To put it simply this is the greatest adventure book I have ever read. A true masterpiece in the realms of adventure writing. It gripped me from cover to cover and I just can’t wait to read the other two books in this epic trilogy.
For those of you who don’t know, Jason Lewis is one of the greatest circum-navigators of our time being the first person to move around our planet solely by human power. This involved pedal boating across oceans, cycling across continents, inline skating across America, and kayaking across the Pacific. This epic journey began in Greenwich, London in July 1994 and didn’t end until Jason crossed the Greenwich Meridian Line thirteen years later, completing his 4,833 day journey on October 6, 2007. Having travelled 74,842 kilometres solely by human power.
The story begins intensely with Jason paddling frantically away from a man-eater off the coast of Australia. It then backtracks through the idea behind the expedition and the planning which was needed in order to get the project off the ground. After months of waiting to find sponsors Jason and his friend Steve made the bold decision to head out into the unknown and to raise more funds along the way. So they begin cycling down from London to the English Channel which they illegally crossed in their brand new, custom built, pedal boat, Moksha. After entering France illegally they pedalled 1,700 miles throughout Europe before eventually reaching the Algarve in Portugal, the departure location for their Atlantic crossing. If they succeeded they would become the first people to cross the Atlantic using just human power. It was a tumultuous journey one which is described, like everything in his book, so eloquently. Lewis has really delved into the inner psyche of an explorer and describes so well what it is truly like to live within a foot of another human for 111 consecutive days.
After crossing the Atlantic the duo set about trying to raise some more funds off the publicity they had received upon arrival into the USA. However attempts did not reap the rewards they were looking for and after spending a great deal of time waiting for sponsorship to materialise they eventually once again had to set off. Only one thing Jason and Steve had opted for different modes of human power, Steve going for the more conventional bicycle whereas Jason decided he wanted to inline skate across America.
The book gripped me from cover to cover and I think it is a credit to Jason Lewis that he has managed to encompass the sheer greatness of part of his expedition within these few pages. I am just itching to read the next two instalments. I urge anyone who enjoys adventure or travel writing to read this book you will love it!