Tom Sykes has been a travel writer and editor since the 2005 publication of No Such Th ing As A Free Ride?, an anthology of hitchhiking tales that he co-compiled for Cassell llustrated. Since his first visit to Ivory Coast in 2013, he has published articles on everything from the persecution of Ivorian Rastafarians to the 2015 presidential election for The Scotsman, The London Magazine, African Courier, British Guild of Travel Writers website, New Statesman, New Internationalist and New African (it seems that magazines with the word 'new' in their titles like his stuff ). Now Lecturer in Creative and Media Writing at the University of Portsmouth, UK, these days Tom has to do most of his travelling during the summer holidays. He is currently a coeditor of the Nesta-funded hyperlocal news project www.starandcrescent.org.uk and is working on a novel about memory, writing, relationships, living as an expat in Manila, and Western perceptions of the Philippines (and vice versa). My interest in Ivory Coast began by accident. Knowing nothing about the country, I was invited to teach at a university there, arrived to discover that I didn't have a lot to do and so got myself commissioned to travel around writing about my experiences for some of the publications mentioned above. Since about 2000, the Western media has only bothered to mention Ivory Coast when it descends into war, so it was no surprise that my friends and family members were worried about my going there. However, I'm pleased to report that ordinary Ivorians were immensely kind, tolerant and helpful. This was equally true of the most recent trip I made with the photographer Alexander Sebley in summer 2015. Indeed to this day, I've witnessed far more violence, petty crime, prejudice, bullying and intimidation in the Global North than in Ivory Coast or indeed any other part of the Global South. All my writing - this book included - aims to present a balanced and nuanced picture of a given place, celebrating the good things as well as explaining - never excusing - how the bad things came to be. In doing so I've tried to avoid the lazy stereotypes and generalisations that can sometimes be found in writing about Africa.