Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Review: Whatever Comes My Way by Robert Geass

Genre: Travel Memoir


In the preface the author explains the book this way:

“I'd finally quit New York and now found myself in the Low Countries, unsure what to do with my life. I was a writer/photographer and liked to travel so, why not take a close look at the Netherlands, I thought, but do it with a difference — be my iconoclastic self. Beyond the stereotypes of windmills, tulips and wooden clogs ... not just Amsterdam ... get off the beaten track.I had long welcomed oddities, strangeness, eccentricities, the absurd; I was open to life's darker face. And appreciated the arts and historical context. I was beyond an observer when it came to drinking, which I considered inherent to my lifestyle. I wasn't hooked on accepted wisdom. My biases were real, though I tried to test them against common sense. I didn't like the bourgeois, common life, though its practitioners could interest, if not amuse me. I liked to laugh. Tossing all that into the mix, I set out, on a series of wanderings, open to whatever came my way.”


Born in Connecticut and a long-time resident of New York City, Roger Gaess is a longtime freelance journalist and photographer. Gaess currently lives in Brussels, Belgium. For more, check out his website.


People travel for different reasons. Assuming personal (as opposed to business) travel, it might be to see something or someone specific (Disneyland or cousin Joe). It might be to get a change, even if just temporary, in climate like those snowbirds from the north hanging out, whether for a few days or a few months, in southern Arizona or on the Gulf Coast in winter. We might travel somewhere because it is scenic, ideal for an activity we like, or because something specific is going on that we want to attend or participate in. Nothing wrong with any of those reasons. Maybe you can come up with others.

The author of this book had another reason. I’d call it for purposes of discovery. Near the end of the book he says “unfamiliarity is, for me, the facilitating crux of travel.” My interpretation of that is to discover what the place you’re traveling to is like for those who live there and compare that to your home or other places you’re familiar with. That doesn’t mean that you don’t visit the tourist traps that appeal to you, but that you don’t limit yourself to them. Sure, you might drop in to Disneyland or Sea World, but to really discover Southern California you should spend time walking the streets of San Diego, hit the mall in Anaheim, or hang out at a bar in Oceanside. This was the approach the author of this book took. Yes, he did research on each area and came up with things he wanted to be sure to do, but he also hung out with the locals and recognized that to some degree, the journey is the reward. Since I tend to approach travel the same way, I found reading about someone else doing the same entertaining.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK


A small amount of adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words