Book Recommendation: Dark Lands

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If you are like me and thoroughly enjoy traveling off the beaten path, and is interested in the ‘dark corners’ of the world with their rich and complicated history, then you should definitely read Tony Wheeler’s book called ‘Dark Lands’!

In the book you follow his journey through Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Israel, Palestine, Nauru, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. All countries have their troubles, Tony Wheeler explores these particular countries and how they have landed themselves in the mess they are currently in.

For me this book is very interesting as I am very fascinated by a number of countries people do not usually see as a suitable travel destination. I’m just so curious about how everyday life is in places where a Norwegian girl like me cannot really imagine one. Take Palestine for example, which Tony Wheeler has dedicated a whole chapter in the book to, I travelled there myself exactly because it was so different, scary and fascinating. Of course my reason for traveling there was also because I am very passionate about the Palestinians people’s struggles. Anyhow, it was so funny to read about some of the authors’ experiences, which were quite similar to mine. There was for example an incident in which some children threw stones at him, in a case of mistaken identity – which also happened to me, only with a butter knife instead of a stone, and the culprit being probably around 4 years old and standing on the top of a roof. This is something that must seem very strange and peculiar to most people, but I laughed while reading it as it was just so recognizable. The children in the refugee camps are not always so welcoming towards outsiders, as they are living in such a polarized and oppressive situation – and they can sometimes mistake you for a settler.

The other chapters on the different countries were also very engaging. For example, I did not know anything about Nauru before reading this book, and I was absolutely perplexed at their history and current state. Did you know they used to have one of the highest standards of living in the world? And that now there is a 90% unemployment rate there? I mean how is it even possible. The story of Nauru’s rise and fall is really an intriguing and absolutely absurd story!

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this book! If you have some of the same fascinations as me, chances are you will too!

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