Jupiter's Travels - Ted Simon's astonishing 4 year motorbike journey around the world. It is the book that inspired Ewan McGregor's Long Way Round.
In the late 1970s Ted Simon set off on a Triumph and rode 63,000 miles over four years through fifty-four countries in a journey that took him around the world. Through breakdowns, prison, war, revolutions, disasters and a Californian commune, he travelled into the depths of fear and reached the heights of euphoria. He met astonishing people and was treated as a spy, a welcome stranger and even a god.
For Simon the trip became a journey into his own soul, and for many others - including bikers Charley Boorman and Ewan McGrergor - it provides an inspiration they will never forget. This classic text, which has informed a whole genre of travel writing in the thirty years since it was first published, will never be bettered for sheer adventure, passion, humour and honesty. Brought up in England by a German mother and a Romanian father, Ted Simon found himself impelled by an insatiable desire to explore the world.
It led him to abandon an early scientific career in favour of journalism, and he has worked for several newspapers and magazines on Fleet Street and elsewhere. Ted Simon is also the author of Riding Home and The Gypsy in Me.
A smashing, cliche-free global adventure as Ted Simon, the Magellan of the Motorcycle, circles the world on a four-year, two-wheeled solo jaunt, determined to see it all despite fear at every turn. To wheel through so many nations over strange and often torn roads, to negotiate roadless deserts, was indeed cause for fear. But he did it; and clocked 63,000 miles, returning a changed man and prey, at last, to a new fear - rootlessness, a sense of coming apart. Subsidized by the London Sunday Times and with one book already published (The Chequered Year, about Grand Prix racing), Simon gets a completely unmodified motorcycle from Britain's Triumph factory in late 1973 and leaves England for France. His first leg takes him to Italy, Sicily, and Tunis. Arabic is sheer gibberish to him as he crosses Libya and worries that he won't be allowed into Egypt. But he is and follows the Nile to Wadi Halfa and the Sudan where he finds himself crossing hundreds of miles of hard desert in the midday heat, and running out of gas in the trackless wastes. No road! But he meets many friendly Sudanese, who ask him to address their students. Then it's on to unfriendly Ethiopia where poverty has hardened every face. And down through the jungles of Kenya, the elephant-filled plains of Tanzania to Johannesburg and Cape Town and the very tip of Africa - and rapturous, lightning-filled euphoria. By boat to northern Brazil, down through Rio to Uruguay, over to Chile and up the east coast to Mexico and Southern California. . . by boat to Australia, all over India (meeting Sai Baba) where he rises above fear of death. . . through the Mideast and back to France. . . then to the Triumph factory - in triumph. Jails, graft, border guards, breakdowns, good people - and a love affair. A vicarious whirlwind for armchair sloths. (Kirkus Reviews)