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"Travels with my Rant"
Most of my writing is about my travels. Mostly very slow travels. For some years now I've been plodding round the seas of northern Europe aboard a small sailing boat. To date I've published three accounts of these trips.
For years I poked around in some of the more obscure parts of some developing countries, hitch-hiking and travelling by boat, train and bus. Some of the buses were slower than my boat. The record was 12 hours to go 11 miles in the Shan State in northern Burma. I'll soon be publishing two volumes entitled "Travels with my Rant" and "The Front of Beyond". These will include tales about hopping across dodgy borders in places like East Timor and Nicaragua.
Whilst travel may broaden some minds and narrow others, travelling slowly and alone changes your perspective on the world around you. I like to think it hones the senses and heightens the critical faculties. Others have agreed that yes, it does make me rant on and on about everything.
My travel writings are not gripping tales of derring-do and one man's survival in a savage wilderness against all the odds. I am, in fact, something of a wimp. Neither do they consciously seek to maintain the mythology and exoticism of travel to far flung parts.
The fact is that more or less everywhere on earth people wear jeans and ride scooters. The documentary makers must have a hell of a job editing the world so that it's full of tribal head-dresses and loin cloths. Culture shock isn't all it's cracked up to be and nowhere on the planet is as alien as it appears to be from a distance. Except Manchester of course.
I've tried to give a flavour of the places I've visited and to discuss those aspects of their landscape, environment, people, culture, economy and politics which make them interesting.
In 2014 I published a sort of pilot book entitled "105 Rocks and Other Stuff to Tie your Boat to in Eastern Sweden and Finland". It's full of photos, maps, descriptions and waypoints for, as the name suggests, 105 Scandinavian rocks and other harbours. It's available FREE of charge at my website (www.edge.me.uk) as a web file and as a pdf.
There's yet more stuff on my web page at http://www.edge.me.uk/index.htm. This includes a pile of more academic papers written while I was Head of Research of the Architecture School in Aberdeen.
on Feb. 15, 2013 :
OK, Martin has done it again. This is his fourth sailing book, and it's just as funny, engrossing and informative as the first three. This time he is off to the Baltic Sea, in search of new forms of sub-humanity to exercise his wit upon. That is, when he is not taking it out on his friends, those selfish louts who might not be available to crew for him "because they had, so they claimed 'their own lives to lead.'" Of course, the biggest butt of his humor is himself, as he leads off the book with the "mortifying" experience of accidentally jamming the cue button on his VHF open on the emergency channel for several days. Eventually the Dutch Coast Guard sends a plane out to look for him. Oh, that's why they didn't hear any VHF traffic for most of their transit of the North Sea.
Even Jesus Christ is not immune. Mr. Edge came upon one large yacht with a banner on its side, "Sailing for Jesus," which led him to comment "So presumably his water-walking abilities are exaggerated."
The only one who doesn't catch much grief is his wife, probably for the sake of domestic tranquillity.
For all that, Mr. Edge seemed to have had a wonderful trip through Scandinavian waters,scowling and sneering, belching, drinking and farting as only a Scotsman can, and the pleasure comes through in the pages of this wonderful book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)