Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Road Gets Better From Here by Adrian Scott

This is one of those rare books that I wish I could have another star for. I have read 5 star books and I have enjoyed them and they have stuck with me, but The Road Gets Better from Here has that something extra that made it appeal to so many of my interests and senses. Travel, local food, traditions, the hospitality of strangers, isolated villages and people, the natural environment, the man made environment, history, cultures - many many diverse cultures, the middle east, Siberia, Russia, other former Soviet countries, the desert, small engines - in the form of a motorbike, alone against the wilderness, ancient Persia ... for me he served it all up in spades, with a big side serve of Plov, Pelmeni and Sweet Tea to go along with.

Adrian Scott is, without a doubt, a bit of an idiot for travelling where he did alone and on a motorbike, especially when he had never ridden a motorbike before planning this trip, let alone a cross country/dirt type bike like this. He had a crash course on motorbiking on his very first 48 hours. Perhaps, if he been better trained on bikes, it would have saved him a lot of future problems.
But he is Australian, like me, and so I shall forgive him his stupidity because we can all be a bit gullible and reckless like this. We trust nothing will go wrong and when it does, well, we have our moment of kicking dirt and then use humour to get through it.

I learned plenty and had a few epiphanies, by seeing so many countries and cultures through Adrian Scott's eyes. What a fabulous book for those of us who want to read a travel adventure story without the complications of long lectures on political, philosophical, social and geological history. Okay, so there is ample history in this book, sure. It would not have appealed to me in the way that it did without the author giving some run down of history as he travelled, but it wasn't endless warbling and was just brief enough to educate you before he moved on with his adventure.
Another thing I really liked about this book was his unbiased and unprejudiced view on all the countries and cultures. He will admit when he disapproves of a country's laws and cultural laws, but he will only do this once he has seen the effects with his own eyes. He does not go into these countries with unfounded preconceptions fed to him by the media.

If you choose to read this book then take it with a grain of salt. Firstly, because there are many spelling mistakes and typos. Some quite bad ones actually, proving it was poorly proof read. And secondly, because it is not an overtly deep cerebral piece, it is (as I told a friend in my comments on this book) like sitting around a campfire and having Adrian Scott tell you his tale in a riveting and fun way before you all retire to your tents and then the next night, when you all gather again, he continues where he left off the night before. You all sit quietly, soaking in his words, visualising the faces and the food and the scenery of all the myriad countries he travelled through.

Thanks for taking me along on your ride, Adrian Scott. I got to live vicariously through you for a week.


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