Richard Halliburton

This author has been called the “grandfather of travel writing” – but is he really that good?

At first I really liked this book. RH reminded me of Patrick Leigh Fermor, who set out as a young man to see the world and find adventure. And RH seemed even more extreme in the way was willing to embrace hardship, sometimes apparently looking for disaster. I appreciated that, and I still do…


Nadine Hudson

Why does too much often mean too little?

NH is a woman in her twenties from Switzerland who is struggling with mental health issues, most notably an eating disorder. She decides to embark on a backpacking trip through Asia. She travels on her own for a while, then she runs into a British traveler, marries him, and they continue to go on…

Fabian Sixtus Körner - "Journeyman"

Fabian Sixtus Körner

Do photos, a lot of countries and a slick design make for a good book?

It is the turn of the first decade of the 21st century, and Fabian Sixtus Körner is a young designer from Germany who wants to see the world. He hears of the German tradition of the “journeyman years”, where young men, after completing their apprenticeship in the crafts, set out to roam about the country and learn from other masters. A sort of medieval “work & travel” if you will, a tradition that is still…

Brian Dawtrey's "Voyage To Wild Africa"

Brian Dawtrey

What’s the difference between telling anecdotes and writing a book?

We’re right at the end of WW2, and Brian Dawtrey is a young man from England who is crazily in love with a girl. He writes her a ton of letters. – cut – It’s four years later, and BD has married the girl and his living with her on a farm. They have children. It’s a version of European farm life in the 1950s. – cut – We’re now at he beginning of the sixties. It’s the end of the colonial age, and for some reason, he has taken his family to…

Nicole Roetheli's - "Nicole's Diary: Running the World... Losing Our Marbles"

Nicole Roetheli

Is this in any way comparable to the works of Ella Maillart?

Remember Serge Roetheli, the guy who fabulously ran around the world and wrote a book about it that just wasn’t that good? Well, NR is his wife, the person who kept…

Serge Roetheli's - "The 25,000 Mile Love Story"

Serge Roetheli

How can a book about a man running around the whole world be so… bad?

We’re in 1997, and Serge Roetheli has just returned from running all the way from South America to Alaska. He was accompanied by his wife on a motorcycle, and since this “American Challenge” is now behind them, they decide to…

Xiao Peng's "Ten Years Of Backpacking"

Xiao Peng

If this guy writes so well and goes to so many cool places, then just why is this book he wrote so bad?

Xiao Peng is a young Chinese white-collar worker who decides that he wants to see the world. He first travels around China, then ends up as an exchange student in the Netherlands. From there, he sets out to…

San Mao's "Stories From The Sahara"

San Mao

Was she just a traveler, or did she become a sort of archetype of all female Chinese travel writers?

In the mid-70s, San Mao is a young woman from Taiwan who adopts the English name “Echo” and spends some time living in the Western Sahara with her Spanish husband José. This book is about her day-to-day adventures among the local population, and more than…

Andrew McCarthy's "The Longest Way Home"

Andrew McCarthy

Is it possible to write a whole a book like a Roxette song, and if it is, should you read it?

Andrew McCarthy is an American actor, a recovering alcoholic, a divorced father and a dude who is about to get married again. But he’s also a restless travel writer. So when his new marriage looms at…

David Livingstone's "Travel Diaries"
East Africa

David Livingstone

Should this collection of diary entries be edited into a more readable book?

David Livingstone is a missionary and explorer who sets out to discover the source of the Nile. He starts in Sansibar, makes his way through some of East Africa, discovers a couple of lakes and rivers, but never finds the true source of…

Jehan de Mandeville's "The Travels"
Central Asia

Jehan de Mandeville

Why is it so much fun to read Medieval travel stories that we know are at least partly untrue?

Jehan de Mandeville claims to have traveled around much of the known (and unknown) world of his time. Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, China – you name the place, and he almost surely…

Matt Harding's "Where The Hell Is Matt?"

Matt Harding

Could we have expected this dancing/travel book to be a bit more rich in content?

Matt Harding is a young game designer based in Australia who suddenly starts “looking for something” and picks up the delightful hobby of traveling. He lives on a tight budget and tapes himself dancing in various places around the world, and the resulting…

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta's "The Travels"
Central Asia

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta

Did conservative ethics turn this great adventure story into such a slow read?

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta is only a very young man when he embarks on his hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But he doesn’t stop there. Instead he goes on and on and on, and several travels during the next three decades will take him almost everywhere in…

Nigel Barley's "The Innocent Anthropologist"
Central Africa

Nigel Barley

Does humor always bring people together, or can it sometimes alienate us from our surroundings?

British ethnologist Nigel Barley does two years of field research in a small village of Cameroon. This might sound simple, but in fact it takes him two years to even get there, mainly because the bureaucratic obstacles are just too…

Fernão Mendes Pinto's "Pilgrimage"

Fernão Mendes Pinto

If this is a great classic in Portuguese literature, why is it such a slow read?

This book was a big success in Europe during the 17th and 18th century. It was published a few decades after Fernão Mendes Pinto’s death and describes the quixotic ways…