It’s been a tough few days.
I understand now why so many people prefer to make videos for Youtube, rather than write on their own website. It’s easy for them to focus on the job, Google takes care of all the basics so they don’t have to waste time fighting fires they didn’t light. Sure Youtube has its own set of problems, but at least you don’t have to learn SSH commands to find out where to begin.
While I was pulling my hair out talking to Godaddy customer support, downloading files slowly, uploading them even slower, the only reason I didn’t just give up on the world was because I was listening to a book. It made me feel like all those days weren’t totally wasted, gave me something to look forward to, made me laugh. The book was In search of greener grass by Graham Field, on Audible.
It’s a story about a trip from England to Mongolia, or something like that. The vagueness of the purpose of the journey was quite a shock to me. I’ve read a lot of adventure travel books, yes there’s some improvisation in their travels, but this was a whole different level. Graham’s entire trip plan could be summarized in these 3 steps:
- Get visas
- Get money
- Get Lonely Planet
Yes, people travel with Lonely Planets and a compass in the 21st century, but the beauty of the story is in its unpredictability. He starts out alone, but meets people along the way. Sometimes he rides with them, and it’s fun, but sometimes it gets real irritating real fast. I wonder what the Touratech Twins thought of the book, Graham, and themselves.
I think I enjoyed the book because it’s full of rants, something I’ve known to have a little affection towards. I liked it because it’s not sensitized for consumption by a discerning crowd, it’s a story about the emotions a biker goes through all journeys, and it’s easy to relate to the experiences. When you ride alone, you have a lot of freedom, but you can get a bit bored, and feel a bit unsafe. When you ride with a group, you usually have to give up on some of the experiences, but it’s safer, and occasionally a lot more fun.
His description of riding in Russia was very different from what I’d imagined, but did explain why Youtube is filled with crash videos from that part of the world. From his story it sounds like everyone is drunk all the time, no wonder they crash first and brake later. Mongolia sounded a lot more rough than I had expected, and Kazakhstan was a surprise. At one point he and his buddy get lost somewhere and aren’t even sure which country they are in anymore.
As always, I’m not including too many spoilers, you’ve got to listen to it yourself. Some of the chapters do get repeat, but that’s a minor inconvenience, and Graham’s probably working to fix that. It’s story about a journey anyone can do, on a budget anyone can afford, and with a plan anyone can follow. It’s not about an adventure that spans years, it’s about one that lasts a 100 days, it’s about making the most of what you get to work with.
In search of greener grass is a different take on the well-told adventure travel story, and definitely worth a read. Hopefully if enough people buy his book he could go on another such trip, and maybe get into some pretty girl’s knickers for a change.
You can buy the Audible version here.