The inimitable diary style that endeared so many readers to Graham’s first book, ‘Greener Grass’, is much in evidence with this, his second.
This three-month adventure sees him back with his trusty KLR, planning to ride through Iran and then the many ‘stans of central Asia. But plans are often thwarted and in this instance, by bureaucracy and inner turmoil.
The ride ends up being Essex to Essex via the Caucasus and he’s certainly placed a new destination on my horizon. His descriptions of Georgia, Armenia and eastern Turkey are engaging and if a travel book is meant to inspire you to load the panniers, then this whole mountainous region may well become your next stop. The pain and frustration he experiences on the rough tracks in Albania paint an all too familiar picture, but one that’s so vibrant it’s in technicolor and again, in a country so often avoided by European riders who feel they must go further afield for adventure.
The honesty is captivating and those diary entries give the reader an insight into someone for whom you may at times feel love or disgust. Amid the casual sexism and quirky observations Graham articulates and faces some big questions that generally aren’t viewed as being cool within adventure riding, like ‘who exactly is it we are travelling for?’ and ‘can I admit that I’m not enjoying this?’
He acknowledges that in fact, riding overland can be mentally and physically exhausting and there’s no shame in that. It’s Graham’s ‘Ureka’ moment that makes this a trip of two halves, providing a warts-and-all look at life on the road while letting the sun shine through. The layout of the book makes the refreshingly different content really accessible, and once you’ve started reading, you won’t even notice that it’s 412 pages. It’s bright and peppy, like the cover and is available here.
Paperback 412pp, £12.99
8 page colour insert with 32 images.
Published by Shuvvy Press 2014