"Straying from the flock" is an "armchair traveller" book, where Dr. Elder tells of his two month journey around New Zealand. Although he also travels in a rented car, his trip is a bit different from ours. While we're more of the backpacker type, focusing on treks and intending to sleep in backpacker hostels and trek huts, the author is an older guy, much classier and with higher standards. His main interest, it seems, is in food, wine, views and meeting local people. He does the trip in winter (we'll be there in the summer) and stays almost exclusively in home stays and farm stays (kind of bed and breakfast where you also eat dinner and spend the evening together with the hosting family).

The places he visits are more on less on our route - a circle around the south island, and then most of the highlights of the north island. He even manages to fly to Australia in the middle for a week of work and to Cook Islands in the end to "bask in the sun" a little before the return to the US. In his narrative the author includes a lot of interesting historic and geographic details, which is a huge advantage for a book of this type. Reading a book which is both entertaining and informative is truly great.

The low points are the occasional lengthy streaks of "I ate X for lunch, then worked and smoked a cigar, then Y for dinner. The next morning I ate Z for breakfast..." etc. All in all, however, this book is highly recommended for people intending to visit New Zealand.