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Travel as it was before Covid cut a swathe

Paul Jan 22
Paul Oates - experiences interesting, educational and humorous


Around the World BC (Before Covid) by Paul Oates, Independently Published, 2022, paperback, lavishly illustrated, 427 pages, AU$50.47. ISBN 979-8413290927. Available here from Amazon Australia

TUMBY BAY - There is little doubt that the world has been irrevocably changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The forlorn hope that we might return to some sort of pre-pandemic normalcy is at best overly optimistic.

There will be things that we once enjoyed and took for granted that will now be impractical if not impossible. We may now only be able to look back on those things with longing and nostalgia.

One of those things will be unimpeded travel. Something many Australians hold dear to their hearts.

As young adults travel was always regarded as a rite of passage. Exposure to other places and other cultures and their formative effects has a lot to do with the Australian ethos.

That travel is a liberalising experience becomes abundantly apparent when we compare ourselves to the many Americans who are isolated and ignorant of the world beyond their shores, an illiteracy about life and other people that causes the world many problems.

As older adults drifting into retirement travel can be a culminating indulgence. Instead of backpacking across Asia and Europe we can opt for the luxury of cruise ships and guided tours.

For those who can afford it and are so inclined, a good life, even a hard life, can be topped off by a world cruise as an affirmation of Australian spirit and difference.

Fitz - Around the World C CoverThis is what Paul Oates’ latest book is all about. It is ready made nostalgia.

In that sense, its publishing demanded lavish presentation and Around the World BC, a clever title, meets that requirement.

There’s wall to wall colour on nearly every page interspersed with scintillating commentary and fascinating history, all delivered with an erudite and dry Aussie humour.

Getting it down to 427 pages and only the best photographs was no mean feat.

The text has been tightened to absolute pertinence and I feel sure that dozens of discarded colour photographs still litter the study floor.

Thus have the decade long wanderings of Paul and his wife Sue through Asia, Europe and the USA been distilled into one volume.

It is a book for readers to mull over and maybe compare with their own adventures. And perhaps to wonder what might have been had Covid not arrived to thwart our plans.

The Oates’ travels and experiences are interesting, educational and often humorous.

They impart a realistic view of the places they visited before Covid cut its swathe and turned the world upside down.

Paul has variously been a patrol officer in Papua New Guinea, a senior public servant in Australia, an administrator in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and a cattle farmer in Queensland. He is now retired.

This is his fourth book about his work and life and all have proved popular with readers.

His others are ‘Small Steps Along the Way’ (PNG), ‘Life on a Coral Atoll: Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ and ‘Phascogales and Other Tales: A Queensland Tree Change’.

If you are thinking of throwing caution to the wind and travelling overseas sometime soon, this latest book is a must-have.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

I can't possibly imagine how anyone could sell 3,000 books about Aussie Rules football, Richard, maybe a couple of hundred at best. Still, you never know, there are some strange people out there.

Your friend and historian Paul Daffey should try KDP publishing.

Paul Oates' book has been uploaded on the Amazon website for absolutely no cost and he can now order as many print-on-demand copies to sell or supply to retailers at the cost of printing.

The onus is on him to market and sell the book but being on Amazon it is available worldwide.

He doesn't have to stockpile copies because it is always there to order printed whenever he wants extra copies for sale.

We kept the retail price at the bare minimum so no royalties accrue, but if we had priced it a little higher they would flow too.

His book is in full colour and, if we had chosen, could have been in hardback.

Amazon KDP is essentially a printer and distributor of books rather than a publisher. The publisher in the equation is actually the author of the book.

It is a system used by many authors including luminaries like Stephen King and is distinguished from the old rip-off vanity publishers by the economics.

The only drawback is that by using KDP Amazon we are feeding into the Bezos bank account but like much in life these days one has to accept the inevitable.

There are some young blokes running around shouting at each other on the Tumby Bay oval so I presume they are gearing up for the silly ball season.

Good luck to them if it keeps them amused I guess.

Harry Topham

Maybe with Paul's old PNG connections the title should read B4C. That rather enigmatic title certainly would be a attention grabber.

Richard E Jones

Phil, I wish Paul all the very best in his sales of the book.

Do the strictures of my Aussie Rules footy historian Paul Daffey apply? You must sell 3,000 copies of a hardcover book to start to make a profit. Dunno what publishing guidelines Paul Oates followed.

And on borders re-opening so we'll all be able to fly off into the beautiful blue sky. I'm saying flying --- I have no desire whatever to step aboard a cruise ship ever again.

We did that in Vancouver in late 2019 on an eight-day cruise up the Canadian coast to Alaska. Fortunately 2 or 3 days were spent in cruising solely - no organised stops in little tourist trap towns, or townlets.

One trip was quite enough although Happy Hour on a top deck bar for our regular gin and tonics was welcome.

And on your own little hamlet, Phil. You must be getting ready for the start of the Tumby Bay Blues 2022 campaign in the Great Flinders Footy League.

I can't wait until the Bendigo Footy and Netball League re-starts for season 2022.

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