Here are five books that have inspired me to get out the house and go on a serious adventure. Reading one of these books will bring out your motivation to explore our planet!
1. On the Trail of Genghis Khan, By Tim Cope
This is one serious modern day adventure. In this book, Tim Cope recalls a journey of over 10,000km on horse-back from Mongolia to Hungary. Over a three year journey, Tim lives like a nomad building an inseparable bond with his horses and a dog (Tigon) who joined him along the way. This trip is no easy feat; Tim learns to fend off wolves and horse-thieves, survive extreme sub-zero temperatures and the scorching deserts of the Steppe. The effects of Stalin’s push for industrialisation on the Steppe is vividly recalled. Be sure to look out for Tim Cope’s other book; Off the Rails, where Tim and his friend Chris travel on recumbent bicycles from Moscow to Beijing.
2. Jupiters Travels, By Ted Simon
This dated book has inspired many people to adventure, including Ewan McGregor (have a look for Long Way Round and Long Way Down). In the 70’s, Ted Simon packed up everything, climbed on a Triumph and travelled most of the planet for four years, travelling 120,000km through 45 countries! The stories covered are nothing short of amazing, including being locked up in a Brazilian jail. Ted has written a second book; Dreaming of Jupiter, where he embarks on a similar journey at the age of 70, proving you’re never too old to adventure!
3. The Long Walk, by Sławomir Rawicz
This is a story about a more forced adventure, but still fires up motivation to start trekking. Sławomir Rawicz was a Polish army lieutenant who claims to have a escaped a Russian Gulag north of Lake Baikal with six others during 1941. Travelling by foot, the group made their way to India via the Gobi desert, Tibet and the Himalayas. A lot of controversy surrounds this book; whether or not it’s true, it’s still an amazing read. The film, The Way Back directed by Peter Weir, was inspired by Sławomir Rawicz’s story.
. Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer
Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer and his companion Peter were imprisoned in British internment camp in India during WWII during an expedition. The story covers their escape to Lhasa across Tibet where they largely depended on the generosity of villagers in order to survive. Heinrich eventually became a friend and tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama, and they flee Tibet together during the Chinese invasion. A truly amazing story. Be sure to watch Seven Years in Tibet directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
5. Into the wild, by Jon Krakauer
In this book Jon Krakauer tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, whose ultimate adventure eventually led to his death. Chris literally gave up everything and hitchhiked to the Stampede trail in Alaska; a worthy rebel against today’s society. Surviving for 119 days in a derelict bus in the Alaskan wilderness, this story is every adventurers dream (apart from the death part). Directed by Sean Penn, the story has also been adapted into a movie.
Written by Shane Vontelin van Breda