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Thursday
Apr212011

Launching My Belize Travel Journal

It's good to finally get this off the ground.  Ever since coming back from Belize I've been promising that I'll write up my travel journal.  Now, finally, I've made a start.  Over the last few days, I've made an initial couple of entries, and these can now be accessed by clicking BELIZE to read the journal of my Belize trip.

It was an extraordinary trip. I’d long been aware that the gap year experience had engendered little, if any, fiction for the young adult market.  Yet it was an important rite of passage which appeared to change many people’s lives.  It was also a controversial one, and in February 2008, supported by the Arts Council and the Authors’ Foundation, I set out to see for myself what difference or otherwise volunteer work overseas actually made, not just to the young people concerned, but to their host countries too.

Trekking in Belize’s Chiquibul Forest was without doubt the most challenging thing I’d ever done, but it was worth it to see with my own eyes the tragedy of destruction that’s taking place there, and the efforts which were being made by young volunteers, many straight from school, to stem the tide.  I was so proud of the volunteers I met out there, and all they were achieving.  The forest was fabulous - as indeed was the whole of Belize, with its great natural beauty, wonderful people and cultural diversity - and I returned home to the UK determined that my novel, 'In the Trees', would do justice to all I’d seen.

That the young people I met succeeded in making a difference is beyond dispute. In his commendation of  ‘In the Trees’, Rafael Manzanero, Head of Belize’s Friends of Conservation & Development - whom I met in the forest, whilst crossing the ominously-named ’Devil’s Backbone’ - writes, ‘We are strong believers that everyone can make a difference to protect wilderness areas. It is not only moral to do so, but the survival of forests will make the planet a better place for human life. Perhaps recognizing that reality, and being a part of that change, is what makes such a change to the lives of gap volunteers. The novel In the Trees’,  brings out this spirit of change.  I hope that as you read it you will be motivated to realize the changes that people like you can make on our Earth, even though we might all seem to be worlds apart.’  

What I'm aiming to do here is take you on the journey behind the book.  Follow my journal entries and you'll meet Rafael [and the Belizean army] in the depths of the Chiquibul Forest; George the Jamaican hustling on the streets of Belize City; Sully, Greg, Jen, Snow, Alex and all the other gap year volunteers that I met at Rio Blanco; Pablo and his family in their Kekchi-Mayan village in Toledo District; my son, Idris, and I as we bus, trek, hike and even [occasionally] fly around Belize trying to get under its skin and figure out what makes the country tick.  You'll hear Lucky Dube [if I can set up the link] and the legendary and completely marvelous Paul Nabor, whose cameo role in 'In the Trees' was - for me personally - one of the highlights of the book.  I don't have a sound track of howler monkeys, I'm afraid, but I can tell you about them instead, and bring you all the other sights and smells as well.  

I don't know long this is going take, but it's all there in my battered, water-logged journal and you can trust to me - I'll get it all written up in the end.    

 

Reader Comments (1)

hi good site thanks for sharing .

November 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIndia Tours

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