What I’ve been reading recently
Blood River – A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart
Inspired by the famous expedition of H.M. Stanley, Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher set out on a daring attempt to cross the Congo which was could only be described as ‘suicidal’. Setting out for the Congo’s eastern border with just a rucksack and a few thousand dollars hidden in his boots, he made his way in an assortment of vehicles including a motorbike and dugout canoe in an attempt to replicate a near impossible feat.
Jake Adelstein is the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club. For over 12 years he covered the dark side of Japan which included extortion, human trafficking, fiscal corruption and the notorious yakuza. It wasn’t until publishing a major scoop which resulted in a multiple threats on his life that he decided to step down. Tokyo Vice delivers an unprecedented and intriguing look into the underbelly of Japanese culture.
Three Cups of Tea
After a failed attempt to ascend K2, the world’s second largest mountain, Greg Mortenson found himself wandering through an isolated and impoverished Pakistan village. Lost, alone and exhausted, he was taken in by the chief elder and nursed back to health. From that moment, he vowed to one day return and build a school for the village children. That was the start of an incredible humanitarian effort, where one man had to overcome fatwa’s, kidnappings and multiple death threats to build schools throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Veteran shoestring traveller Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel. This book is a must for anyone new to the concept of long term travel. With tips for financing your trip, determining your destination, adjusting to life on the road, working and volunteering overseas, handling travel adversity and re-assimilating back into ordinary life, it’s the ultimate how-to travel book.
The story of a wolf cub which finds itself the sole survivor of a litter, White Fang is a beautifully written tale of survival, courage and the friendship between man and animal. While it doesn’t make me want to go live an off-the-grid existence in the Canadian wilderness, it does portray a beautiful and harsh picture of Northern Canada.
The Places In Between
Written by Scottish author Rory Stewart, it’s a travel narrative about his walk across Northern Afghanistan in 2002. Starting out in Herat and ending up in Kabul, while following the Hari river from east to west, it’s a gripping story of an on-foot journey through some of the most isolated and rugged places on earth.