Adventure, Non Fiction

Baggage: Confessions of a Globe-Trotting Hypochondriac by Jeremy Hance

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The book is still available on NetGalley as of the writing of this post

This is more than a tale of a hypochondriac and his travels. The tagline makes it seem slightly more lighthearted than the content, which is not essentially wrong, but I thought that the book had a lot more depth than I had anticipated. It took me a while to understand what the author was doing with juggling timelines, but once I did, it made the reading a lot smoother and had more weight as well.
We have multiple travels of Jeremy described to us, along with fascinating information about the local natural beauty and fleeting mentions of the socio-political situations in said places (the light mentions also help for a pretty solid picture for anyone wanting to dig further). Jeremy has travelled a lot since his college years, and each time, he has mental health issues that prohibit everything from being smooth sailing. He is very clear about how his mind works, and it is probably the first time I have seen how complicated those thoughts could be in someone suffering from both OCD and chronic anxiety. I think many of us might have a mild spattering of these emotions during certain events in life, but this is at another level altogether.
Per chapter, we are shown one trip and what they are doing there and interspersing it with his past and childhood. This latter bit gives us a better understanding of how the journey to the current time has been. The locations visited were remote, the animals mentioned nearing extinction and cultures mentioned, which I had not come across earlier. Overall, the further I got into the book, the more I was enjoying it. There is a profound love for nature that the author puts down in words and shows us with his observations that make this entire read a very heartfelt one. The strangest part is that a year or so after the trips, an actual incident takes place at the very locations that he had supposedly irrational fears at!
I highly recommend this to anyone who is a nervous traveller or just liked to visit remote corners to learn something new through the pages of books like this.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers; the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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