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Running Away to Sea
Round the World on a Tramp Freighter
2nd edition
By (author): George Fetherling
9781550028539 Paperback, Trade English General Trade TRAVEL / Essays & Travelogues Europe Dec 15, 2008
$24.99 CAD
Active 5 x 8 x 0.63 in | 300 gr 240 pages Dundurn

At a turning point in his life, George Fetherling embarked on an adventure to sail round the world on one of the last of the tramp freighters. The four-month voyage carried him 30,000 nautical miles from Europe via the Panama Canal to the South Pacific and back by way of Singapore, Indonesia, the Indian Ocean, and Suez.

Written with dash, colour, and droll humour, Fetherling’s narrative is peopled by a rich cast of characters, from the Foreign Legionnaires of French Polynesia to the raskol gangs of Papua New Guinea. The author captures the reality of life aboard a working cargo ship – the boredom, the seclusion, the differences of nationality and culture that isolation and cramped quarters seem to exaggerate. But the routine of loneliness or tranquility is punctuated by moments of near-panic – shipboard fires, furniture-smashing storms, even a brush with pirates in the Straits of Malacca.

George Fetherling is a poet, writer, editor, and teacher who has published more than 50 books, including the novel Jericho, the travel memoir Three Pagodas Pass, and the celebrated memoir Travels by Night. He lives in Vancouver.

"His memoir of the voyage has a large, colourful cast of characters, and nicely captures the shipboard feeling of tranquil loneliness punctuated by panicky emergencies."

- Jack Kirchhoff, Globe & Mail, The

"Fetherling fashions nuanced descriptions of a seen-better-days ship, raggedy yet competent crew, screwball fellow passengers, and benign, dangerous and somewhere-in-between Third World ports of call. Yet his writing never tipples over into loading on the minutiae. (Often fatal to the pace of a travel narrative.) A similar deft balance surfaces at each new port of call. In just the right measure he blends his eyewitness rambles with historical and political background, or geological and topographical summaries, or both. The result is a highly intelligent chronicle, but delivered in an accessible and spiritedly personal way."

- Winnipeg Free Press

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