In 2020, Australian author Ken Haley mapped out an enticing menu of travel destinations, comprising the Caribbean island states for main course, with Central America for dessert. Main course soon turned into obstacle course. Cuba was a breeze, but then the world went into Covid lockdown mode and he had to decide whether to push on. As a pioneer wheelchair traveller, Haley knew exactly what to do. He took the brakes off.
After an unplanned detour to Trumpian Florida, he returned to the tropics intent on dividing his time between sun worship, historical exploration and observation of life's realities for the community of West Indian nations. In a year that wasn't long on fun, Haley had his share but he also met his quota of hardship and risks – from developing hurricanes to a no-longer-dormant volcano, from robbery to an acute health crisis that had him wondering whether he might have been wiser to buy a one-way ticket in advance.
2020 was the year most of us stayed at home. Ken Haley turned an accident of timing into a rollicking, but dangerous adventure. The result is a triumph: a humorous and penetrating insight into a world grappling with an unforeseen calamity and a rare and empathetic travel book.
About the author
Ken Haley is one of Australia's most widely travelled authors. To date he has visited 143 countries at length. He became a paraplegic in 1991, but as far as Ken is concerned the only difference this has made is that he now observes the world from a sitting position. A Walkley Award-winning journalist, Ken has worked on the foreign desk of The Times, Sunday Times and Observer in London, at the Gulf Daily News in Bahrain and on the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Ken has also worked at Melbourne's The Age and as a newspaper sub-editor in Athens, Johannesburg and Windhoek, Namibia and as a university tutor and freelance editor. His previous books are Emails from the Edge: A Journey Through Troubled Times and Europe @ 2.4km/h. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
The One That Got Away:
Travelling in the Time of Covid