|Tagline:||The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World|
|Published:||5 April 2018|
At 23 Elspeth had finally saved up enough money to set out on a journey that would finally be 56000kms and span the globe.
She saved up money by amongst other things, living in a garage, living on a diet that wouldn't even be served to prisoners and spending almost all of her free time working extra at a pub all the while studying as an architect despite being dyslectic.
That this is one determined lady is pretty clear from the outset.
A determination that would serve her well as she sets out in 1982, a very different world from today, especially when it comes to female emancipation.
She tells her story in excruciating and brutally honest detail.
Every tightening of a screw on the bike, every bodged repair, every thought of despair and every joyous moment. It's all there out in the open, nothing is held back.
Some things I'm glad I'm never going to have to experience, like eyes peeking through holes in the walls or a line of men (or women for that matter) lining up in the corridor outside the hotel room hoping to steal a glance through the keyhole.
Or getting continuously mobbed down in India by people wanting to have a look at the marvellous selfie start, double engine BMW R60.
The budget of this whole adventure and the things she does to keep going is at the same time admirable and utter madness.
Cutting her hair to save on shampoo is just one thing, in Nepal she hires a pair of boots to trekk Annapurna.
But the most insane thing must be when she falsifies a Carnet to get into Iran, as a woman, as a westerner just a few years after the Islamic revolution.
The book absorbs you right from the first page and never lets go, turning the last page page left me in a dizzying sense of loss, like loosing a good friend.
The fact that it wasn't written until about thirty years after the journey I think makes a huge difference, she's had plenty of time to ruminate on the travels and we also get to know what happened after she got back and had to adjust to "normal" life (as normal as it gets for an extraordinary woman).
This is not your run of the mill travel tale, it's an epic adventure in every sense of the term.
It deserves far more than being compartmentalized in the adventure travel niche, I believe this has something for everyone with just the slightest adventurous spirit or wanderlust.
Deeply inspirational not just when it comes to overlanding but also on a personal level. A solid 10/10, the best thing I've ever read.