East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Travelling Men

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

Good old Mark Twain, how right you were!
When it comes to travel writers, Italy can boast three great names that are now gone: Fosco Maraini, Folco Quilici and Tiziano Terzani. I read a lot of things by these guys. Quilici of course catered for my love of oceanography, while Maraini and Terzani were guides through and across Asia and the Far East.

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The Sex Lives of Cannibals

51m8HcJWoXL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_In the 1930s a young Thor Heyerdhal spent one year and a half in the Marquesas, as part of a project of what we could call today experimental archaeology. He and his wife lived as low-tech a life as possible,and later Heyerdahl wrote a book on the experience, called Fatu Hiva, from the name of the island they were living on. The book was published in 1974.

Sixty-odd years after the Heyerdhals’ stay in the Marquesas, J. Maarten Troost and his girlfriend did something similar, and spent two years on a small island in Kiribati. Their experiences went into a book called The Sex Lives of Cannibals, that was published exactly thirty years after Fatu Hiva (a coincidence, most certainly).


The postman just delivered a mystery package containing pristine copy of Troost’s book this morning. A gift from a friend (thank you!), I’ve been curious about it ever since I learned of its existence.
This is going to be a fun weekend.

The book also goes to expand the list of books here on my shelf that are prominently displayed just to shock my (rare) visitors.

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Traveling without money

cover38852-mediumA mixed post today – both book review and media-rich.
Now, How to Travel the World for Free has nothing to do with the Silk Road or with pulp fiction, or fantasy – but it has a lot to do with travel.
That, and it being a good, fun read, are enough for me to point it out.

In a nutshell: German journalist Michael Wigge wanted to visit Antarctica, but did not feel like spending 15.000 dollars in tickets.
So he planned for one full year a long trip – through Europe, North and South America.
A trip he would make without money.

The book details his adventures on the road, and despite the title this is not a how-to book.
It does provide a lot of information, but it is still a travelogue at heart.
It’s a fast read, and highly entertaining.

For more details, let’s hear from the author himself (don’t be distracted by gorgeous Katy Perry)