli
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's review
Aug 29, 2011

it was ok
Read from August 29 to September 01, 2011

There's a fine balance that should exist in the travel/self-discovery genre between the personal journey and physical one. In Lisa Napoli's Radio Shangri-La, far too much space is given to the mid-life crisis that propels her journey to the remote country of Bhutan. I was left at the end knowing more about her dislike for radio journalism and in particular her job at Public Radio's Marketplace as a reporter then what made her visits to Bhutan so special.
Bhutan is a tiny remote country tucked away in the Himalayas. Although contact with the modern world has been limited, English is encouraged as Bhutan's second language. Roads are scarce and unpaved, even in the capital of Thimphu, where streets are unnamed as well. Napoli's first trip to Bhutan is the result of a chance meeting at a party. She takes a 6 week leave from her radio job to advise the fledgling Bhutan radio station Kuzoo FM90. She tells us that she also finds a new outlook on her life. But during the next several years as she makes repeated trips back, she continues in her same rut at home. Her trips to Bhutan seem pretty limited as well. She rarely travels outside the capital which with it's unpaved streets and packs of stray dogs seems about as appealing as a trip to Camden. The basic cuisine of Bhutan is a very spicy vegetable stew which Napoli avoids as much as possible, choosing instead Chinese fried rice and Western style food.
The writing seemed very choppy and though I admire her honesty in not inflating her experiences to make a more exciting narrative, I would have enjoyed a more exciting narrative.

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