MICE industry professionals nostalgic for international travel can take some succour from award-winning writer and CMW contributor Vitali Vitaliev, who encourages us to let our minds travel via his new publication: The Bumper Book of Vitali’s Travels. Paul Colston hops aboard…
Vitali Vitaliev is a one-man band compendium of global travel experiences and his latest book is a ‘greatest hits’ curation of his travel writing over the last 30 years.
And there are certainly passages a plenty that hit the sweet spot for those that love to experience different destinations and all they have to offer, warts and all.
Some of the most entertaining and gripping pieces of his prose are when those warts are scratched and there are journeys to the Zone in Chernobyl and fast-flowing rivers of ‘Vodka travels in the USSR’. Vitali checks in to Hotel ‘Libido’, tries Ceausescu’s Romanian plonk on his journey to Transylvania and the Land of Dracula.
There are healthy sections on Vitali’s travels Down Under (the author lived in Australia 1990-92), and plenty of wry observations on the British Isles, another of his homelands for several years.
Railways and booze are never far off the agenda (a sort of Moscow-Petushki that takes the international rather than Russian suburban route) and the reader will gather all sorts of titbits of various drinking and dining cultures from Berlin to Brighton Beach and Vienna to Verenahof.
Vitali hits many heights, including Mount Athos, and takes us down numerous valleys and to scattered island experiences, including several the reader has likely never heard of.
The book races along to more ‘Faraway Favourites’ in the shape of Old Believers in Siberia and Migrants of the Caribbean in Nevis and we cross micronations and quirky enclaves, all accompanied by weird and wonderful tales and diversions of the sublime and ridiculous.
We vicariously visit the world’s wealthiest spot (Jungholz), an Austrian village (pop.300), which has more deposited money per head than anywhere else on earth.
At a time when real-life voyages remain off limits for most, The Bumper Book of Vitali’s Travels enables anyone missing their regular MICE or ‘fam’ trips to journey through the mind and explore virtually the places that self-confessed ‘dromomaniac’ Vitaliev has visited.
At the end of the Bumper journey you will have visited literally hundreds of locations across five continents and been entertained at all stops along the way by the author’s amusing and inimitable writing style.
Other highlights include a journey around Italy in pursuit of a bad meal and ‘chasing ghosts’ as Vitali follows in the footsteps of his favourite authors.
“As a professional travel writer whose wanderlust has seen me spend most of the last 30 years on the move it would be easy to succumb to pessimism and ennui with the current restrictions on movement. However, as an experienced ‘armchair buccaneer’ I have an instrument to make confinement bearable – travels of the mind,” says Vitali Vitaliev. “The Bumper Book of Vitali’s Travels is intended to be a catalyst for readers to reminisce about their own travel experiences as well as indulge in mine.”
For a man who has travelled on so many exotic rail routes, it seems a little odd to this UK reader at least, to see the front cover photo chosen to be what looks like the rather prosaic suburban 6.15 from St Pancras to Letchworth! But I’m sure Vitali has a tale to tell about that…
The Bumper Book of Vitali’s Travels: Thirty Years of Globe-Trotting (1990-2020) is published by Thrust Books in paperback and for the Kindle through Amazon UK and Amazon US.