Tag Archives: travel book

Interview with Author Chandra Lahiri

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Purely by accident! I have always enjoyed writing the odd freelance article for a newspaper or magazine, but never even thought about writing a book – until now! I have spent over 45 years working for a variety of companies, from transnational giants like Unilever and Nivea, to small family-owned ones like the luxury perfumer Amouage. For a third of that time, I led those companies and, eventually, specialized in turning around sick companies. I have run businesses in over 40 countries around the world, dealing in a wide variety of products. However, all my life, I have had an inexplicable passion for the Native Americans, and read, researched and watched a mountain of material. Perhaps, the Great Mystery was gently preparing me, all my life, for this odyssey and the vicarious experience of re-living parts of their history, participating in their heritage. As is my habit, I made extensive notes in my diary during the trip – not least because I wrote a daily column from the road, for the leading English newspaper in the Sultanate of Oman. On my return home, I realized I had so much material that I simply had to try and turn it into a full-length book. And, I desperately wanted more people to know the real story of these remarkable people.


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2) What inspired you to write your book?

The people I met, and their story. People like Carney Saupitty, Lisa Snell, Vernell White Thunder, Peter Catches, Mark St.Pierre and so many others. Theirs is a story of quiet heroism, of fighting impossible odds to regain their identity and proud heritage, of an elemental daily struggle. I realized they, perhaps more than anyone else, deserve a voice for the unborn generations. They must never be allowed to be forgotten or marginalized, but brought into the American mainstream instead.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The thing that strikes me most powerfully is the sheer apathy (at best; frequently it is outright discrimination) of America, and the world, to them. The downright untruths of Hollywood created a fantasy savage, not even a noble one, while the media stereotypes present them as hopeless, violent, suicidal substance-abusers on miserable Reservations, subsisting on Government money. I hope my book will contribute something to showing people just how shamefully untrue and unjust this portrayal this is of a truly noble people winning small triumphs on their way to recovering their civilization from genocide. History cannot be true if written only by the victors.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Strangely, it was not a conscious choice! Looking back now, it seems some sort of cosmic Force seems to have guided my life to this experience and the decision to write about it. The whole effort is as mystifying and intriguing to me as was my completely unexplainable experience on their very sacred Bear Butte. To me, it seems to be more important than anything else to disseminate a knowledge and awareness of the Native Americans, so they are never consigned to the footnotes of history.

5) For those who aren’t as well acquainted with the history of the Native American people and their history, why do you think it’s so important to understand the history of the Native American people and what they endured during the formation of the United States? What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have from a historical standpoint from that time period and the history of the Native American tribes overall?

If even a part of humanity is destroyed, all of humanity is damaged. The creation of the United States was, without doubt, one of the greatest achievements in human history, creating the most powerful military and economic entity in just a couple of centuries, something never achieved before. While admiring the people, and effort, that made it possible, it is equally vital not to lose sight of the disastrous cost of that effort. And, above all, the fact that the genocide was, in reality, completely unnecessary.
People usually think “the West had to be won” because the “savage Indians” stood in the way of “civilization”. The truth is exactly the opposite. The Pilgrims survived only through the generosity and welcome shown them by the Wampanoag. In return, the settlers enslaved these friendly people, killed their chief, and sold his wife and children as slaves for thirty pieces of silver. In later years, the children of Native nations were forcibly removed to distant Christian schools to be “civilized” – under such terrible, abusive conditions that well over half of them actually committed suicide.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that the West was “won” through the strength of American arms. In reality, the US Army lost most battles and frequently spun massacres of defenseless civilians into stories of victorious battles. Custer is the most famous such fantasy hero. In reality, about an equal number died on both sides, despite the overwhelming superiority of firepower and manpower with the Army. What actually defeated the Native Nations was the terrible scorched earth policy of General Sherman which almost entirely wiped out the buffalo, their only source of food, shelter, weapons, occupation, toys and everything else. Starvation, not bullets, brought them to their knees.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Its early days yet, but so far I think Facebook and Instagram have been useful in getting the word out. I have also been fortunate to benefit from the massive distributive reach of Ingram. My social media links are:
www.dawnvoyager.com
www.facebook.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains
www.twitter.com/RoadPlains     
www.instagram.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains     
www.pinterest.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains 
www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcBgnPnoXltv0baXWAM8Qw/featured?view_as=public

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

This is one of the steepest mountains you will ever climb, with huge amounts of pain – but it is worth it! Don’t lose heart and bash on. If you have something worth telling, there are people out there who are keen to hear it – it’s just a hard road reaching them! The only thing to do is enjoy the ride!


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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Whew! After working on this book for well over a year, I am now going to pause for breath and see how it works out. I would, ideally, like to do another book on the same subject, as there is such a wealth of history and heritage to write about, and so many incredible misconceptions to try and uproot. Fingers crossed!

