How travel turned ‘commitaphobe’ into devotee

North Lake author Peter Elliott.
North Lake author Peter Elliott.

PETER Elliott is fully aware of the irony of a former “commitaphobe” setting himself the arduous task of writing a book.

The North Lake resident has just published his first book, drawing on diaries, letters and photographs to recount two life-altering trips he undertook between 1978-81.

It begins with a 20-month odyssey, where a 75-day bus trip with 30 other people from Kathmandu to London turned into a sojourn around the world lasting nearly two years.

The second was considerably different, a solo walking trip around Ireland (where he was not allowed to accept any lifts), which finished with a trip to Israel and Egypt.

Rambling Towards Jerusalem: Journeys of a Fremantle Boy serves not just as a travel diary, but also as an introspective look into Elliott’s personal growth.

“I came back for a year and I was allergic to work; travel was my drug of choice,” Elliott said.

He said one of the reasons he ended up on the adventures was his disdain for commitment and an urge to explore the world.

“The first part of the book is ‘this is the way things are’, but I’m also breaking away from that. I’m really running from commitment. I’m running from commitment to the religion of my parents, romantic commitment, jobs,” he said.

“The book is a journey from that point to realising in many ways commitment can be something that is liberating.”

Elliott said the trips transformed him into the man he is today.

“My stepfather felt the trips were doing for me what the war was doing for him, in the sense he was a young guy, who was suddenly thrown into the big world, into totally unfamiliar and threatening situations,” he said.

Rambling Towards Jerusalem is available on Amazon and in Koorong Books in Mount Lawley.

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