Tequila Oil


Hugh Thomson - 2009
    Just as the alcohol hits your stomach, the chilli will as well and blow it back into your brain. It will take your head off.' Explorer Hugh Thomson takes on Mexico.It's 1979, Hugh Thomson is eighteen, far from home, with time to kill - and on his way to Mexico. When a stranger tells him there's money to be made by driving a car over the US border to sell on the black market in Central America, Hugh decides to give it a go.Throwing himself on the mercy of Mexicans he meets or crashes into, Hugh and his Oldsmobile 98 journey through the region, meeting their fate in the slums of Belize City.Thirty years on, Hugh returns - older but not necessarily wiser - to complete his journey.

Narrow Minds - Adventures on a narrow boat (Narrow Boat Books)


Marie Browne - 2011
    Great for anyone dreaming of doing something a little different from the norm.’ Alice Griffin, author of Tales from a Travelling Mum In her debut memoir Narrow Margins Marie Browne saved her family from financial ruin by moving her long-suffering husband three children and a dog on to a houseboat called Happy Go Lucky in search of a less stressful, alternative way of life.Now in Narrow Minds the family find themselves sucked back into normality, they’re pretty much back where they started, horrible house, no boat and the kids are beginning to threaten mutiny.Facing perky postmen, ice skating cows, psychotic villagers and outraged rodents, they’re running out of time, their financial situation is getting desperate and there’s every chance life has conspired against them to make sure they never get back afloat. Until they find the answer to their dreams lies with Minerva, a narrow boat even more run-down than the first. This hilarious follow-up shows the lengths to which a desperate woman will go just to restore her preferred lifestyle.

The Gringo Trail


Mark Mann - 1999
    Through dense forests, daunting mountains, and pristine beaches, the trio makes its way — in a drug-induced haze. Soon the drugs become an all-consuming addiction that changes the lives of Mann and his friends forever. This is an engaging travelogue and frank memoir evokes the magical realism of South American literature. “Darkly comic, ultimately shocking, and packed with astute observations.” — Geographical

Walking to Canterbury: A Modern Journey Through Chaucer's Medieval England


Jerry Ellis - 2003
    Before the Archbishop’s blood dried on the Cathedral floor, the miracles began. The number of pilgrims visiting his shrine in the Middle Ages was so massive that the stone floor wore thin where they knelt to pray. They came seeking healing, penance, or a sign from God. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, one of the greatest, most enduring works of English literature, is a bigger-than-life drama based on the experience of the medieval pilgrim. Power, politics, friendship, betrayal, martyrdom, miracles, and stories all had a place on the sixty mile path from London to Canterbury, known as the Pilgrim’s Way.Walking to Canterbury is Jerry Ellis’s moving and fascinating account of his own modern pilgrimage along that famous path. Filled with incredible details about medieval life, Ellis’s tale strikingly juxtaposes the contemporary world he passes through on his long hike with the history that peeks out from behind an ancient stone wall or a church. Carrying everything he needs on his back, Ellis stops at pubs and taverns for food and shelter and trades tales with the truly captivating people he meets along the way, just as the pilgrims from the twelfth century would have done. Embarking on a journey that is spiritual and historical, Ellis reveals the wonders of an ancient trek through modern England toward the ultimate goal: enlightenment.

Swahili for the Broken-Hearted


Peter Moore - 2002
    In the grand tradition of 19th-century scoundrelas, explorers and romantics, Africa strikes him as the ideal place to find solitude and anonymity in the face of a personal crisis.What follows is Peter's journey from one end of the Dark Continent to the other. Travelling the fabled Cape Town to Cairo route by any means of transport he can blag (or if he must, pay) his way onto, it's an epic trek that sees our intrepid Antipodean experience everything from the southernmost city in Africa to the Pyramids, vast game parks and thundering falls, cosmopolitan cities and tiny villages as he journeys through the very heart of Africa. And travelling on his own, it's inevitable that Peter falls in with a motley cast of characters and has a myriad misadventures: including coming face to face with a wild Hyena with very bad breath, crossing the treacherous Sani Pass, the highest in Africa, narrowly escaping a riot by hiding in a coffin shop, saving oil-covered Penguins in South Africa, acting as an extra in a WW2 epic, not to mention dodging 20,000 single woman trying to catch the eye of the king of Swaziland during the annual Reed Dance. And then there was the time when he was kicked out of Robert Mugabe's birthday bash at gunpoint...