About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

Red Road Across The Great Plains By Chandra Lahiri Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Chandra Lahiri takes readers on a journey through the history of the Native American people and showcases both sides of that history in an honest and incredible way in the novel “Red Road Across The Great Plains”. 


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The Synopsis

A life-changing solo voyage of discovery across the blood-soaked Great Plains. A pilgrimage to momentous sites of Native American heritage. Meet the amazing “invisible warriors” fighting impossible odds to reclaim their heritage and share in the American Dream without losing their unique identity, much as their ancestors fought on the battlefields to save their way of life.

Nurturing a half-century obsession with Native America and the Old Frontier, this now-retired corporate CEO takes the reader along on his astonishing solo road-trip through haunting places of intense tragedy and stunning triumphs, through Native American spiritual experiences that shook the atheist in him, plunging into the rough and tumble worlds that were Deadwood and Dodge City, chuckling gently over modern American idiosyncrasies. Neither a “white historian” nor a “red commentator,” he visits both sides of the Native American experience and, in the most depressed Native Reservations, discovers exciting sparks of a brighter, more hopeful future emerging – a very different take on the usual Reservation stereotypes and stories of misery. This is an unusual and enthralling odyssey effortlessly plaiting space and time, easy to read, without pompous sermonizing.


The Review

Part history, part travel, author Chandra Lahiri’s novel does an amazing  job of creating a narrative that showcases the authors real life journey to these iconic, historic and sometimes tragic locations in the West and Mid-Western United States. The evenly paced read delved deeply into the violent, heartbreaking and blood-soaked history of the Native American tribes and the impact on both their culture and the white settlers as they expanded their territory further and further westward. 

From the genocide that was the Trail of Tears to the Civil War and more, the author lays out the history behind the Native American people and highlights the struggles they endured. However this history is broken up naturally by the travel aspect of the author’s journey, showcasing the modern day experiences the author had while seeing first hand the locations and the history of the United States as it settled westward. 

The novel is expertly written, with a voice and tone that speaks of personal experiences the author had on this trip with historic facts that are both known and tragically some that are overlooked or forgotten, for as the author points out in the book, history is written by the victors, but often history is only half true or inaccurate if only written by the victors. 


The Verdict

This was a brutally honest, emotional and well written historical/travel novel. An even mix of historical research, graphs and statistics that really put the history of the Native American people and culture into perspective, with the natural observations and personal stories brought to life while on a life-changing trip like the one the author experienced, this novel has something for everyone, and is not to be missed. So if you are a fan of travel stories or are just a major history buff like myself and want to experience the emotional journey of the Native American tribes of the United States, then be sure to grab your copy of author Chandra Lahiri’s “Red Road Across The Great Plains” today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

Chuck Life’s A Trip: A Work Of Fiction Based On Actual Events by Hans Joseph Fellmann Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A group of friends seeking the thrill of travel take on the ultimate travel challenge, and end up challenging their friendship in the process in author Hans Joseph Fellmann’s “Chuck Life’s A Trip: A Work of Fiction Based On Actual Events”. 

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The Synopsis

Seven childhood buddies from L-town California set off on a trip around the globe that could cinch or crush their friendship.

Johann Felmanstien and his crew have a bond that Russian criminals would be jealous of. Besides just being homies from the same hood, they have their own dialect crafted to conceal talk of their rank activities, their own pseudo-culture packed with mad rites, and their own way of life born of booze, drugs, sex and travel to some of the sickest places on earth. They’re about to embark on their biggest journey to date; an 85-day trek across three continents, designed to cement their bond for good. Will it go down like that? Or will the trip meant to make them blood-brothers bust them all apart?


The Review

This was a well crafted, original and unique read that blended real world experiences into a creative story. While Johann and his crew are not the most politically correct group of guys, the test of friendship allows readers to see beyond that aspect of themselves and instead see the bond that these friends have formed through time and experiences, and how this trip challenged them in every way possible. 

The story is a fantastic way to explore the world of traveling and exploration, while creating engaging personal stories and experiences that keep the reader invested in the character’s journey and adventures. Infused with raunchy humor, the bonds of friendship and a thirst for exploration, this is a story that will resonate with a lot of readers.


The Verdict

Overall this is a must read travel/adventure novel! A blend of American Pie meets Around the World In 80 Days, the story is well written and evenly paced enough to keep readers invested in the story as each chapter passes. It’s a thrilling read that audiences don’t want to miss out on, so be sure to grab your copy of “Chuck Life’s A Trip” by Hans Joseph Fellmann today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Hans Joseph Fellmann currently lives between Prague, where he teaches to keep the lights on and writes to keep from going nuts, and Livermore in Northern California, where his funky little ass grew up. During the last twenty years, Hans has been tiptoeing the globe and scribbling it all down. To date, he has visited over eighty countries on six continents, and he continues to “blow it up” each summer.

