Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield surveys another week in travel
END OF THE ROAD
It is with sadness that I write about the sudden death of Tony Evans, a director of Perth company Travel Directors, and an innovative tour designer. A Travel Directors spokesperson says Tony’s passion was immersing people in cultures and experiences, to understand the difference, yet similarity, of human beings around the world. “The world was his workplace, and he made friends wherever he went. Tony was the heart and soul of Travel Directors, and we will miss him more than words can say. He was proud of his company and the unique tours he created.”
For many of our readers, Tony (in his trademark blue jeans and white trainers, shirt sleeves pushed up) was a guru — a teacher of the world. They will be heartbroken. I travelled with Tony in Georgia, Armenia and Russia, the Five Stans of Central Asia and China, Tibet and Nepal, and Madagascar, Ethiopia and Rwanda. We were friends, with a lot of common beliefs about culture and community ... oh, and a love of motorcycles. We rode together in Africa, and we rode Royal Enfields from Llasa in Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal. The morning briefing to our motorcycling travel companions invariably went: “Just remember, this isn’t a race.” Yeah, right.
Tony was always first and fastest off the line.
STILL WITH US
And I’m both sad and happy to write about the departure of Will Yeoman from our little Travel team. Will has taken up the role of chief executive of Writing WA (happily), and we’ll miss him (sadly). Having said that, as you read this, I’m in New Norcia with Will, Mogens Johansen, Christine Sutherland and other members of our extended Travel family for our readers’ writing and photography weekend. (You can leave a team, but you can’t leave a family.)
Having just returned from Africa (and England before that), I flew up to Kununurra on Tuesday (direct with Air North in two hours, 55 minutes) and back direct with Virgin Australia (three hours, 35 minutes, even though it’s downhill) on Friday. I was there for the opening of a new walk trail and the Purnululu Visitor Centre.
ANOTHER OLD FRIEND
Kununurra is rather like an old friend, too. Goodness knows how much time I’ve spent here. I set two novels in this part of the Kimberley (Other Country and As the River Runs), brought Virginia here on our honeymoon. Flying in in the late light, the undulating landscape below seems as familiar to me as a reclining body with a soft, gold-and-green sheet draped across it. Yes, landscape can be a vital and familiar character in our lives.
BLACK & WHITE
Readers Mike and Pam Allen noticed my mention last week of The Royal Livingstone hotel, on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia, where I’ve just been. (So many parts of southern Africa feel like the Kimberley, but with seriously impressive animals.) I mentioned zebras grazing on the lawn, by the swimming pool. It reminded them of an experience there a few years ago. Mike says they were walking on the manicured lawns on a sunny afternoon when they spotted a herd of 15 zebras galloping away, about 150m in the distance. Mike takes up the story: “Something must have spooked them, as they did a complete turn and started to stampede towards us.” Mike and Pam ducked behind a palm tree and felt the wind in their faces as the herd passed a few metres away. Mike adds: “We have always loved travelling in Africa and continue to expect the unexpected.”
OLD & GOLD
... and seeing as you’re reading this, it’s worth repeating a classic. What’s black and white and red all over? It’s ... a newspaper. (Red as in read.)
A BIG THANKS
And, seeing as I’m spending my weekend with readers, here’s the final word from another, Janie Jones. She writes “I travel the world with you weekly”. She adds: “I get Saturday’s West delivered to me in Geraldton, skim the rest and devour the Travel section. I have actually been to some places as a direct result of reading your articles, Stephen — case in point being a trip I was doing to Kathmandu a few years ago.
I took a seven-hour bus trip, narrowly avoiding landslides to go to Pokhara and the Peace Stupa after reading about it one Saturday. So glad I did too; loved Pokhara.” Our recent story on Curacao, prompted memories of a fairly recent trip to New Orleans, a friend’s wedding in Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Curacao, St Maarten, Dominica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Bogota, then Oaxaca, Mexico. As Janie says: “What a trip! Please keep travelling with Casey and giving me more inspiration!”
Indeed I will. But I’m pleased to report that Casey, my faithful suitcase, is not here with me in Kununurra. All the dust! All these disgusting cane toads! I’m here with my far more amenable carry-on, Justin Case — truculent Casey is at home, resting in peace, looking forward to an upcoming nice hotel in Norway.