Book Reviews


What Do You Pack? If You’re Never Coming Back…

15 True Stories of Those Who Left Their Past Behind

compiled by
Roberto Di Marco

2014, 268 pp., 21.6 x 14 cm., softcover.

ISBN-13: 978-974-524-152-7 $25.00

The Point of No Return

Book review by Steven Layne

(The Phuket News - Friday, June 6th, 2014)

What Do You Pack If You’re Never Coming Back? This rhetorical question is the title of a new book by Roberto Di Marco. Subtitled “15 True Stories of Those Who Left Their Past Behind”, the collection of short stories should appeal to many expats in Thailand and Phuket, who could relate to the familiar motives relayed by the Italian author—a psychologist, who, according to his bio, pens a “sexology” column in the Italian edition of Playboy and spends much of his time in Pattaya.
   Based on such a profile, one might expect the book to showcase sexpats who bought a one-way ticket to Thailand driven by one thing in particular. But a quick skim through the table of contents quickly extinguishes such thoughts. In fact, only two of the stories focus on Thailand, and it is relieving to report that they’re not another “schemed by a cunning bargirl” story.
   The 15 main characters—six from Italy and the rest from France, Russia, Romania, Sweden, the US, England, Germany, Denmark and Spain—find themselves, for varying reasons, needing to escape their home countries, and end up in places like Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Cambodia, the US, Japan, India, Yemen, Ethiopia, China, Switzerland and even Siberia.
   As the author puts it in his own words, “The book consists of true stories of people who have cut ties with their countries, never to return, facing unknown and distant cultures. The protagonists are involved in the social life. We will see how they adapt or not adapt and the motives that pushed them to leave their countries, family, friends, and so on.”
   The reasons for packing vary: there are those who needed to urgently flee something/someone out of the will for survival, those who were simply unsatisfied with their mundane existence, and, of course, those driven by a need for “adventure, discovery and inner enrichment”.
   Marco goes on to explain that the reader, “will have a real, live portrait of every country, useful for those who want to get an idea of what life is [like] in other countries, as opposed to the experience of a tourist or traveler who is not involved in social life.”
   The book is not only aimed at expats who can relate to the characters, but also those who might be considering becoming one of the characters – getting up and going to a distant land.
   “The book is a mix of adventure, information and also some practical advice for those who are considering just such a change,” says Roberto.

[Read a review from The South China Morning Post] [Read a review from the Jakarta News] [Read a review from the Pattaya Mail] [More Orchid Press Reviews]