3 Adventurers Who Defied Human Limits

Are you impressed by those who thru-hike thousands of miles? Then, what do you think about these adventurers? Click on each name to see a brief review of their books, which are so much more than inspiring.

J. Robert Harris backpacked–often solo–on treks many would consider impossible.
Kate Harris rode a bicycle on a most incredible journey.
Julie Bradley sailed to places few would even consider–or survive.

Free Country: What a Ride!

Wearing just underwear emblazoned with the British flag, George Mahood and his buddy left Land’s End in southwest England without a penny, determined to bicycle to the northern tip of Great Britain. They would rely on the generosity and good hearts of the people, from pub owners and accommodation hosts to the police.

They would not solicit cash, but would accept meals, rooms, clothes, old bicycles and whatever else they needed. They would offer to wash dishes and do other work. They were out to prove that people are good.

If you have not read a book by George Mahood, you are in for a treat. His writing in Free Country is even more entertaining than his story’s premise and is powered by humor and down-to-earth human touches.

I doubt it will be the last George Mahood book you read.

Something New: Books and My Backpack

What’s in your backpack?

Get out your drum and give it a roll; my blog has a new name, Books and My Backpack. I offer you spoiler-free reviews of books that will take you on adventures around the world. Selections include the Pacific Crest Trail, Costa Rica, the Silk Road, and Mont Blanc.

If journeys of the mind are your thing, authors include the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Hesse, and Seneca. See the drop-down menu for a list of book titles (and quick links to each review).

There’s much more coming from the trails and pages ahead, so stay tuned.

Where am I in my wife Sue’s photo? In the Alps, taking a break from the Tour du Mont Blanc, which will be part of my next book. My first book is Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

I hope you like my blog’s new name. Have a suggestion for a book or a trail? Please send it along.

Bicycling Crusader Follows the Silk Road

She climbed to a peak of academia as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University and later as a scientist/graduate student at MIT. She dreamed of walking on Mars.

But for Kate Harris, work inside science laboratories could not satisfy her need to discover, so she and her best friend Mel set out to get lost in the world of exploration–for a year, bicycling the Silk Road of Marco Polo from Turkey to Tibet.

Thousands of miles, at altitudes higher than 17,000 feet, over every kind of terrain you can imagine, and through blazing heat and freezing snow. They eluded and tricked menacing military and police, adapted to cultures as different as they could be, and traversed geography as foreign to them as Mars. They found human compassion in many places, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China, Tibet, and Nepal as locals took them into their homes to save them from another night in their tent.

In Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road, Harris eloquently and humorously weaves history, science, and compelling anecdotes from her adventure that left my jaw hanging open.

As I have learned while walking the long-distance trails of Europe, the borders of cultures, countries and languages are lost when you step outside the comforts of everyday life and push yourself to, or even beyond, your limits. On the Silk Road, Kate Harris went well beyond the limits of most humans and her book made me want to load up my backpack and leave my borders behind.

(Click on the cover if you want to see the book on Amazon.)