Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush is a non-fiction travel memoir written by Frankie Hogan. Hogan is an adventurer/explorer who decided to stop letting life get in the way of his yearning for travel and experiencing new lands and cultures. Livin’ is a collection of memoirs of his solo trips, group trips, and those more local trips he took when there were stricter time limits. His interest in history made going to Egypt and Greece must-see destinations, despite the political turmoil and unrest in each of these countries. While he had postponed his initial plans to visit Egypt in 2011 due to the revolution during that time, he had no qualms about booking his trip for the spring of 2013. Seeing history come alive outside his hotel window in those views of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre, and learning about the history of the area courtesy of his own Egyptologist, made any risks well worth taking. Amsterdam was another must-experience for this adventurer, who recounts his experiences in this European capital famous for its permissive attitudes towards marijuana and its Red Light District.
Frankie Hogan’s non-fiction travel memoir, Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush, is an enthralling and entertaining look at travel through the author’s eyes. Hogan packs a wealth of experiences and adventures into this relatively short memoir, and each destination he describes is shared in a wryly affectionate tone. I especially enjoyed Hogan’s trips to Egypt, Africa and Vietnam. The Egyptian memoir is a marvelous travel story that focuses on the history and the author’s own reverence for the antiquities and structures that have withstood the tests of time. His African experience gives a wealth of details on his travels in that continent. As I read it, I found myself searching the internet to learn more about some of the things and animals he encountered during that adventure, including Table Mountain in Cape Town and the African Painted Dogs. When he visits Fairbanks, I held my breath as he and his group were waiting for the Aurora Borealis to appear, and wondered if they’d reach the Arctic Circle before having to turn back because of the storm. Hogan is an excellent guide for the armchair adventurer. His stories are epic and humorous all at once, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which adds to the fun. His modern-day explorations are inspirational and will, no doubt, have readers planning their own expeditions. Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush is most highly recommended.