Notes From An Imperfect Journey Around The World By Daniel Baylis

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A good book may have a potential in influencing how we see the world and for me purposely travel books, like others which offer amazing life-changing benefits. The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World by Daniel Baylis: experiencing 12 countries would definitely give a holistic view about the world and how human interaction was made through travelling. In this paper, as a form of literary criticism, this book will be analyzed based on content, style, and merit. Firstly, the context of the material including its physical presence, the full details of the title, publication, and author will be clarified thoroughly. Secondly, summarizing the book’s content in general and the specific chapter so as to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the material. Importantly, some aspects are composed of the author’s writing style, theoretical perspective, in-depth content, consequently illustrating personal reflection as well as recommendations to fulfil the critique of the material.

The context of the material

Information about the author

Daniel Baylis- a writer as well as a photographer with a speciality in traveling. He was born in Prince George – a city in British Columbia, Canada. He was educated in Edmonton and refined in Montréal and pursues a degree in Human Relations from Concordia University. Baylis grew up in a typical family in Canada, whereby both of the author’s parents work as teachers. The author himself was less notable and preferred mud puddles along with card games. He went to university but gradually dropped out, after which he worked as a barista in cafes, together with improving his music skills at a community college and spent a few summers planting trees in mountains of British Columbia. Before back to school to finish a university degree, the author learned to speak some French. Moving along his specific experience writing, he used to write university’s student newspaper as well as managing a personal blog. The author got his first official job at McGill University of which he stayed for about 6 months before moving on to becoming a content producer with Montreal Tourism Bureau. His professional achievements comprise of articles for Fast Company, Huffington Post and The Guardian, along with collaborating with Tourisme Montréal, enRoute Magazine and N/A marketing currently. He is fond of yoga, drinking Malbec or coffee and listening to old-school country music.

Book’s physical presence

Generally, the physical presence is also one of the important elements of bookmaking. Regarding to the cover layout that compelling blue pastel background, the highlight of the cover page is a circle of twelve different pictures of the author displayed in the middle – predictably related to travel, not to mention its title is placed on the top and the author’s name at the bottom that is apparent as visible font size and glaring color. On the subject of price, it costs $19 USD originally compared to $31.68 SGD for a brand new book, personally, it is a reasonable price for those who are interested in reading travel topics like me. The spine is customary for printing text on it, in this case, includes The Traveller, author’s name and publisher that runs from the top to the bottom. Using softcover, all thick pages inside glued together, the paper’s quality are solid and smooth enough to flip pleasantly, unlike some other books packaged low-quality paper that easily is torn due to our carelessness. All things considered, the physical presence is seemed attractive and high quality enough for who keen on reading books.

Summary of the material

The author’s purpose in writing the book

Tie back to The Traveller’s writing purpose is intentionally more diary instead of travelogue telling about his journey around the world, perhaps encourage people to take on the vacation that many wonderful things are waiting for us to explore. Baylis’s book is not just about seeing places while most books nowadays are often offered the proficient recommendations on planning, packing, what to see and do and so on. Those essential information benefit to vacationers — but the beauty of traveling is to seek comprehensive understanding and insight while being of aware of its limited point-of-view. Unlike standard journalism, using a personal lens to inquire into distinctive realities of daily life away from home, finding human commonalities while cross-cultural exchanging as this book has been satisfied. Obviously, this inspiring book is written to those people who dream of traveling around the world and looking for involvement.

