Reading and Speaking dates
I've read from my travel memoirs in various venues mostly in East Anglia and Surrey; details of forthcoming speaking dates that are open to the public are posted on the News page. As ever I'll bring along a supply of my books which I can sell at discount.
Thus far, I have also given talks and lectures in Antananarivo, Arhus, Ashford, Birmingham, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Cambourne, Chester, Cottenham, Cranfield University, Dhaka, Dehra Dun, Edinburgh, Ely, Hadleigh, Huntingdon, Hyderabad (Sindh), Innsbruck, Kathmandu, de Montfort University in Leicester, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London Zoo, Luton, Newcastle, Olympia, Oxford University, Plymouth, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Physicians, Royal Geographical Society, in Saffron Walden, at Sawston, Silsoe, Shelford, Shrivenham, Southampton, Stoneleigh, Sutton, Tewksbury, Tiruchchirappalli, University College London, Wisbech and York.
My health / medical teaching commitments are varied: from one-to-one medical student tutorials to presentations to back-packers to lecturing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Recently I've taught at Oxford, Cambridge and Cranfield Universities and at University College, London. I am also involved with several voluntary organisations who train for development work including VSO.
The very worthy Engineers without Borders, a voluntary organisation who train for development work often ask me to speak, usually on the subject of Staying Healthy and Effective Overseas; see: www.ewb-uk.org/cambridge for future talks. I also give illustrated lecutures to Cambridge students and alumni on 'Health and Welfare in the Field' as well as Cranfield University post-graduates.
Each year I also run interactive teaching sessions on (i) prevention of diarrhoeal disease, (ii) maternal mortality and also (iii) personal health and preparing for overseas work. This is part of the student selected international health short course at the Institute of Public Health, Addenbrooke's Teaching Hospital, Cambridge. The participants are fourth year medical students. I also taught first year Cambridge medical students about general practice in the Preparing for Patients module.
Last October I addressed the British Global & Travel Health Association annual scientific meeting in Bristol. I was lead to believe I was talking on coping with the squits in the absence of first world lavatorial facilities, but I was been billed - most politely - as speaking on Practical Problems for the Traveller.
My medical knowledge and travel experience makes me much in demand to write about staying healthy overseas. You'll find me, for example, on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/Conditions/travellersdiarrhoea. I have written a double page feature on most aspects of travel health for almost every issue of the glossy travel magazine Wanderlust since it was first launched 1993; so far they have published 179 of my features plus innumerable Q&As, reviews and other snippets. The forthcoming Wanderlust health feature is on extended travel including round-the-world trips. The Independent newspapers print my travel pieces on occasion, and a selection of my articles has appeared in Condé Nast Traveller. I have also written a ‘How to…’ travel health column with a natural history slant for BBC Wildlife magazine, an illustrated three-page feature about David appeared in the Guardian and I composed a piece about travelling with children for the Geographical magazine.
Have a look at my short peice on Iceland in www.simonseeks.com; I've contributed health chapters to two Cadogan guides (Amazon and Tanzania & Zanzibar) and most of Bradt’s travel guides. You'll find my work, for example, in recent editions of Bradt guides to The Amazon, Argentina, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, China: Yunnan Province, Congo (without ackowledgement), Costa Rica, Dominica, Ethiopia (without ackowledgement), Eritrea, The Gambia, Guyana, Kenya, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Northern Tanzania, Peru & Bolivia, Rwanda, Ukraine, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar.
As a member of the editorial sub-committee of the British Global & Travel Health Association, I help with the BGTHA Journal and also the quarterly Travelwise newsletter. I also offer criticism of academic papers that are submitted for publication in the international, peer-reviewed Transactions of the Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and several other academic journals. From time to time I am also commissioned to write review papers or chapters for educational publications aimed at doctors, nurses, pharmacists and sometimes even engineers (see my scientific publications page).
News and Musings
15th January 2012 - new books
The year 2012 started exceedingly well for me and I celebrated by concocting a pseudo-author blog, or is it an author pseudo-blog? I'd signed a contract with Bradt Travel Guides so they could publish a global edition of A Glimpse of Eternal Snows so my memoir set in Nepal will travel to North America for the first time and it'll be distributed properly in Britain too. This fresh incarnation is part of a new series of travel writing launched by Bradt.