Three Letters from the Andes


Patrick Leigh Fermor - 1991
    His adventure took him from Cuzco to Urubamba, on to Puno and Juli on Lake Titicaca, down to Arequipa and finally back to Lima. The expedition was led by a writer and poet and the party included a Swiss international skier and jeweller, a social anthropologist from Provence and a Nottinghamshire farming squire - all seasoned mountaineers. The other two participants - the author himself and a botany-loving duke - were complete novices. As the group travelled from Lima into increasingly remote parts of the country, Leigh Fermor captured their experiences in a series of letters to his wife. Whether recounting the thrill of crossing a glacier, the rigours of campsite life under a blanket of snow, their lively encounters with locals or the strangely moving sight of a lone condor circling in the sky, the author vividly conveys the excitement of discovery and the intense uniqueness of the land.

The Cannibal Queen: A Flight Into The Heart Of America


Stephen Coonts - 1992
    In The Cannibal Queen, he turns his storytelling genius to nonfiction with an exultant account of three glorious months in the summer of ‘91 spent in the cockpit of a 1942 Stearman vintage biplane. Joining the ranks of John Steinbeck and Charles Kuralt, Coonts takes us on an extraordinary adventure, touching down in all forty-eight of the continental United States. On a clear, sunny Saturday in June, Coonts and his fourteen-year-old son David take off from Boulder, Colorado, in a 1942 Stearman open cockpit biplane, “a noisy forty-nine-year-old wood and canvas crate with a naked floozy painted on the side.” The Queen started life as a World War II primary trainer then spent over thirty years as an agricultural spray plane before being lovingly restored. For Coonts, who’s logged thousands of hours in the Navy’s most sophisticated aircraft, the Queen is flying as he’s never known it before—flying close the earth, the wind teasing his helmet, equipped with little more than a map and a compass. First stop is a Stearman fly-in in St. Francis, Kansas. there amid the barbecues and barber-shop quartets, the tree lined streets with their modest homes, Coonts feels nostalgia for small-town America, for a way of life he felt was dying. Yet, by the end of the journey, having met the friendly, richly individual people in towns large and small across the land, he knows our nation has weathered her first two hundred years remarkably well, and he is filled with hope for the future of this vast and varied land. First published in 1992, The Cannibal Queen was Coonts’ first venture into nonfiction and is hailed today as a classic flying story. Coonts captures the joy and wonder of flight on every page. Over half the fan mail he has received through the years has been about this book. You owe it to yourself to go flying with Stephen Coonts.

Last Flight Out: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing


Randy Wayne White - 2002
    Now Randy's back in Last Flight Out, a brand-new collection of essays keeping us up to date on his latest excursions.Randy White is a "mover" and has no time for people who can't keep up. Join him as he dives in the infamous lake called the Bad Blue Hole on the desolate Cat Island in the Bahamas. Search for the perfect hot pepper in Colombia, and closer to home, go raccoon hunting in Pioneer, Ohio, where the hunted almost always outsmart the hunters. Get in the ring with Shine Forbes, an eighty-year-old fighter in prime condition and Ernest Hemingway's former sparring partner, and go on a secret mission to steal back General Manuel Noriega's bar stools. Though he rarely finds what he's looking for-such as the half-human, half-alligator creature known as "Gatorman"-he cultivates his unique ability to revel in the unique and comical situations of each exotic trip.From a jungle survival school in Panama to a week at a professional wrestler's training camp, White leaves the reader mesmerized by the potential of undiscovered places and the promise of endless adventure in unfamiliar territory. An icon of the new breed of thick-skinned, high endurance travelers, Randy White is the real deal.

Libby: The Alaskan Diaries and Letters of Libby Beaman 1879-1880


Libby Beaman - 1989
    Based on her diary, the tale of Libby, her husband, and the powerful first officer is told in all its passion. 20 line drawings.

In Wonderland


Knut Hamsun - 1903
    This detailed travelogue is a rich and loving portrait of the people and culture of Russia, and is filled with the trademark style and keen observations of the author of such classics as Hunger, Mysteries, and Growth of the Soil.In Wonderland is unlike any other book written by Hamsun, and offers not only an intimate glimpse into the mind of the Nobel Prize winning author at his unguarded best, but a rare view into a Russia that would soon vanish in the fire of revolution.

