William Sutcliffe is a British novelist, writer, and author of the book The Gifted, the Talented and Me.
William Sutcliffe’s hilariously cynical take on backpackers and travellers, 'Are You Experienced?' is still inspiring globe-trotters all over the world. He instantly regretted a solo trip to Pakistan to get the train to Beijing, was horrified by the realities of life on the West Bank, ate nothing but marmalade sandwiches for days when travelling to the remote salt flats in Bolivia and yes a lot of the stories in Are You Experienced are autobiographical. And yes I do dare to ask him about that pretty graphic description of being unwell in India. William Sutcliffe is on the Big Travel Podcast.   On this episode we cover:    His new book The Gifted, the Talented and Me How Adrian Mole and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are still great books for teens How living with teenagers is funny The era of sending postcards and Poste Restante How social media is stressful The difference between travel pre and post internet How travel used to be a way to reinvent yourself How you can reinvent yourself publicly every day How people make friends fast when travelling Lonely Planet being a guide to finding other Westerners Receiving letters in Kathmandu The lack of self-awareness in 18 year old travellers Travellers being at their most pretentious The two ways which travellers react to India How Lonely Planet still recommends his book over 20 years later Monish Rajesh saying it’s her favourite book about India Lisa visiting India in luxury How India can be hard work Lisa’s first time ever asking a guest whether they’ve s*it themselves in a hostel How travellers use the book to put them off India It being easier to go to Spain than India His life-changing solo trip to Pakistan Saving cash for travel by working in HMV The weird travel grant The Karakoram Highway built by China and Pakistan The long-standing dispute over the India China border Wanting to shake up his happy home life A one way ticket to Karachi and a return via Beijing to Moscow Russian invading Afghanistan Landing in Karachi, age 19, and being terrified The actually very hospitable ‘dangerous’ lands of the Peshawar in Pakistan Lisa fighting of an ear-cleaner in Bangalore Ear drum piercing versus Hepatitis Travelling to the Khyber Pass The German gun fan who took him to the gun town Not wanting to shoot a gun in the mountains the Mujahideen  Lisa being offered a gun in Phnom Penh  The incredible desert frontier town of Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur in China’s far west The oppression of Uighur muslims in China The atmospheric Kashgar Sunday Bazaar Those travel moments out of Kashgar The weird awakening crossing the border from Pakistan to China Saddam as superman ‘death to America’ on a t shirt Feeling unwelcome in communist China British and American politeness A certain admiration for a total lack of any ingratiation Cycling towards Tiananmen Square in a huge boulevard of bikes How hardships when travelling can make you feel good about yourself The ‘deep thoughts’ of teenagers His book The Wall based on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict Feeling he needed an opinion on Israel coming from a Lithuanian Jewish family The max exodus of the Pogroms from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia His family moving from Lithuania to South Africa His mother’s white South African guilt Travel to Israel, Egypt Sinai Peninsula and Jordan Staying in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian side The world increasingly being divided into haves and have nots Being horrified by the brutality and injustice of the occupation ‘The power of the un-fired gun’ The Israeli hilltop settlements Green Olives tours and revelations Lisa taking the boat from Israel to Egypt and crossing very serious borders What the Israel/Palestinian wall really looks like up close The Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat Everything being the size of Wales The town of Atacama where it hasn’t rained for 200 years A remote 3 day drive through the desert Nothing to eat but bread and marmalade Feeling like you’re on a U2 album cover His wife, author Maggie O’Farrell Taking it in turns to write and look after the kids The scene in Are You Experienced when Dave is listening to Pink Floyds Comfortably Numb Being a massive music fan and listening to music when writing Switching off from music when travelling His perfect travel music moment with the amazing drumming from a wedding party in Rajasthan                        
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Creator Details

Birthdate
Mar 9th, 1971
Location
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Episode Count
1
Podcast Count
1
Total Airtime
59 minutes, 54 seconds