Around the World Books

The first time I read a book about a trip around the world — Who Needs a Road? — I ended up making contact with the author, Harold Stephens, became friends at a distance, and visited him and his family in Bangkok.

I am, what you might call, an involved reader of around the world odysseys.

My most recent around the world read is The Seven Year Hitch: A Family Odyssey.

While Harold did his trip in a Toyota Land Cruiser, the Grant family made theirs in a horse-drawn caravan. And they made their voyage about 30 years later.

While perhaps a more daunting challenge in many ways — keeping a horse alive and healthy, along with engaging the lives of three kids and a wife (who doesn’t really want to be on the trip, it quickly develops) appears somewhat more difficult than keeping a Land Cruiser on the road — Harold’s tale is the more interesting of the two: he got into more scrapes, had more adventures, and is a more interesting writer.

The Hitch book really fades out in the home stretch — the journey from California to Halifax, and across the ocean home to Scotland is covered in very brief form, especially compared to sections like “our time in Slovenia,” which go on at great length about the minutae of everyday life. Perhaps the author was in a hurry? Or maybe North America isn’t all that interesting.

Although I’m not prompted to hitch up the wagon, I am interested in finding more contemorary “travel around the world books.” An search turns up a couple of interesting looking books (along with lots of less useful ones like Do’s and Taboos Around the World for Women in Business).

If you know of others, please drop me a line.