‘In Search Of Life’ by Leon Pang

In Search Of LIfe by Leon PangLeon Pang has been searching for a reason for his existence. However, don’t be put off by that, it’s merely the Big Trip, a significant landmark in his life. He decides to ride overland from UK to Hong Kong, his father’s home.

Early on Leon seems to have a knack of getting into difficulty, travelling with a mind that expects trouble he, perhaps not surprisingly, finds it.

Once he reaches Mongolia however, the pace of the trip settles down and he spends much longer in each country, partly because they are bigger and take a long time to cross, and partly because he begins to feel comfortable within. He destroys some of his own cultural preconceptions, whilst confirming others. The moral? Go and discover the truth for yourself- travel broadens the mind as they say.

He undertook his trip on a ‘bitsa’ XT600 but had repeated encounters with riders on fully kitted BMWs who told him his bike wasn’t capable. If ever he needed motivation to complete the journey, that was it. There is a growing mindset that unless you have the latest model of bike you shouldn’t attempt a trip like this or even leave the country. I would sooner have a motorcycle that is easy to work on and can be bump started if necessary, not to mention the social implications of shouting I HAVE MONEY when travelling in poorer countries on a shiny new machine.

I’m sorry to say that I was almost stopped in my tracks by the spelling, grammar and punctuation. It is truly awful and the black and white pictures at the end of the book seem to be randomly oriented as well as poorly reproduced. What made me smile is that it says at the beginning that this is the fourth re-print with professional editing.

Don’t however, let this put you off. What I enjoyed was the in-depth information on the roads, the weather, the places he stayed and the people he met. It’s a real warts and all ‘Long Way Round’, though Leon would hate you to make that comparison. If you ever fancy taking the same route, then this book will be good reference, though you may have to re-read some of the sentences…

Jakki Francis

ISBN 9780956 476500 Iron Hand Publishing