'5 Ways To Carry A Goat' book coverFour months. For four months I travelled the world relying purely on the kindness of people who had proved to not particularly like me. I stayed on couches, floors, air-mattresses, hammocks, and, occasionally, beds, in 14 different countries for my first book, Five Ways to Carry a Goat.

How did I get in touch with my generous/fool-hardy hosts? I write The Backpacker blog for the Fairfax newspapers, so back in January 2009, I put out a cry for help, asking overseas-based readers to drop me an email me if they were prepared to let me stay with them. I didn’t care where they were – if they were up for it, I’d find them.

I got an incredible 400 replies, and chose my itinerary based purely around where the most interesting-sounding people lived. I managed a full lap of the globe and, mild bout of alcohol poisoning aside, had one amazing time.

I’ve since distilled that four months of craziness into the 360 pages that make up Five Ways to Carry a Goat – which is out now. For more information, head here.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

christine easey May 12, 2010 at 11:34 am

Hi Ben
I am Chris your mum’s friend from her school days!! I am unable to buy a copy of your book direct from a bookseller here in the uk – unless you know differently – mum and dad have promised to bring me over a copy when they go to Scotland and Nikki and I are travelling there to meet them.
I do wish you a long lustrious career as a writer.
Good luck for a successful book

Kathryn May 25, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Hi Ben,
I enjoyed the travel writing forum at the writer’s fest last night, that’s some sound advice bro!
Happy travels,

Shelly Perkins June 9, 2010 at 4:16 am

Hi Ben,

I just wanted to say that your book is fantastic!! I had many ‘laugh out loud’ moments [read continuous giggling] much to the amusement of the other customers at my hairdressers!

I have passed your book on to family and friends who have also loved it. (Mind you, I did have to explain to my father-in-law how an S&M party differs from a B&S!)

Well Done!!


Claire Devlin June 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Hey Ben!
Love this site… going straight to the Favourites!

Linda June 16, 2010 at 3:34 am

Hi Ben, am currently engrossed in your book…I heard you talking on 702 here in Sydney and then the next day came across your book at work (I work in a Library!) so decided I was meant to read it. Given the amount of books I see and read every day, I’m not often moved to write a “fan” letter to authors, but in this case…….congratulations, its a great read, am loving it….well done. Looking forward to the next one. Hope it sells really well for you.

Jean July 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Great book Ben.. the title did it for me! .. LOVE your articles in the Herald as well.. keep them flowing.. where to next? … I see you don’t have info on Vietnam?.. or S. Africa?… go Ben!

Rosie August 31, 2010 at 2:48 am

I found your book in a random hippie-run bookshop in North Queensland…it has become the book I recommend to anyone looking for a good read. Brilliant work!
I read it over my holiday break and my rate of weird looks while in saunas accumulated from 0 to 15.
My boyfriend is reading my copy right now because I made him and he is thoroughly enjoying it.
Keep them coming :)

Andrea Preziotti October 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

Ben, so glad to see that the book has been published. Any chance of it being sold stateside?

Hoping you are well!


Alannah Shore October 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Hi Ben,
I just finished reading your book this afternoon, which I borrowed from my local library. Very funny….love the perspective from an Aussie. Glad you got to drink lots of beer! If you decide to do a tour of QLD, my long lounge suite would fit you just fine, but you would have to cope with our four kids! DD, 19, 16, 7 and DS 4! Plenty of beer here, no pot, and we are not vegetarians!! :) Alannah in sunny Central QLD.

Chris November 3, 2010 at 5:48 am

I just finished your book no more than 5 minutes ago and thought I would jump online to look at the photos.

Thank you for the journey your book has taken me on, it’s now time for my own – which was my sole reason for the impulsive purchase, to book a ticket and become emerged in what I find.

All the best with your future writing pursuits, and thanks again for sharing your inspiring experience.


bengroundwater November 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Thanks Chris, glad you enjoyed it. All the best with your travels!

Brad November 30, 2010 at 5:40 am

Hey Ben, are you coming to the SMH sport Xmas party on Friday night. Extreme chance of alcohol poisoning if you do.

Nisha December 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Have just finished reading “…..Goat” and wanted to let you know it’s the most enjoyable book I’ve read in ages. I’m normally a strictly fiction reader, but your tales were stranger!

Maya Sydney January 3, 2011 at 4:48 am

Ben, I got given your book as a present earlier this year. As I have started a groundwater business, I thought it was ‘fate’ that someone should give me a book where that is the author’s name! I’m nearing the end of the book now, am up to page 288 and will be sorry to say goodbye. It’s been a great ride travelling with you. Have loved your tales! Just went online, and have enjoyed the photos too, but the words really do tell the better story. Thanks for the fun, Maya

bengroundwater January 10, 2011 at 1:58 am

Haha, thanks Maya, glad you enjoyed it, and good luck with the groundwater!

bengroundwater January 10, 2011 at 1:59 am

Much appreciated Nisha, thanks!

Natalie January 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I have not laughed so hard from reading an account of travel stories in forever. I gave everyone I know a copy of your book for Xmas and they’ve all passed it on as well. Can’t wait for the next one and hearing about all the new shenanigans you get up to! Keep the stories (and blogs) coming!

Emma March 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Just finished 5 mins ago. Great stuff!! Extremely jealous of your travels . Like others I had to explain my many ‘laugh out loud’ moments. I hope you write another!!!

bengroundwater April 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Emma, really glad you enjoyed it. There’s another in the planning stages!

Poptart April 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Five Ways to Carry a Goat=My new favourite book.
I am suggesting it to practically everyone I know. My friends are sick of me reading out the funny parts, because they happen so often!

bengroundwater April 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks Poptart, glad to hear you enjoyed it!

LibraryLord October 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I loved the book and your insights. One correction though, the team the Staten Island Yankees played was the Lowell (Massachusetts) Spinners not Loowin.

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