The World is Elsewhere by Chris McIvor
|The World is Elsewhere by Chris McIvor|
|Reviewer: Andy Heath|
|Summary: 'The World is Elsewhere' is a beautiful mix of autobiography and travel, with a little philosophical thought thrown in for good measure. A totally captivating read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Sandstone Press Ltd|
As a Country Director, Chris McIvor has worked for a number of years at Save the Children. 'The World is Elsewhere' covers his time there and, his journeys across a number of countries. It is a beautiful mix of autobiography and travel. It also captures his philosophical thoughts on international aid. He reflects on both the good and the bad with a very easy, conversational writing style that makes the book truly captivating. I read from cover to cover in a single sitting, unusual for a reviewer. Such was the draw as he laid himself bare.
There is a complexity to Chris McIvor's life. It is at a level that few of us will ever experience, but turning the pages you begin to understand the human drive that motivates him. It is a drive tinged with guilt for the family he has left behind but fuelled by the importance of what he does and, it is something that never resolves itself in his own mind. Early in the book, he quotes some advice passed to him as he embarked on his career. 'Discard whatever baggage you are carrying and leave your preconceptions behind.' In the troubled world that we live in today it is advice we would all do well to heed, as Chris McIvor has with everything he has witnessed and experienced.
He writes about the places that he visits with the love and passion that is the characteristic of the gifted travel writer. He captures the world as it is and not a rose tinted view where everything is perfect. The beauty and flaws are all exposed and he paints such a vivid picture you feel you are there yourself. McIvor has the traveller's insatiable curiosity to look under the surface and really understand the people and places that are a part of the landscape. Embracing new cultures and beliefs is not easy. The starting point is viewing everybody as a human being. With that empathy, you can begin to understand all of the diverse aspects of their life. 'The World is Elsewhere' is almost an instruction manual on how to do it.
I cannot recommend the book highly enough. There is something between the pages for everyone. It covers serious global problems and issues. However, it does it with a lucid and self-effacing humour that makes it so accessible. If every one of us were like Chris McIvor the world would be a far better and less troubled place. That is not just down to the work that he does to help humanity. It is also in the way he embraces and describes the world that he experiences. Superb read and a must for all of us.
If you enjoy The World is Elsewhere, you may also enjoy The Island That Dared: Journeys in Cuba by Dervla Murphy, The Man of Passage by Ian Mathie, A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
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