A summary of the book’s (or chapter’s) argument and structure

A total of 12 chapters with 420 pages including prologue and epilogue. Front to back is the structure of the book in order to ensure a smooth transformation to readers consist of three elements: front matter, text body, and back matter. According to The Traveller, the manuscript is quite simple as long as providing related information adequately. The flow started from front matter has title page, dedication, table of contents and prologue; secondly text body comprises the actual content of the book so twelve countries would be exactly twelve following chapters; after the epilogue is “Associate Travellers” that Baylis showed a deep gratitude to his family and friends, readers, publishing team, all people and organizations that had supported during his trip is definitely a beautiful ending. The traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World- travel literature genre is being received an intense acclaim. A true story of a young Canadian seeking social involvement in one year traveling around the world intentionally twelve months, twelve countries undertaking twelve different instinct volunteer roles. Years before his 30th birthday approach, he had come out a list of achievable ideals as travel the world was actually the top of the list. At that stage, he literally had no money to pursue such a precious desire, after several interviews he finally got a job. But then, dreaming of global adventure has been marinated in his mind almost everyday life. Until his 30th birthday came, at that moment the author faced an accidental question: “If I didn’t do a trip now, then when would I?”. He decided to go for it immediately in spite of limited budget as well as other personal considerations in term of his job and rental apartment to take up one of his biggest dreams-going to be an actual travel. The sole objective to become involved in reciprocal relationships combine with the idea of labor exchange for accommodation by playing a variety of volunteer position at each destination. This new concept – voluntourism refers to a new concept of travelling that tourists participate in volunteering as part of their vacation, hence the author has recklessly obtained an immersive travel experience, which helps differentiate Baylis’s book from others.

Regarding the main route that he planned to visit comprise of twelve countries in six continents such as USA, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, Morocco, France, Scotland, Israel, India, Laos, and Australia. Visiting different countries each month, each place would be given a different iconic tale. Especially, Peru was the third country Baylis travelled in March with the length of 26 pages, it may not be the most beautiful place but definitely the most meaningful experience through the entire adventure.

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Baylis has a keen interest in its ancient local cultures, Peru for instance. At that time, he had found out Horizon Peru- the volunteer-based English school that contribute free lessons to underprivileged children in Trujillo, a city in coastal north-western Peru. As he described his excitement on visiting a destination which is totally new to him while feeling nervous about playing such a different role that he has never done before: an English teacher. When he arrived at the schoolhouse, his first new experience that he had paid the taxi driver in soles. Then he has met Estella- the local was running the project at school and Luz- the school founder’s wife, they were friendly and helpful enough to brighten his first-day arrival. Over the next few days, when other volunteers had arrived, together with Lucy and Vanessa they had experienced quite many memorable consequences while being a teacher: Not really welcoming on the day they visited the elementary school; especially the official day of classes, he did execute the lesson with charm but chaotic situation always arisen like: a group of boys began to throwing fists; a little girl started crying, perhaps that was the first day at school hence Baylis’s failure to consoled her; he was quite confused when delivering a lesson since the students actually have not known how to write yet. By the time passes, those challenges at the beginning have become calmed down as he could have attained several approaches that help in teaching skills as well as the students were more incorporated in contributing the lessons. Apart from teaching, there were a lot of opportunities for him to look into different places around Trujillo for instance, a day trip for volunteers at weekend to hike a mountain or enjoy their frolic on a beach beside the Pacific Ocean that not every traveller could explore on their own. Every field trips like that were full of delicious dishes and smiles. Similarly, another day exploring Trujillo downtown: he enjoyed seeing am the ancient archaeological site, having a cappuccino at a typical museum bistro, but in a wide range of activities – visiting the local market with a warm mingle with one of the vendors was his favorite one. One Sunday morning, that time was his turn to attend an unusual class- a personal cooking lesson offered by Estella. They together went to buy supplies needed in a market, he likes interacting and observing the activities in the market that he had compared to a faithful performance art. After completing a ceviche seemed quite easy so far, “it was one of the most satisfying meals of my life” Baylis expressed, because of taking part in making it. He also had great memories with Estella’s extensive family. Finally, during his last days in Peru, he came up with a meaningful gift for Estella as he has stated that she was the one who made him felt like home. The gift was a photograph of her whole family placed inside a wooden frame that he had snapped in her daughter’s birthday celebration that sweet enough for her to burst out crying. Above all, a sequence of remarkable events, it was close up with a wonder of human being connection which is existed along the way of his adventure at Trujillo, Peru.

