Travel Writing


Travel Writing - Europe Through The Backdoor guidebook (Rick Steves)

I started “travel writing”, recording journals of my travels when I left Australia in 1987 for two years backpacking and living abroad in England and Europe. I kept writing the journals, on my daily life in England and wider travels in the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, until I returned to live in Australia in 1996.

Europe through the Back Door

In 1987 my backpacker’s bible was Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves. His guidebook offered a different way of looking at people and places that contrasted with the then-popular Let’s Go series, while others like Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide weren’t so well known in the mid-80s (at least, not to a novice backpacker like me!).

Steves summed up his approach in the guidebook’s introduction:

Most people enter Europe through the front door. In fact, seeing Europe in this way has become common-place — almost blasé. Make your trip special. Come with me … through the back door. A warm, relaxed, personable Europe will greet us as an intimate friend.

Using Europe Through the Back Door as a guidebook made me feel like a traveller rather than a tourist. Not for me the packaged tour, “It’s Tuesday so we must be in Rome” approach.

I was going to explore and savour the real Europe, via the back streets and backdoors!

Selection of Travel Writing

The following is a selection of my travel writing—some are complete articles and others are journal extracts. Have a read and let me know what you think. You can find more of my travel writing on Tall And True, an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers.


As Ben Elton observed in Gridlock, native English speaking travellers, like me, seem to think our language becomes understandable to non-English speaking people if we speak slow-ly and LOUD-LY.

Phrasebooks - Do you speak Eng-ger-lish?


Dahab sits on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, 80 km northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh on the bottom tip, 148 km south of Israel and Jordan, and across the Gulf of Aqaba from Saudi Arabia, whose desert hills are visible from the beachfront on sunrise and sunset.

Dahab Egypt - Michelin maps



Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please contact Robert for further details.