In A New Day Dawns Terry Lister takes readers through his day-to-day adventure on his excursion to West Africa. Terry visits Sierra Leon, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana over several weeks’ time. While visiting these countries in West Africa we learn about some of their history, challenges the people have there, and get a good look into the daily life of living in this part of the world. Terry talks a lot about how areas were settled by former slaves that made their way back to Africa. He visits many of the first settlements and churches. Readers learn the history of the buildings and how they compare to other structures in the area. This book is like reading a walking tour of the region.
This interesting travel memoir is relatively short, only 182 pages. In it Lister includes photos he took and maps of the region. There is a heavy focus on traveling from one place to another. Lister compares the experience to that of Bermuda, which is his home, a few times. Parts of the book read like a Yelp review, other parts read like a cautionary tail of what to avoid at all costs. The photos of the churches and other landmarks were nice. Although they were not professional photographs, some were blurry and hard to figure out what they were, but this added to the feel that you are reading a personal diary of the trip, not a book intended to give in depth information on the area. This casual style is engaging and leaves you wanting to know more about what the experience would be for the average traveler, not someone on a paid tour, or someone looking to write for a travel magazine. It was all very real and down to earth.
I found myself laughing at times over the travel arrangements he endured while also being horrified. His experience with the health officer to enter Libera was one such situation. You hear of corruption but having someone document it so bluntly is different than the word-of-mouth stories you come across. I believe there were times that Lister feared for his life on some of the roads, or in his dealings with some of the tour guides that he ended up with. This is not a trip for people accustomed to fun and easy travel. This is however a great description for those looking to travel through history, to see how the slaves that made it back to Africa turned their freedom into a new life. Terry Lister also gives readers a clear image of what to expect when haggling with locals on prices for rooms, goods, and travel. There are some good tips provided and a lot of lessons learned. This is a good book for those that just want to see things from an unpolished viewpoint, there is no sales pitch, just raw real life experience.
Pages: 202 | ASIN: B09K5V2L27
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Immersed In West Africa is the dramatic recounting of your trek across West Africa. What was the inspiration that made you want to capture your adventure in a book?
I have been traveling like this since November 2014. During that time l was encouraged to write a blog but that seemed like a lot of work and thus l declined to do this. However, the request that l properly record what l experienced led me to start a daily Facebook post while on the road. This was started while l was in South America. Having started, l thoroughly enjoy it!
I enjoyed the way in which you conveyed the numerous obstacles you faced along your journey. Is there a moment in your travels that you can point to and say ‘that changed me’?
Since 2014 l have had many close calls, so to speak. However, doing the depth of research that l do before hand reduces the impact of these obstacles as l encounter them. It may surprise you to know that the thing that impacted me most was seeing the young boys in Dakar driving their mule carts. Clearly, these boys were not attending school. In the knowledge based society, education is key.
I enjoyed the photos you included in the book. What was the decision process like in picking what pictures to include?
The selection of pictures was a combination of which ones brought home the tale which was being told and which pictures were the most clear and easier to see. When l was selecting from time to time l was disappointed in that l could not find a picture good enough to illustrate the story. Also, as l have written the story in the Facebook form, l have used videos…sometimes very dramatic videos so l would be looking for a picture when in fact l had captured the scene via video.
Do you plan on doing more traveling?
When l graduated from university l had been to four countries. When I retired at age 60, l had been to 42 more countries but over the last five years l have been to 43 countries. But it is not a “ getting a passport stamp “ exercise. I have stayed in most countries from two to four weeks while countries that lack a variety of things to observe and explore see me for five days to seven or eight. I want to continue in this fashion until l visit upwards of 150 countries.
Immersed in West Africa is NOT one of those cookie-cutter guide books. This is the powerful on-the-ground diary of one man’s solo journey through West Africa. For roughly 60 days, Terry Lister traveled across Senegal, Mauritania, the Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. What he experienced touched both his spirit and his soul. The ups and downs of travel, the people, the transport, the weather, the food, the haggling…he welcomed it all.
From harrowing experiences with border police, to day-long travel on crowded mini-buses, Lister’s accounts of daily life shed light on the real side of Africa, and are sure to both entertain and educate you.
Travel is the best educator and Lister shows us that while Africa is still the brunt of many jokes and misconceptions, it is more than worth the visit. If you are someone who’s been a bit afraid to travel into Africa beyond the big tours, this book will inspire you to step out with courage and faith. While your experience will be your own, it is one guaranteed to inspire and motivate you to be the best version of yourself.
So let’s step into this adventure together!
Immersed in West Africa follows one man’s journey across many roads less traveled, giving a glimpse into a part of the world that is unfamiliar to most. Terry Lister begins his 2-month journey in Senegal, where he loops the region, exploring Gambia, Guineas Bissau and Conakry, amongst others, before ending his journey back where he began.
The beauty of Lister’s journey is that he writes in a way that made me feel like I was right there with him. Every page in this book was as if I were reading a postcard from a friend, accompanied by photos of Lister’s journey. It made for a quick read that I finished in one sitting, and his very casual style of writing meant it was easy to consume.
Before coming across this book, I was entirely unfamiliar with Lister. However, he addresses the reader as if you have a long history. Often, he reminds us of things that you ‘know’ about him, such as that he has a “thing for volcanoes… and a thing for waterfalls” and his passion for “renewable energy sources”. I am still not clear how we would already be aware of that information, but I found it charming, nonetheless.
Personal highlights include the tale of the time-consuming tea-making ceremony in Mauritania. Once again, Lister’s casual way of accounting the story made it feel like he was recounting the memory over a beer or coffee.
With that being said, I am unsure if this is intended to be read by anyone. The title mentions immersion, and while I have no doubt that Lister achieved that on his travels, the brisk explanations made it hard for me as a reader to feel the same way. More a memoir than a guidebook, I can picture future generations of Lister’s family sitting around and reading this compelling story.
Lister’s unwavering positive attitude throughout was undeniably charming. Given the endless amount of challenges Lister faced, from customs inspectors to taxi drivers, it was hugely admirable. It’s quite hard not to imagine Lister’s smiling face as I read the words on the page.
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B07WH7JH6G