Critique of the material

The theoretical perspective

According to the Travel Career Patterns theory travelers at lower travel career levels tend to focus more on internally oriented motivation factors, such as self-enhancement, romance, belonging and autonomy. Respondents at higher travel career levels give more emphasis to externally-oriented motivation factors, such as self-development through host-site involvement and seeking nature. As implied by the TCP theory, some common travel motivations (e.g., novelty, escape/relax, and enhancing relationships) are more important than others similar to Baylis’s perspective. After obtaining job satisfaction, he would likely travel to see something new, especially looking for experiences because, in earlier stages of his life, travel was constrained by other consideration such as the limit budget. As a result, Baylis has stopped dreaming to see the world but start working it out.

The depth and thoroughness on the length based

By using the reader-friendly writing style and the way he tells the stories narratively, not glamorous but I could say that super honest, but not storytelling. Because most of his stories are about social interaction that we can only found it in a real life. Moreover, he provided his practical thought and self-reflection in many cases which based on what he has seen and experienced that clearly indicated to applicable in a real situation. On the other hand, joining along the book, I often laugh out loud with his great sense of humor. In spite of being the shortest chapter of the book, it is warranted content thoroughness as a result of expressing the words concisely. Many areas are covered such as experience a culturally structured location, obtain new skills, engage with the residents, and contribute to the project in a meaningful way. The thoroughness of this chapter is demonstrated mainly on community participation that is the beauty of this book, personally. On the contrary, chapter 2 is much longer but the content was incomprehensive, simply put the author kept complaining about his disappointed feeling and repeating cursorily sequences of daily activities that caused boringness for me sometimes. Importantly, stories between Baylis and Estella made me truly understand the meaning of human being it is not just a typically “work-exchange” but those acts of giving and receiving between people and people are the most honorable thing in this tough world. In view of Celinne Da Costa’s book “The Art of Being Human” a series of her personal experiences around the world- similar travel style to Baylis, she stated that throughout her trip, she had met many people in fleeting context and easily become friends with them on social media in other words it is a kind of virtual relationship, which is doubtful if there is any possibility to see them again. By all means, some relationships are well-made and negligence- the precious will last long, perhaps it would be rotten but possibly kept somewhere in our memory. These charming stories are something that I was seeking intuitively, in other words, The Traveller has reinforced my faith in humanity.

Comments by other reviewers

According to Rob Sherren, he stated: “He sticks to the periphery of most events, and when he does engage he focuses on his own ineptness to the extent that it can get in the way of the moments he’s trying to create”. Similarly, I have figured out some parts that he less likely to describe the places or the impact of being there. For instance, in this chapter 3, the day Baylis visited the local market in Trujillo he talked extremely about the conversation with a vendor without mentioning the market’s features.

Recommendations and personal reflection

In my opinion, it would be more interesting in addition to satisfying the reader’s curiosity if the author had given a brief description of those destinations that he had explored. For instance, in this particular chapter, he has mentioned about colonial churches or an ancient Chan Chan archaeological site (p.81), however, none of that destination has been portrayed. Likewise, his writing sometimes gets whiny and self-deprecatory that may cause readers to a negative feeling wonder if travel alone would be worthy or not, at the end of the day Baylis always ends up with inspiration as well as trying to embrace enthusiasm. On the other hand, I cannot deny that this book does not only help gain my knowledge in term of basic geography, social skills enrichment, a few specific norms but also related to my interest as a person who loves travelling as it is pretty enjoyable. In fact, I have never travelled alone or taken a year on vacation as Baylis, this book somehow does make me believe in travelling alone and undertaking different volunteer role would be meaningful and contributed to my maturity.


To summarize, The Traveller indicates literary portraits of an individual endeavor not simply to see the world pertaining to connection, insight, and education through distinctive global destinations. It is worth reading this travel book because the in-depth content is communicated straightforward, whereby these charming stories will be delivered with remarkable experiences in each chapter. Moreover, in term of theoretical perfectives with a touch of introspection go along with comedy writing style is the perfect combination that not any book could fulfill. Irrespective of age, gender or social class, this book is absolutely for anyone who loves travelling or simply just wants to see how beautiful the world is. The delicacy of the author’s thought that the result is captivating and comprehensive. Overall, The Traveller is possibly successful on contributing to tourism field, typically inspired me and others to get out of our bounds and try on something new that we have never done before- go travelling around the world, a sort of meaningful happens.

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