The beautiful Australian edition of Glimpse did well in the Antipodes, classified as I was as a Women Against the Odds. It sold despite the challenges of promoting a book from the other side of the world. It was exciting working with a publisher whom I know and trust - authors can be treated like disposable comodities sometimes - and also one with a social conscience too.
Founder Hilary Bradt is a friend - we have trekked together in Nepal - and Bradt Travel Guide's commissioning editor happens to be the lovely lady who was editorial director at Cadogan Guides all those years ago when I first signed up with them to write Bugs Bites & Bowels. I'm sure it wasn't in Rachel's job description but she ended up holding my one-month-old baby while I spoke at Stanford's Travel Book Shop in Covent Garden, London when we launched the first edition.
17th January 2012 - Place names
Just back from giving a talk at Cranfield University in Wiltshire, I felt like I'd pretty much driven the width of the country. The trip reminded me of the odd names we have in England. Just south of where I live, there are the villages of Nasty and Ugley - opening up opportunities for local newspaper headlines like NASTY MAN WEDS UGLEY WOMAN. Close by there is Shellow Bowells (where does that come from?), Yelling, Little Snoring, Grunty Fen, Wort's Causeway and Sandy, Beds. I'm sure there are many other gems.
29th January 2012 - Mad Reunion
There has just been a significant anniversary of the CROCODILE CAVES OF MADAGASCAR EXPEDITION and last weekend six of the original team gathered. Our expedition yielded a clutch of academic papers, a fine spread in BBC Wildlife magazine, a book - Lemurs of the Lost World, and most important of all we also achieved proper protection of the crucial Ankarana Reserve in the north of the island. So what did we talk about most?
Food... We reminisced about the awfulness of rice and bean stew dinners; we spoke of breakfasts of left-over cold boiled rice - topped with sugar or if we were feeling particularly decadent - tutti-fruitti jam, and we recalled the glorious moment (after the dried bananas had run out) when Sally Crook arrived at base camp with Mars chocolate bars for all.
The others reminded me too of the Puke-bird. I don't remember the species but it called an increasingly frenetic caw-caw-caw-Caw-CAW and climaxed - unappetisingly - in a sound resembling someone retching.
Sharing time with people on expeditions, you see people at their best and at their worst (retching for example). Small thoughtfulnesses are long-remembered. Lasting friendships form. So, comfortable in each others company even after years apart, we spent a wonderfully no-airs-or-graces relaxed and enjoyable weekend together. It was a good reunion; well I thought so anyway. It was only sad that the team remain so intrepid that others were away in interesting places. Take a look at Paul's website for example www.paul-d-stewart.co.uk
9th February 2012 - I'm still expecting
The crazy thing about publishing - and about anything to do with publishing - is that there are bursts of frenetic activity than total silence, until the next mad phase. The colour version of the cover of the northern hemisphere edition A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is finished and I'm delighted. The artist simplified his first draft to mirror the almost child-like style of Tharu artwork in West Nepal and has added suitably rich colours, in combinations of green, orange, pink and blue that conjure the vibrancy of the Gangetic Plains. Now there will be a lull while the editors get to work. Meanwhile I've been sifting through photos from our six years living in Nepal and have posted more in my Glimpse photo-gallery. I've organised them so that the order of the pictures follow the chapters of the book.
12th Feb - Encounter on the Cam
The cox shouts ‘Easy oars,’ and we glide in to the bank to better hear what our coach has to say. I’m distracted. Mr Asbo looks angry this morning. Patrolling his patch of the river, his gleaming pure-white feathers reflect in the still water beneath the weeping willow. With wings slightly raised in authority, he cruises downstream towards another swan, a swan with a slender neck. With her is a signet from last year; two-thirds white now, he’s almost lost his grey fluff. The alpha male approaches the other adult swan. I expect a fight, a showdown at least. They bow to each other. From where I sit, their curved necks describe a heart-shape. They touch bills and chatter them together, uttering tender, intimate sounds. When they part, Mr Asbo is calm, his wings furled. He moves at the tip of an arrowhead of ripples. He is serene. He won’t go for us as we row on this morning. Not this time.
Further blogs are in the relevant part of this site, for example here In Diavata Camp