One day Ben Groundwater sends a call to Aussie expats on his Fairfax travel blog, asking if he can stay the night on their couch.
The result is 5 Ways to Carry a Goat (UQP, $32.95), a hilarious memoir of three-and-a-half months of couch-to-couch travel and the random people he meets along the way.
Groundwater’s mantra is “bring on the nutters” as he plots his journey from the most compelling emails. He travels through China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Europe, Brazil and America, with some of the more exotic locations providing more interesting reading — including dangerous places and some spots where he is able to do things illegal back home.
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Groundwater’s goal is a uniquely local travel experience, but he is often thwarted when handed guidebooks and dragged to yet another temple.
This story is about meeting interesting people, some slightly insane, others just trying to make a living far away from home. By the end of the book the travel has certainly taken its toll. UK writer Brian Thacker has taken a similar couch surfing journey with Sleeping Around (A&U), but he doesn’t have the support of the blogging community that Groundwater does.
5 Ways to Carry a Goat is an incredibly funny book about an average guy’s journey into the unknown.