Saturday, 21 May 2011
I Left My Tent in San Francisco
The time is 1989. Very few people have mobile phones, the internet is in its infancy and British graduates flock to America for working holidays. I think Camp America and BUNAC's Work America style programs have gone a bit out of fashion now but I do remember them being very popular. Emma and her best friend Dee go for the Work America option, convinced they will make a fortune.
Of course, they struggle to find jobs and when they do they're not well paid. Having a contact in San Francisco, they'd decided to base themselves there however their return flight leaves from New York. Emma and Dee must somehow get across the country on a barely there budget. Not only that, but Emma seems to have inherited the holiday bad luck gene from her parents.
Not as funny as The Tent, the Bucket and Me but then I don't have any experience of back-packing to compare this to. Maybe you'll read it and identify with lots of their struggles. One thing that does ring true, the more you try and do things on the cheap, the more likely things are to go wrong... When they do go wrong, they appear ten times worse because you have no money to get yourself out of it!
Emma's books document a slice in time that we won't see again. Just like her family's camping experiences, working and travelling abroad has changed so much. I don't think anyone would be naive enough to set out without back-up funds and there is the constant communication we have in the internet to help us out.
If you went on continental camping holidays in the 70s or 80s then do read The Tent, the Bucket and Me. I Left My Tent in San Francisco is worth a read too, but didn't meet my high expectations.
You can also follow Emma on Twitter.