By the skin of his teeth, Hans earned a BA degree from the University of California at San Diego in International Studies, with an emphasis on the Middle East. His articles and short stories have appeared (albeit not magically) in the UCSD Guardian, the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Prague Revue. To improve his craft, and to buy his folks keychains so they could claim their son went to grad school, he attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2013.

His first novel “Chuck Life’s a Trip,” which is based on a trip he took around the world with his childhood buddies in 2006, is now available on Amazon. He recently completed a second semi-autobiographical novel which he is “polishing.” It is about his pants-on-the-head-crazy experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan.

In his spare time, Hans likes to study languages, the more obscure the better. He speaks ten, including Czech, Turkmen, Farsi and Spanish, with varying degrees of proficiency. He is also a huge geography and book nerd. When he’s not backpacking where he shouldn’t be or rattling off in some foreign tongue, he’s got his eyes crawling over a map of a long-forgotten Central Asian republic, or his nose buried deep in a book by a fellow B.A.M.F.

https://amzn.to/2Ox8f6b

Wanderlost 5: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

It’s the final chapter of this hilarious and personal series of travel novels for author Simon Williams with the release of Wanderlost 5: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul. Let’s take a look at the synopsis:

The Synopsis

From being stalked by muggers on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, to absent-mindedly insulting a FIFA World Footballer of the Year while at lunch, to almost getting a divorce over ordering an UBER to the airport, what else can go wrong on a trip?

These are one man’s riveting stories of wandering our planet that the staff at Lonely Planet doesn’t want you to know. Simon explains exactly what not to do when you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Nobody travels like this anymore. Maybe for good reason. Simon Williams doesn’t go looking for trouble in life, but when he finds it he never keeps his sarcastic mouth shut.

Travelling – it leaves you speechless then turns you into story tellers. Ibn Battuta 

The Review

From unexpectedly having to bribe your way into another country, to language barriers causing awkward situations at a religious retreat and having to manage himself and his various family members as they endure Hurricane Irma, author Simon Williams final chapter in the series brings the same level of sarcasm and wit into the amazing stories of his life. The vivid imagery presented throughout each story created the scenarios in the reader’s mind perfectly, making it seem as if they themselves lived these funny and unbelievable situations themselves.

The author does a wonderful job of blending his unique sense of humor with pop culture references, political jabs and a no nonsense attitude that is rare in travel books these days. It’s a fast paced read that doesn’t relent, and readers will absolutely love this final book in an amazing series.

The Verdict

Overall I love this book. It’s a great way to end a five book travel series filled with incredible adventures, unique interactions and so much more. If you read one travel series or book this year, let it be author Simon Williams and his novel Wanderlost 5: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul. Grab your copies today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Wanderlost-More-Shots-Literary-Tequila-ebook/dp/B07GN65ZNH/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540269045&sr=1-1&keywords=9780463480243

About the Author

16480199

If sarcasm was your acceptable daily allowance of protein, then author Simon Williams would be a juicy 12-ounce steak sandwiched between two pieces of red meat. In a recent Facebook posting of the 37 things people regret when they die, there was only one item he hadn’t done. Let go of a grudge, but he doesn’t regret it.

Born in Townsville, Queensland Simon now lives in Miami, Florida. He always wanted to see the world and still harbours a strong desire to visit Cambodia, Ceylon, and Leningrad, but is buggered if he can find where they are on a map. He has spent half his life having to tell Americans that he grew up near Sydney, as most of them have no idea that Australia has another city.

He found out how much he enjoyed writing when his 10th grade English teacher told him that he was lazy, so he wrote a 25-page story for his next essay just to annoy him. That is coincidentally when he found out he liked to shit stir people. His sense of humor was developed over 8 years of boarding school. As a way of both evading having the crap between out of him, while also dealing with being a smart boy who sat at the back of the class but who couldn’t see the board because he refused to wear his glasses.

His favourite pastime is trolling his mates on Facebook and taking the piss out of them. He has only been unfriended twice, on both occasions by his wife.

Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Strap in and get ready for another hilarious, unbelievable journey into the life of author Simon Williams in the third book in his travel series, Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

From being dragged from an icy river on a white-water rafting trip in Nepal, to going headfirst over the handlebars of a moped in the Greek Isles, to struggling to understand the complexities of the bar fine system of a Thailand whorehouse, what else can go wrong on a trip? 

These are one man’s engrossing stories of wandering our planet that the editor at Frommer’s Guides doesn’t want you to know. Simon explains exactly what not to do when you find yourself in a tricky situation.

