Although this is the follow-up to his first book ‘The Long Ride Home’ (Sydney – London), it’s a work that confidently stands alone. In essence Nathan and Dorothy (his postie bike) take off again at short notice, this time to ride across America – aiming for Alaska, maybe …
He is compelled to ride; to finish what started in Sydney, both physically and metaphorically.
It’s an open, honest and superbly written expression of depression and how the trip is what he feels he has to do to turn the corner – or has to do because he has started his own psychological journey back from rock bottom.
Do not be put off by the intertwining of the ride and his battle with demons. It is not painful or embarrassing to read; not self-pitying, or deeply philosophical. The battle is just there, honest and without making the reader feel embarrassed or as though they are intruding.
Many ride to escape something or to heal the grief of bereavement, divorce or other loss, but few really admit it to themselves, never mind to the reader. Perhaps this book holds mirrors, refreshing ones, defying readers not to see themselves at some time in their lives, even if only briefly.
Nathan has perhaps matured since his first book; still disorganised as a person, but more aware, and the painful incompetence of coping with day to day issues experienced in his first trip is gone – almost!
Maybe this maturity combines with travelling as slowly as only 105cc permits, to produce much greater descriptive prose than before, but he brings fresh illumination to a land that has been covered in a hundred books before him.
Simple political insight and comment exists without over-complex analysis. Acceptance and tolerance are his personal attributes and these really shine in this book. Nathan travels as he is compelled to, but sees a glimpse of travel, for travels sake, in others he meets. He even considers it as something he may do in the future – an interesting juxtaposition.
This may not contain conventional adventure – like struggling to ride across the Himalayas wearing only one shoe for which he’s famous – but it’s well written and will keep you hooked.
You can buy a copy here.
Paperback 285pp £9.99 24pp colour insert
Published by Dot Publishing (2014)