Finn's Reviews > Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid

Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost
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's review
Nov 21, 2011

liked it

Oh, Troost. I knew eventually you would have to get a real job and settle down. Not because you didn't want to be a lifelong bohemian traveler but because one day, as a lot of us endless wanderers do, you found yourself with offspring. It's not that children don't benefit from seeing the world, they do- but it's the pure and simple truth that once you care more about the welfare of babies than you do the glorious (self-gratifying) life on the road... well, you kind of end up putting things like Health Care and stability and school districts on higher priority than say trekking for three days to see the indigenous tribes of Fatu Hiva and attempting to avoid elephantiasis as your share some sketchy looking poi with them out of a communal bowl (just as an example...)

Did I enjoy this book? Yes. Just not as much as Maarten Troost's previous books. His take on the completely unique and bizarre and wonderful and terrible land that is China is unique and amusing as ever. But at the end of the day, it's plain to see that our beloved island bum misses his wife and his boys (righfully so) and longs to leave this trip and return home like it's the end of a very long work day.

Musicians, writers, poets, artists of any variety- it seems they always create their best work under stress or sadness or some kind of duress. Basically anything but the blissful contentedness we all seem to strive for. I can't fault Troost for this, contentment is... boring.

Of course, I will continue reading every book he comes out with like he's an old friend. Because like Troost, I too am starting to settle down. I too am looking at mortgages. And I like to think we will always have that spark for adventure somewhere in us. Maybe when our children go off to school or we retire. Or at the very least, we can sit around the dinner table until 2am some nights drinking and laughing and swapping stories of the days we were nomads...
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