On The Beaten Track – Travels In Eastern Europe


People have asked me how I found the time to write a book of over 500 pages and what compelled me to do so.

The first question is easy. Much of the book was written on my daily commute to work or any other ‘dead time’ such as waiting for a bus, standing in a supermarket queue or waiting for a friend to arrive.

Before investing in an I-pad, I would send myself e-mails from my Blackberry (a full e-mail is approximately 2,000 words) and then copy and paste them into a Word document once or twice a week.


The Opportunity To Have Your Photo Taken With A Tiger, Tirana

I soon had a rough draft of the book and then came what I will admit was a lengthy process. Embellishment, checking grammar and punctuation, checking facts that the memory had not got quite right, reading and re-reading. It got to the stage that I was feeling pretty bored with my own words, the last few months of production were a bit of a slog.

The writing part was the great fun bit, proof reading definitely the worst. I surprised myself that I had written 134,000 words, but some days I couldn’t stop myself from writing!

The whole process took about three years on and off from start to finish, although I did wait to do the Armenia & Georgia trip before I completed it. I set on the theme of the book first – my extensive travels in Eastern Europe – sketched out the chapters, enlisted my regular travel buddy for some words of his own and started my e-mailing regime.


A Dive In Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

So what compelled me to write a book? It was not for money, but I hoped (still hope!) to break even, a little bit of recognition for sure, an endorsement of my writing style to encourage me to write more most definitely, but mainly I wrote it for myself.

I had promised myself for about 30 years that I would publish a book one day and I am always determined to keep promises, no matter who I make them to. I also wanted a permanent record of my travels. I have others in the planning stage relating to travels in Middle East & Far East. I will definitely write them and if they will get published or remain private recollections, only time will tell.


Subway Crimean Style – Entrance To Former Nuclear Submarine Base, Balaclava

For £2.84 you can download a Kindle edition from Amazon – their description of the book is:

Will (Wilbur) first fell in love with trains as a wonderful means to get somewhere exciting in the early ‘80s and consummated what has become a lifelong love affair in 1987, during a three week train tour of Europe.

Hamish, Wilbur’s long-term travel buddy, grew up with a passion for trains fuelled by his Stepdad & Uncle taking him train spotting as a kid.

In 2006, circumstance saw them embark on a train adventure in Eastern Europe, evoking fabulous memories of their first ever trip together, a 1992 inter-rail adventure to Scandinavia and inside the former Iron Curtain.

This was to become a regular pilgrimage and has now seen them travel by train together in over twenty-five countries in the east of the continent.

Along the way they have met a plethora of eccentric characters, experienced a catalogue of comical episodes and got into a fair few scrapes, all against the backdrop of a diverse, fascinating, but often volatile region.


Fit For A King – Tsaravets, Bulgaria

If you are able to invest a few pounds, I strongly believe that you will not be disappointed – it is of course my totally unbiased opinion! You can read some of the introductory chapter on the Amazon page and I have also published a few extracts on this site regarding incidents in Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania and others. Click on Travels in Eastern Europe for related articles.

If book reading is not your thing, but you have read my extracts, I would be extremely grateful if you could put a review of the book on Amazon, being honest of course.

The Routes East



In The Balance – Hamish’s Daring Feat, Kotor, Montenegro


Scrubbed Up Well – After Hamam Experience, Istanbul


Agriculture The Moldovan Way

Track 7

Three In One – Our Transport, Restaurant & Hotel Arrives In Istanbul


A Tallin Order – Estonia’s Capital In Winter


Split Decision – Croatia’s Adriatic Jewel


  1. I love that pic from Moldova! That’s the way to travel.

    1. The farming in poor countries is hard work for the people but so beautiful to see….

  2. Fantastic photos, very inspiring. I also love travelling by train.

  3. Will, you may just have talked me into it!

    1. That would be lovely and I would really welcome your feedback

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