Bad Karma is the true account of the experiences of author Tamara Sheward and her best friend Elissa as they explore Southeast Asia in search of places undiscovered by other backpackers like themselves. Along the way, they cross paths some extremely colorful characters and realize just how impossible it is to escape Western culture.

Though the writing is lighthearted and Sheward has a knack for capturing the futility of it all with a wry sense of humor, this book couldn’t quite hold my attention. I’m not sure if it was the fact that everything felt contrived after the first few chapters or the lack of interest in more educational topics surrounding the places they chose to visit.

It was written like a work of buddy comedy fiction, which is far more entertaining than most travelogues. It just seems as though Sheward may have taken it too far in that direction and lost track of bringing to life the humanity of the locales and the people.

Grade: C+

Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia is currently available.