Jeff Chappell's Reviews > The Naked Tourist: In Search of Adventure and Beauty in the Age of the Airport Mall

The Naked Tourist by Lawrence Osborne
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's review
Sep 22, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction
Recommended for: anyone interested in world travel
Read in September, 2009

See my review of Osborne's Bangkok Days; much of what I said about that book could be said here. This book delves much more deeply into the question of why people travel, in particular what the author himself is looking for in his travels. He investigates first hand a variety of travel -- from the insulated, replicated spa culture to the Margaret Mead-esque bushwhacking of those who seek to experience cultures unsullied by modernity.

Like Bangkok Days, I'm not sure why I feel compelled to give him four instead of five stars; I can't point to one thing necessarily -- I can't point to some specific aspect of the book and say "here's the problem/drawback to The Naked Tourist. It's just some vague sense of British post-colonial ennui and cynicism that seems to lurk throughout the book, and I suppose that bothers me -- perhaps not everything Osborne writes about in this book should be viewed through this filter. It may be just that I'm an American and a hopeless romantic at heart, even though I'm also cynical enough not to buy into the "noble savage" stereotype so many of us in the West have about indigenous people.

Anyway, this shouldn't keep anyone interested in travel and living abroad from reading Osborne; he's terribly amusing and an excellent writer.

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