Over my years of reviewing I have enjoyed travelling across the world with several authors, while most of us are re-thinking our holiday options, I thought I’d take another look at a selection of my favourite travelogues.
Salt Water and Spear Tips by Thor F. Jensen. Thor’s world-record circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea in a traditional sailing canoe. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills by Patrick Rogers. Patrick goes to Northeast Indian in search of the people who grow living bridges from the roots of trees. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Hit the road Jac!: Seven years, twenty countries, no plan by Jacqui Furneaux. On her fiftieth birthday Jacquie took off travelling the world on an Enfield motorbike. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
In Foreign Fields: How Not To Move To France by Susie Kelly. Susie and her husband hoped to find paradise in the French countryside. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
A Visit to Gansu Province for the Chinese New Year by Helen Wallimann. Helen visited rural China and the man-made cave dwellings known as yaodong. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Fifty Miles Wide by Julian Sayarer. Julian cycled through Israel and Palestine meeting people from both sides of a troubled region. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Among Friends: Travels in Cuba by Heather Murray. An interesting look at Cuba from the author’s multiple trips which began in 2009. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Immersed in West Africa: A Solo Journey Across Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau by Terry Lister. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Adventure by Chicken Bus by Janet Losole is the memoir of a family who spent three years backpacking through central America. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Toubab Tales: The Joys and Trials of Expat Life in Africa by Rob Baker is set in Mali. Rob tours the country in search of its music and musical instruments. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
From A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journey join Janey de Nordwall, her cat and her 1970s VW campervan as they journey around Scotland. Read my review here or find it on Goodreads here.
Fifty Miles Wide is a travelogue about cycling through Israel and Palestine and meeting local people, hearing their stories as well as discovering the complicated history of the area.
Julian Sayarer met a mix of people on his journey: artists, refugees, soldiers, shop keepers and fellow cyclists. He gained insights into their daily lives, their struggles, their survival and their hopes for peace and a different future.
Sayarer blends the hard truths with poetic descriptions of nature and his experiences of one man and his bike on an open road. With this book he gently lends his voice to those whose stories need to be heard, and he tries to make sense of the plight of all these people who are living side-by-side with little room and a maelstrom of force just waiting to ignite.
I learnt a lot while reading this book and I shall remember it for a long time. My favourite parts were the stories from the people Sayarer met. I also liked the sections that described the scenery. I wasn’t so sure about some of the deeper philosophical thoughts that Sayarer had whilst on the open road, many were a little strange for me.
Overall, an interesting piece of travel writing and one I would recommend reading.
Ten years after breaking a world record for a circumnavigation by bicycle, award-winning travel writer Julian Sayarer returns to two wheels to write life at the roadsides of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. His journey weaves from fertile Mediterranean hills of the Galilee, down to the Bedouin of the sparse Naqab desert. He speaks with Palestinian hip-hop artists not sure if music can change their world, Israeli cycling activists who hope that bicycles can, and Palestinian cycle clubs determined to go on bike rides despite the military checkpoints that bar their way.
Riding through stories of Israel and Occupation in Palestine, talking to people at the roadside, the bicycle becomes a medium for more than just travel in this complex land, cutting through tensions to find truth, and some hope. The book reads as a meditation on making change; how people keep their spirit in dark times and continue to believe a different world is possible.