I just finished reading Mark Shand’s Travels on my Elephant which is about his elephant named Tara whom he rode over six hundred miles across India to the Sonepur Mela, the world’s oldest elephant market. This is the journey that began a life of campaigning to provide vital migratory corridors for these magnificent creatures whose habitat is under constant assault from man. Michael Shand recently died very suddenly when he slipped and hit his head at a charity function. He was a very interesting figure indeed hence why news of his death led to me reading his book. Anyone who dedicates their time to protecting animals is a good person in my eyes but Mark was also a person who did not chose a conventional life and who really believed in his work which I respect greatly.

The book was excellent reading, it was funny and written so engagingly that the pages passed in a day. He wrote with no airs and graces yet his language was colourful and witty. I really found it quite inspirational and finished the book feeling like life can be an adventure and that it is worth slowing down and absorbing the world around me. Too often we get pulled into a world where we forget to stop and look, forget to take risks and not to become trapped by routine. Of course, Mark Shand had different options to many of us and had the chance to travel the world doing environmental work but actually we can all make choices and we can do our bit to highlight and fight for the charities or projects we feel are important, even if it is only a few minutes each week to sign a petition, to write to a politician, to contribute to a charity.

Available at “http://www.amazon.co.uk/Travels-My-Elephant-Mark-Shand/dp/1906011699″ Kindle version £5.99