The Well at the World's End


A.J. Mackinnon - 2010
    Mackinnon quits his job in Australia, he knows only that he longs to travel to the Well at the World’s End, a mysterious pool on a remote Scottish island whose waters, legend has it, hold the secret to eternal youth.Determined not to fly (‘It would feel like cheating’), he sets out with a rucksack, some fireworks and a map of the world and trusts chance to take care of the rest. By land and by sea, by train, truck, horse and yacht, he makes his way across the globe – and through a series of hilarious adventures. He survives a bus crash in Australia, marries a princess in Laos, is attacked by Komodo dragons and does time in a Chinese jail. The next lift – or the next near-miss – is always just a happy accident away.This is the astonishing true story of a remarkable voyage, an old-fashioned quest by a modern-day adventurer.

Coasting: A Private Voyage


Jonathan Raban - 1987
    In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, his childhood, and the elusive notion of home. Whether he’s chatting with bored tax exiles on the Isle of Man, wrestling down a mainsail during a titanic gale, or crashing a Scottish house party where the kilted guests turn out to be Americans, Raban is alert to the slightest nuance of meaning. One can read Coasting for his precise naturalistic descriptions or his mordant comments on the new England, where the principal industry seems to be the marketing of Englishness. But one always reads it with pleasure.

Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend


Patrick Symmes - 2000
    Here is the unforgettable story of a wanderer's quest for food, shelter, and wisdom. Here, too, is the portrait of a continent whose dreams of utopia give birth not only to freedom fighters, but also to tyrants whose methods include torture and mass killing. Masterfully detailed, insightful, unforgettable, Chasing Che transfixes us with the glory of the open road, where man and machine traverse the unknown in search of the spirit's keenest desires.

Voyageur: Across the Rocky Mountains in a Birchbark Canoe


Robert Twigger - 2006
    Mackenzie travelled by bark canoe and had a cache of rum and a crew of Canadian voyageurs, hard-living backwoodsmen, for company. Two centuries later, in a spirit of organic authenticity, Robert Twigger follows in Mackenzie's wake. He too travels the traditional way, having painstakingly built a canoe from birch bark sewn together with pine roots, and assembled a crew made up of fellow travellers, ex-tree-planters and a former sailor from the US Navy. After the ice has melted, Twigger and his crew of wandering spirits finally nose out into the Athabasca River . . . Three Years . . . two thousand miles . . .over one thousand painfully towing the canoe against the current . . . several had tried before them but they were the first people to successfully complete Mackenzie's diabolical route over the Rockies in a birch bark canoe since 1793. Subsisting on a diet of porridge, elk and jackfish, supplemented with whisky and a bag of grass for the tree planters, and with an Indian medicine charm bestowed by the Cree People of Fox Lake, the voyageurs embark on an epic road trip by canoe . . . a journey to the remotest parts of the wilderness, through Native American reservations, over mountains, through rapids and across lakes, meeting descendants of Mackenzie and unhinged Canadian trappers, running out of food, getting lost and miraculously found again, disfigured for life (the ex-sailor loses his thumb), bears brown and black, docile and grizzly. Voyageur is a moving tale of contrasts from the bleak industrial backwaters of Canada to the desolate wonder of the Rocky Mountains.

In the Empire of Genghis Khan: An Amazing Odyssey Through the Lands of the Most Feared Conquerors in History


Stanley Stewart - 2000
    It is a thrilling tale of adventure, a comic masterpiece, and an evocative portrait of a medieval land marooned in the modern world. Eight and a half centuries ago, under Genghis Khan, the Mongols burst forth from Central Asia in a series of spectacular conquests that took them from the Danube to the Yellow Sea. Their empire was seen as the final triumph of the nomadic "barbarians." In this remarkable book Stanley Stewart sets off on a pilgrimage across the old empire, from Istanbul to the distant homeland of the Mongol hordes. The heart of his odyssey is a thousand-mile ride, traveling by horse, through trackless land.On a journey full of bizarre characters and unexpected encounters, he crosses the desert and mountains of central Asia to arrive at the windswept grasslands of the steppes, the birthplace of Genghis Khan.