Hello everyone. It gives me great pleasure to host author Robert Fear today on his RRBC Spotlight tour! Take it away, Robert … 🙂
Travel Stories and Highlights
While working on the second edition of Fred’s Diary 1981, I started a blog in February 2015 to assist me with the editing process. Exactly 35 years later, to the day, I published an edited version of each day’s entry. This ran for 158 days from February through to July and coincidentally the days of the week were the same as when I originally wrote the diary.
To encourage people to visit the blog fd81.net I started a Travel Story competition, with prizes, for entries of between 500-1000 words and ran this in parallel with the daily diary extracts. There was a very encouraging response and in all there were thirty entries from a range of well-known authors to first time writers.
I then decided to publish all the entries in a new book called Travel Stories and Highlights. After getting permission from all the contributors I started compiling the book and it was published late in 2015.
Last year I re-ran the two competitions. Again, there were a lot of fantastic entries and a 2017 Edition of Travel Stories and Highlights was published in December 2016 with the best 50 travel stories and 50 highlights from both sets of competitions.
To give you a flavour of the book, here are five of the Travel Highlights (50-100 words):
The First Tapa Is All It Takes!
by Bob Manning
Hesitating at the door; Stopped in my tracks by the bedlam within.
I peered through the smog.
The congested bar stretched into inconspicuousness.
Sinister and sublime.
Pinpointing a space amongst the revelers, I cut through the sultry atmosphere, kickin-up the debris of discarded delights.
I clung to the glutinous counter.
The barman’s raised eyebrows questioned me.
“Caña” I smiled.
With brutal efficiency he slopped a small beer in front of me, whilst summoning “the first”.
Indeed it was.
An old crone delivered a small plate of orange gunge. Temptingly dangerous.
“Foreigner” she spat.
The air thickened.
by Shirley Ledlie
As I snorkelled alone in the warm Gulf of Aquaba, I was transported to a different world. It was easy to lose track of time and I soon found myself at the drop-off ridge.
I’ll watch this shoal of fish for a few minutes and then I’ll head back. With a blink of an eye they vanished!
What’s frightened them? My blood ran cold, I felt alone.
Effortlessly gliding up behind me, the reef shark returned my stare. He stopped in front of me.
This is it.
Then, with a flick of his tail, he was gone, shooting off into the abyss.
France in the Mist
by Beth Haslam
Exploring a lane flanked by late sunflowers, all blanketed in thick rolling mist. Noises deadened, flower heads sodden, quiet, still, so still.
Ahead, an ancient hamlet enveloped in the grey, nestled between woods and open flatland.
Fragmented baying of hounds boom in the eerie distance.
I start in shock.
A terrified wild boar, prehistoric-like form, tusks, pelt, stink, breaks cover and claims sanctuary in the woods below.
The hounds, close now, indefinable in colour and shape, men with guns, whips and curses. The mist conceals all and they are gone.
France, still medieval, frozen in a preternatural moment in time.
by Frank Kusy
At 8.46am on January 26th 2001, I was shaken out of my bed in India by what I assumed to be a super-loud banging at my door.
I was so incensed, I stormed to the door, grabbed the person standing outside, and blindly shook him. ‘It’s taken me hours to get to sleep!’ I shouted. ‘Bog off and leave me alone!’
Two hours later, I found the hotel manager, Mr Singh, cowering behind his desk in terror.
‘What are you doing down there?’ I asked him, and he said, ‘Big earthquake this morning. Whole hotel is shaking. No more attack, please!’
Off the Rails
by Tony James Slater
I sprinted down the platform, ignoring all sounds of pursuit.
The train was like something from 1970’s Britain, only daubed with indecipherable Chinese characters. The air was hot and spicy.
I swung into my carriage with one thought: Must Reach My Wife.
She was already aboard; if it left without me we’d be completely adrift, separated by a thousand miles of deepest China.
“Thank God!” she said, “I was so worried!”
“Yeah,” I panted, “but we have a problem…”
Her eyes widened as she saw the policemen forcing their way down the carriage towards me. All were carrying machine guns.
Travel Stories and Highlights: 2017 Edition – getBook.at/TravelStories
This year I am running both competitions for the third time. The 2017 Travel Story Competition finishes on July 31st. The 2017 Travel Highlights Competition will run from mid-September until mid-November 2017. For more details check out this blog page: fd81.net/competition
Born in Leicester, UK in 1955, Robert’s family moved to Surrey when he was 11. He was educated at Reigate Grammar School. After this he worked at a bank in London for several years before getting the travel bug. Fred, a nickname he got at school, stuck throughout his travels and has remained with him to this day. His travels took him to Ibiza for the summer of 1977, hitch-hiking around Europe in 1978 and the USA and Canada in 1979. During this time he also settled and worked in Germany. Fred’s Diary 1981 was written during the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia.
These days Robert is happily settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex where he lives with his wife and three cats. He works as a software consultant and has been able to combine work with some travel during the past fifteen years, having visited countries as far apart as Australia, Singapore, Ghana and Suriname.
Facebook – @fredsdiary1981
Twitter Handle – @fredsdiary1981
Website – http://www.fd81.net/
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Fred’s Diary 1981 getBook.at/FredsDiary1981
Travel Stories and Highlights getBook.at/TravelStories
Exclusive Pedigree getBook.at/ExclusivePedigree
Robert’s other tour stops can be found HERE. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