Shadow Trails

Shadow Trails Shadow Trails
Adventures in Dark Tourism

It was only while compiling this collection of travel stories and photography that the theme of ‘dark tourism’ became apparent. It wasn’t that I had deliberately set out to write about the darker side of tourism, or that these are the only places I have visited, but that those destinations seemed the most interesting to write about - as well as casting light on the business of international tourism, ‘dark tourism’ also reveals much about the nature of travel itself.

Of course many historical tourist attractions could be seen as ‘dark’ in some ways, in that they are only deemed to be worthy of reverence through their association with regime changing war, revolution and murder. What actually appears to signify ‘dark tourism’ is not so much a curiosity for the horrors of reality as - that like a joke shunned as distasteful – it is simply considered ‘too soon’. But it is this very immediacy that makes the experience of ‘dark tourism’ both relevant and relatable.

Many might feel uncomfortable with the concept of ‘dark tourism’ but it is important to remember that as well as the desire for the money that international tourism often brings in to neglected areas, and the need to feel connected to a wider world, that both the sellers and consumers of ‘dark tourism’ are also often driven by a desire to bring these dark realities to light.

 

Desert Search

As we clattered through the Kyzylkum desert in the battered shared taxi, the driver reached across and offered me some pills. When I asked him what they were, he shrugged. Sometimes the drivers would take nicotine pills rather than smoking, but chewing tobacco had already been passed around. When it was time to spit out the dregs, they would push open their doors and gob out huge streams of brown spittle into the passing desert. If the timing were wrong and the wind in the wrong direction, then the back seat passengers would be splattered with the chewed out remains. I was wary of accepting an unknown quantity of...

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Last Chance

The two young Aussie guys in their bright white shirts couldn't hide their disappointment. As the various day trippers had trudged back on to the Fraser Explorer four wheel drive bus, several had looked over to them quizzically. They looked a bit too smart to be on our bus. "We're custom officials" they said, cheerfully. They weren't really. They were trying to flog fifteen minute flights over Fraser Island for seventy five Australian dollars a head. Apparently this was great value, we'd see all the highlights from a bird's eye view - maybe even some dolphins and sting rays - and we wouldn't miss any of the...

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Full Length Books

Tearing up the Silk Road

Two Globes A 100,000 word travelogue detailing a journey from China to Istanbul, through Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus.

Click here to view more details and the original book blurb for the back cover. You could also check out some of my initial ideas for book cover designs, view the final printed cover and check out the slide show.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com

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Voodoo, Slaves and White Man's Graves

My second full-length travel book revolves around an overland journey through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali.

The book is now available in both print and eBook editions. Check out the West Africa Photo Gallery to view some pictures from this journey or view the full print version of the book cover.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com

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Free eBooks

Turkmenbashi's Land of Fairy Tales

A Short Break in Libya

To Camels from Cows: Algeria Overland

All of these short eBooks are available for free in a variety of formats for use on such eReaders as Kindle, Nook and Sony Touch. After downloading the books in Kindle, Epub, RTF, PDB or PDF format, they can then be copied over to the eReader of your choice.

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Contact Me

If you would like to get in touch, then you can me email me at tom@tomcoote.net