Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Two books and a movie

I am lucky: there’s people out there that give me books as gifts. I am really moved by this, because it means these persons recognize my addiction, and have enough compassion to want to help me stay sane by keeping me well provided with reading matters.

So yesterday I got a digital copy of Alastair Humphreys’ My Midsummer Morning. The person that sent it to me (thank you!) knows I am a fan of Humphreys’, and knew I was curious about this book – that chronicles the author’s travel through Spain, on foot, living on the earnings of his busking.

Humphreys’ offbeat adventure was inspired by another great book, Laurie Lee’s classic As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, which chronicles Lee’s crossing of the Spanish peninsula, while busking with his violin to make a living. Lee’s adventure took place in 1934. He would return in Spain in ’37 as a member of the International Brigade.

Humphreys’ book is all about finding adventure by facing what causes us anxiety and fear – because if it’s all fun and games, it’s not a challenge, and cannot be a proper adventure.
Hence his idea of travelling as a busker while having no previous experience as a violin player but a few months of lessons and frustrating exercise.
Yes, it’s a wild, crazy idea, but one that works, and does make a sort of sense.

And never before as in these days we needed to be able to face what causes us pain and anxiety.
Books will help, and music. And a certain mental attitude, that allows us to discover adventure in adversity.

So here I have the ebook on my reader.
But in case you are curious, the author also shot a documentary of his adventure, and here it is… enjoy!


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1300 Mondays

In the opening chapter of his The Doorstep Mile(that once again, is highly recommended) adventurer Alastair Humphreys writes:

I have fewer than 2000 Mondays left to live. I want to make the most of them, not just tick them off.

This gave me pause.
How many Mondays do I have left?, I wondered.
I made some quick calculation, based on my family data.
Both my grandfathers died in their early seventies.
My father died at seventy-six.
On my mother’s side we tend to be more long lived – we usually get in our ’90s if cancer does not get at us earlier.
I am 52, so… how many Mondays?

Less than 1300 is a good estimate.
What am I going to do with them?

Humphreys’ idea, presented in his book, is to try and do something that makes me happy. Even something small.
Something that does not drastically change my life overtime, but that in due time will make me able to enjoy a lot more those 1300 Mondays, and all the other days.

I am working on it.
Now I have a deadline.


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Into the Empty Quarter

Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands was one of the first true-life adventure books I remember reading, about thirty-five years ago. The book was published in 1959, and collected Thesiger’s notes about his travels in the Empty Quarter of the desert of Arabia between 1945 and 1950.

The book is apparently on the Excluded Products list on Amazon, so while you can still buy the ebook through this link, I won’t see a single penny for the sale. But I don’t give a damn – this post is to recommend a fine book, not to make money. And screw Amazon.

And as I am at it, here’s the short version of the movie of the expedition Alistair Humphreys and Leon McCarron undertook in the steps of Thesiger a few years back.