Interesting writers, travellers and explorers:
Benedict Allen – whose Mad White Giant was just the first of a string of epic travel books.
Roz Savage – who having joined one of my Peruvian expeditions is now the first woman to have rowed across the Pacific. With a high tec tracker so you could follow her progress (she always did have the best gear!) Last seen crossing the Indian Ocean as well.
Mike Jay – who has helped me navigate the wilder shores of Peruvian hallucinogenic substances when writing about them, and has written some excellent books on drug and other cultures.
Christopher Somerville who has walked more of Britain’s wild places and the world than just about anyone else I know….
Bidisha, whose Jamesian memoir of Venetian Masters and manners probes at the darker side of La Serenissima.
William Dalrymple, whose recent and excellent Nine Lives book begins by describing a walk to a shrine at the source of the Ganges – a walk I later took with him, arriving at Kedernath just as the snows were melting and the ash-smeared naked naga sadhus arriving …..
And for a healthily uncommercial contrast to the Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman project of motorbiking around the world, check out the delightfully eccentric Hubert Kriegel who is now in his fifth year trying to get around the world with his sidecar – but without a support team.
A collection of travellers doing some mad cycling adventures – like crossing the world on a Penny farthing – can be found at the aptly named www.crazyguyonabike.com
I recently met Dervla Murphy, now in her late-70s, who remains passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer after some 20 travel books over a career that spans half a century. See my interview with her in the Telegraph
Also in that part of the world, see Robert Twigger, author of some terrific travel books and coordinator of The Explorer School. His website contains some essential advice tips, like ‘how to shit in the desert’.
Another Arabist is Barnaby Rogerson who somehow manages to combine writing a series of fine books about the Middle East, like his recent The Last Crusaders, with co-running Eland, an admirable publishing company specialising in travel.
Intv: ‘The inevitable question: What’s your advice for a young person who wants to grow up to become a fiction writer?’
PT: ‘Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home.’
Conni Biesalski’s attractive blog preaches the unlimited freedom of a nomadic lifestyle; she has been living, working and travelling around the world since she was fifteen.
Nicholas Asheshov has finally been bullied – by me – into collecting his excellent articles for his column Country Notes about Peru onto a website, so they can finally receive the mass adulation they undoubtedly deserve.
Advice about travelling off the beaten track in South America:
Highly recommended American-based trekking company – and friends of Hugh’s: Adventure Specialists, run by Gary Ziegler and Amy Finger, who offer the chance to join an archaeological research expeditions in the Andes as well as various horse tours.
South American Explorers Club. Does what it says on the tin.
For a recommended and friendly base in the Urubamba valley from which to base treks – and where I lived for a while with my family as described in Cochineal Red: K’uychi Rumi. Take a pot of English mustard for Carlos.
General on Peru:
Excellent book of photos on Peru by ace photographer and bartender Max Milligan
Good Peruvian features magazine (in English): Rumbos
For the complete digital Guaman Poma: Guaman Poma
Gary Urton’s impressive research project on the meaning of the khipus, the knotted cords used by the Incas and earlier Peruvian civilisations but as yet largely undeciphered.
The Cusichaca Trust, which pioneered the restoration of traditional Andean agricultural terraces and irrigation canals and has tried to combat rural poverty with innovative technology.