To find the secrets of the world laid out for you to read and savor, prompting you to make your own travel plans is the impact of THERE ARE NO GODS IN NORTH KOREA. This is a travelogue that makes you smile, savor, chuckle and introspect. The book is not just a diary of a seasoned traveler listing her success stories but a compilation of thoughts and feelings as she encounters the world. How she has grown and changed with her travels, each trip adding to who she has become now.
People across the globe are similar yet different, each country has its own peculiar flavor. Anjaly has managed to gather them all in this collection of her travels. The best part is that all of it seems effortless as I read it. she seamlessly moves from one city to another, one challenge to another and the perfect promotion for backpacking – making it all so glamorous that I want to add it to my ‘bucket list’ and wonder that in spite of being an ‘army brat’ why I never tried it.
Travels have been an integral part of my life and I have always enjoyed it however I always felt that travel books don’t do justice to the whole experience. They just tend to show the good parts making us fall for a place, tourism advertising. In her book Anjaly does the exact opposite, she goes into the heart of the place, sharing the beautiful vistas and loneliness. How a simple fawn-colored coat changed her life. Talking about the must visit places and what we will find there, the rush, the heat, the flies and even the dangers.
Her book is an ideal book for travelers who are starting out, travelers who want to visit ‘out of the box’ places and who want an individual, different experience for their travels. She doesn’t sugarcoat the world and she doesn’t dwell on the negatives. True, no place is perfect but your experience can be if you follow her advice! And she is subtle with her hints, tips and tricks! J
Also, I too fell in love with Ms Deer. It was as if she was singing her ‘swan song’ such was the power of Anjaly’s words when she describes her. The experience of her travels in North Korea is the initial part of the book but leaves a lasting impression. Maybe because it is the real forbidden city or maybe due the stark contrast of what we take for granted, I found myself imagining how it must be to live in such a prison each day for ever. The few days Anjaly spent there are enough for me to realize not all travel is fun or for us. The impact of Anjaly’s book on a micro level is a good enough difference for those citizens of North Korea. To have their stories told and to think and talk of them will definitely make a difference. Hope they are found by real gods.
“What it did not have was people. And life. And color. Traffic jam. Noise. It was missing something essential called – People.”
An apt description of DPRK since it all was make-believe yet real.
One thing that I immediately missed was the pictures. Even though the descriptions do full justice to the travels and the photographs never truly capture the essence of a place, I felt a few could have been shared. I am a sucker for photos, no matter how bad.
The writing and the language is sassy, funny and has a good doze of humor. I enjoyed reading her experiences of Mongolia, Africa, China and Turkey, especially since she was able to find humor in tough situations. Her sense of humor adds a punch to the book as do the many tips and tricks woven into the stories as and when they helped her. And the creepy places she visited. She did manage to find one in almost every trip! Almost.
Africa has the author’s heart but that does not stop her from visiting other places and I agree with her that if we miss out on Africa we miss out on real travel. I could go on writing about the experiences she has shared and her ‘marriage’ but the real fun is reading the book.
As usual I have said too much but I must mention “Travel and Relief”. This is the final destination that must be the aim for all travelers. This book and her travels have opened the roads for many more to join in and contribute to bring relief materials to places they travel. As she said a candy or a bar of soap also makes a big difference.
I wish Anjaly happy travels and hope her tribe of ‘Relief Travelers may increase. Get in touch with her at http://travelwithanjaly.com/
Broaden your horizon – go read the book.
[Review was commissioned by the author. Views are my own. Post updated for typos and images on 28/07/2023.] Contains affiliate links.