The launch of Fluffy Towel Travels

filed28 Sep 2011 from Carmen Jenner CategoriesCultural, Travelling, World

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I will also have a stall at the Festival of Christmas markets at the Perth Cultural Centre on 9th December. Well done to  Events and Beyond for utilising Perth’s public spaces with cultural events

My travel memoir, Fluffy Towel Travels was launched on 21st October at Quinlan’s Cafe Fremantle in a flurry of wine, tales, beauty, breasts, and art. An enormous thanks to Shiona Herbert and her Breastique Art crew for arranging the event which drew 200+ punters through the door and raised funds for Breast Cancer Care WA.

The light-hearted travel memoir takes the reader to Bali, Paris, Sri Lanka, Broome, Vietnam, Shanghai, and tells a quirky story about why I don’t like camping. Because I appreciate your support, here’s a sneaky peek…

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”– Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

While travel is certainly an eye-opening experience and can often lead to an incurable wanderlust, it’s not a right or a need. You won’t die if you don’t visit Angkor Wat. I haven’t visited the Taj Mahal yet and I’m fine. Travel is a privilege, and when faced with the extreme you’ll understand this better than ever and feel blessed for having the opportunity to leave behind the trappings of the mundane. Or it will leave you clinging onto the knowledge that you can return to the regularity of home. Either way, you’ll end up with an appreciation of travel, even if it’s to never leave home again.

Apart from a sense of humour and an open mind, you’ll need a towel through-out the duration of your journey. Sometimes the towels won’t be fluffy as my chapter on “When to ditch the fluffy towel,” demonstrates. Although perhaps you actually enjoy the challenge of roughing it, there is no harm if you do, unless your roommates object; if a room does in fact exist.

I may never understand the appeal of sleeping on the ground or sharing a room with smelly strangers, especially when there are perfectly good beds and hot showers with fluffy towels available. Travel already takes you out of your comfort zone. No longer exists the routine, the familiarity of home, or your friends and family; unless you’ve brought them along. The language and currency could be different; the food may be strange, even the smells will seem odd. A bit of comfort will make you a more agreeable travelling companion and allow you to cope better with whatever you’re confronted with on your travels. After all, travel consists of a lot more than magical nights, awe-inspiring monuments, and astounding views. You never know when you’re going to encounter a “strag”, lay your towel upon a bed with questionable linen, wrap it around yourself for warmth or modesty, or for something as practical as drying yourself.

At some point in time, you’ll return home refreshed and with a greater appreciation for all the reasons you left in the first place. In the meantime, and until you save up for your next adventure, please share your experiences, especially the awful and embarrassing ones, because let’s face it, they make the best stories.
Tell me all about your weird and wonderful encounters at and keep up-to-date with mine at

And don’t forget a man (or a woman, child, or other) with a towel is a force to be reckoned with; especially a fluffy one on inter-galactic travels.

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