A few of you may already be familiar with my friend Tom. He is one of the UK’s leading travel writers, and you can see his work regularly featured on The Times. He is also one of the best storytellers I know, and he has recently released his 5th book, named Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives. His previous book, ‘A Tourist in the Arab Spring’ was also featured on this blog a while ago, and generated a lot of commentary from interested readers who were keen to ask Tom some questions and share some stories.
In his latest adventure, beyond luxury hideaways, Tom Chesshyre travels to see the real, unexplored Maldives, skirting around the archipelagos periphery, staying at simple guesthouses, and using cargo ships and ferries. He discovers that beyond the glossy brochures lies an almost undiscovered country that is brimming with life, yet also a paradise teetering on the brink of trouble.
In the Maldives outsiders used to be banned from islands not officially endorsed as tourist resorts, but now a thousand sandy shores can be visited in this remote nation deep in the Indian Ocean the flattest on Earth. This is island-hopping for the twenty-first century, sailing around 600 miles of the most beautiful islands and atolls on Earth, often to communities that have not seen an outsider for decades, …and gatecrashing the odd posh hotel.
What you may not know, is that we were in the Maldives at the same time – and at the same hotel. I did not know either – it was only for a day, and was gutted that we did not meet on location! I can imagine a great evening with lychee caipirinhas with Tom and Mr. O – but failing that, we catch up regularly in London. I was offered a pre-release copy of Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives and loved it. But being me, I had to ask some questions to Tom – and here is what he had to say!
Tom Chesshyre is the author of five travel books that have taken him from Hull to Tripoli via assignments in North Korea, Nepal, India and Iceland. He writes for The Times and has contributed to the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement and the Mail on Sunday. His magazine work has been for Geographical and Condé Nast Traveller.
On his travels he has been hijacked in Africa, met tornado-chasers in America and followed in the footsteps of Graham Greene in Haiti. His previous books include A Tourist in the Arab Spring, Tales from the Fast Trains, How Low Can You Go and To Hull and Back: On Holiday in Unsung Britain. For more information, visit Tom’s website.
And to make things more interesting, Tom will be giving 5 signed copies of Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventures in the Real Maldives to 5 lovely readers, which is also available on Amazon. To enter:
1) Answer this question in the comments area below: ‘Where was the most beautiful place you have ever been to, which you would describe as paradise?’
2) Share this post via social media (Twitter, Facebook or Google +) using the sharing buttons on the left hand side or below.
This competition is now closed. Winners have been selected and contacted via email.
And Happy New Year!