Nobody travels like this anymore. Maybe for good reason. Simon Williams doesn’t go looking for trouble in life, but when he finds it he never keeps his sarcastic mouth shut.

Travelling – it leaves you speechless then turns you into story tellers. Ibn Battuta

The Review

Author Simon Williams continues to dazzle and amuse readers with tales that seems impossible to be true. From an unplanned trip to the Taj Mahal that nearly drives the author over the edge to losing friends in Northern Ireland and even hilarious experiences watching passengers in airport terminals, this story has it all.

The author does a marvelous job painting a picture of the world through his eyes, bringing much needed humor and wit to normally stressful and awkward situations travelers have to endure around the world. The language and custom barrier between cultures can lead to unexpected outcomes when traveling abroad, and having a sense of humor about it can help ease the misunderstandings that are bound to happen. The author perfectly brings this imagery to life to showcase the situations one encounters during a life of travel.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this book. It continues an already exciting series of novels that explore one author’s journey in a funny and unique way. Filled with laughter, amazing looks from around the world and a steady dose of sarcasm and wit, this is the travel series you need to be reading now. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Simon Williams Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Wanderlost-Shots-Literary-Tequila-Restless-ebook/dp/B07GN19GZB/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539657676&sr=1-1&keywords=9780463648001

About the Author

16480199

If sarcasm was your acceptable daily allowance of protein, then author Simon Williams would be a juicy 12-ounce steak sandwiched between two pieces of red meat. In a recent Facebook posting of the 37 things people regret when they die, there was only one item he hadn’t done. Let go of a grudge, but he doesn’t regret it.

Born in Townsville, Queensland Simon now lives in Miami, Florida. He always wanted to see the world and still harbours a strong desire to visit Cambodia, Ceylon, and Leningrad, but is buggered if he can find where they are on a map. He has spent half his life having to tell Americans that he grew up near Sydney, as most of them have no idea that Australia has another city.

He found out how much he enjoyed writing when his 10th grade English teacher told him that he was lazy, so he wrote a 25-page story for his next essay just to annoy him. That is coincidentally when he found out he liked to shit stir people. His sense of humor was developed over 8 years of boarding school. As a way of both evading having the crap between out of him, while also dealing with being a smart boy who sat at the back of the class but who couldn’t see the board because he refused to wear his glasses.

His favourite pastime is trolling his mates on Facebook and taking the piss out of them. He has only been unfriended twice, on both occasions by his wife.

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl Review

Travel can be fun. It can be a step onto the road of self discovery. It can also be a scary road filled with self doubt and financial woes. Trying to go into the world of travel and live your life on the road can be a daunting task, and yet in Gregory V. Diehl’s novel Travel as Transformation, you get to see first hand the trials, tribulations and wonders that travel can offer you, and how you can get started today. Here is the synopsis:

A daring, intelligent, and unapologetic call to find yourself in wanderlust.
When you travel to a foreign place, do you experience this new life as your old self? Or do you become a new self?

From living in a van on the streets of San Diego, to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa, bestselling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path. Leaving his home in California as a teenager, he went on to live and work in 45 countries across the globe by age 28. In Travel as Transformation, he uses his diverse cultural experiences as a world traveler to ask the reader to question how their identity has been shaped by the lifestyle they live.

As you delve into Travel as Transformation, you will learn how travel can profoundly influence your perception of yourself. Diehl teaches aspiring travelers to let go of their internal inhibitions and former sense of self. He shares his own moving experiences of transformation across Costa Rica, China, Morocco, Armenia, Iraq, Monaco, Ecuador, and more to encourage travelers to embrace change. He takes the reader on a nomadic journey that examines all of humanity through unbiased eyes.

To travel with a truly open mind is to forget who you were when you started. It is to be constantly born anew, and identify with ways you did not know others could exist. What affirms you most? What would it take to destroy you? Travel as Transformation will give you the wisdom, the inspiration, and the resources to conquer the limitations of your home culture. It’s time to take advantage of everything the world has to offer and become everything you can be.

This was an incredibly powerful book. Filled to the brim with insight and wonder, this book did an excellent job of highlighting the highs and lows of travel. As someone who is interested in travel, it was interesting to see the way the author approached the subject, diving into the differences in cultures, political and societal divides between nations and the impact travel has on you as a person. It allowed me to see what I want for myself in the future and embrace the idea of change.

A book with heart, emotion and a sense of excitement, Travel as Transformation was a fantastic read that will speak to the inner traveler in all of us. A fast yet evenly paced read, author Gregory V. Diehl does an amazing job of showing the paths we take both externally and internally as we step out of our comfort zone and embrace new and unknown adventures. If you are a budding travel enthusiast, be sure to pick up your copies today!

Rating: 10/10