Waugh’s Travel Diary

A book has been published that is made up of travel entries by various writers in diaries, journals and letters. These are arranged by the day and month on which they are written so that the reader may select a travel description for any given day of the year. This is entitled A Traveller’s Year and the editors are Travis Elborough and Nick Rennison. The book is reviewed by Marcus Berkmann in yesterday’s Daily Mail:

With no entry more than a page, and a few far shorter, the book gains from its giddy variety. You can never guess what is coming next…Maybe because I have compiled books a little like this myself, I can’t help imagining the enormous amount of reading necessary to produce this splendid, inconsequential little squib. But it was worth it…A book like this stands or falls on the taste, judgment and diligence of its compilers. They score highly on all three.

There are entries written by dozens of writers, including Evelyn Waugh. His Diaries are cited in entries for 9 July (trip to Spitzbergen 1934), 14 August (trip to Abyssinia 1936), 17 December (trip to Guyana 1932), and 27 December (trip to Goa 1952). In the latter, Waugh describes a day of tedious sightseeing, and then remarks laconically: “That night I tried to go to Hall’s bar, but found the square given over to a ball in aid of lepers.” Other noted British travel writers of Waugh’s generation are also represented. These include Robert Byron, Patrick Leigh Fermor and, moving forward one generation, Bruce Chatwin

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