Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth – Albert Podell
This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a serious accident atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.
After that, although it took him forty-seven more years-Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on Earth. He achieved this by surviving riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, robbers, pickpockets, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He went around, under, or through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and rats to dung beetles and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame attacks by crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs and several beautiful girlfriends who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.
Last Seen in Lhasa: The story of an extraordinary friendship in modern Tibet – Claire Scobie
Some go to Tibet seeking inspiration, others for adventure. The award-winning journalist, Claire Scobie, found both when she left her ordinary life in London and went to the Himalayas in search of a rare red lily. Her journey took her to Pemako, where few Westerners have set foot and where the myth of Shangri-la was born. It was here she became friends with Ani, an unusual Tibetan nun who was to change her life.
Through seven journeys in Tibet, Claire chronicles a rapidly changing world — where monks talk on mobiles and Lhasa’s sex industry thrives. But it is Ani, a penniless wanderer with a rich heart, who leaves an indelible impression. Together, in a culture where freedom of expression is forbidden, they risk arrest. And they forge an abiding friendship, based on intuition and deep respect.
Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World – Rita Golden Gelman
Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of Rita Golden Gelman, an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in cultures all over the world.
In 1986 she sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.
Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China – Colin Thubron
Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron sets off on a 10,000-mile journey from Beijing to Tibet, starting from a tropical paradise near the Burmese border to the windswept wastes of the Gobi desert and the far end of the Great Wall. What Thubron reveals is an astonishing diversity, a land whose still unmeasured resources strain to meet an awesome demand, and an ancient people still reeling from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.
The 8:55 to Baghdad – Andrew Eames
In 1928, Agatha Christie, the world’s most widely read author, was a thirty-something single mother. With her marriage to her first husband, Archie Christie, over, she decided to take a much needed holiday; the Caribbean had been her intended destination, but a conversation at a dinner party with a couple who had just returned from Iraq changed her mind. Five days later she was off on a completely different trajectory.
Merging literary biography with travel adventure, and ancient histroy with contemporary world events, Andrew Eames tells a riveting tale and reveals fascinating and little-known details en route in this exotic chapter in the life of Agatha Christie. His own trip from London to Baghdad–a journey much more difficult to make in 2002 with the political unrest in the Middle East and the war in Iraq, than it was in 1928–becomes ineluctably intertwined with Agatha’s, and the people he meets could have stepped out of a mystery novel.
The River’s Tale: A Year on the Mekong – Edward Gargan
Along the Mekong, from northern Tibet to Lijiang, from Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh to Can Lo, I moved from one world to another, among cultural islands often ignorant of each other’s presence. Yet each island, as if built on shifting sands and eroded and reshaped by a universal sea, was re-forming itself, or was being remoulded, was expanding its horizons or sinking under the rising waters of a cultural global warming. It was a journey between worlds, worlds fragiley conjoined by a river both ominous and luminescent, muscular and bosomy, harsh and sensuous.
From windswept plateaus to the South China Sea, the Mekong flows for three thousand miles, snaking its way through Southeast Asia. Long fascinated with this part of the world, former New York Times correspondent Edward Gargan embarked on an ambitious exploration of the Mekong and those living within its watershed. The River’s Tale is a rare and profound book that delivers more than a correspondent’s account of a place. It is a seminal examination of the Mekong and its people, a testament to the their struggles, their defeats and their victories.
In Siberia – Colin Thubron
In the early 1980s, Colin Thubron wrote a book about his travels around the Soviet Union in an old Morris Minor. In the late 90s, post–Soviet Union, he decided to explore Siberia—this time by truck, by bus, by boat. The result is an evocative account of an extraordinary region. He travels through exotic cities and deserted villages, meets nostalgic old Stalinists and aggressive Orthodox churchmen, and generally interweaves Siberia’s fascinating history with a description of the place today.