Danziger's Travels - Beyond Forbidden Frontiers
Now this is serious travel by a seriously good writer.
"Danziger's Travels - Beyond Forbidden Frontiers" was Nick Danziger's first book. He wrote it after being awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in 1982 to follow ancient trade routes. He eventually travelled in 1984.
There are some people that make you laugh, some that bore you, some that make you uncomfortable, but this guy just left me slack-jawed in wonderment. Where do people like this come from? Where does their motivation come from? Who broke the mould?
He travels through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and through China (pre-tourist friendlier present) - overland. What sets this book apart for me, is that this is not just an observational account of someone's travels through sometimes (actually, mostly) difficult territory, but, that he gets very involved with the people he meets. So much so, that in Afghanistan and afterwards in China he passes for an Afghan and finds it difficult to let that part of his travels go. He gets very involved with the mujahideen in Afghanistan when they were fighting the Russians. As a side note it is very interesting to read about this period in Afghanistan, especially as we now know what came later.
Above all, it is beautifully written, in a considered, amusing, questioning way that makes it, for me, one of the best travel books I have ever read.
You can buy it from amazon.co.uk