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Jupiter's Travels

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However, when Ted rolled into Egypt early in his journey, he found more pressing matters than road conditions were of concern. I couldn’t finish it but the book was chosen as the book of the month for the book club I run….so I had to at least skim through……. Simon was a journalist prior to becoming a self-styled hero, and we are grateful - his writing is adequate, and often even lucid and beautiful. The Journey is strangely bodiless, for the most part. Simon writes like a pair of traveling eyes with an ego attached; rarely do we get saddle sores, headaches, heat rash, or dysentery on this 4-year odyssey. Perhaps he is a remarkably hardy specimen; perhaps he didn't think it necessary to put us through more than the occasional swarm of mosquitoes. Nonetheless, there is a closely observed richness to his writing, and an immediacy that shows he took good notes, and was able to revisit his experiences in sequence as well as through a greater common narrative.

I didn’t have any problem thinking that I could ride a motorcycle because millions of people, including presumably millions of idiots, were doing it, so I didn’t see why I should have trouble. But, of course, I had no idea what it would be like to ride a bike in bad conditions. And, I had absolutely no idea what those bad conditions would be except that I knew there would be desert somewhere. I had no idea how to do that and I never had time to find out before I started. It would have been useful to have someone to tell me how to ride across sand, but I never had time to learn, or mud, or any of those things.”Ted’s new book, Jupiter’s Travels In Camera, is a sleek, coffee table sized book and as soon as you see it you know why he’s so proud of it. “Technological advances have allowed something quite special to be produced from my old Kodachrome slides.” However, having heard his comments about his ability with his Pentax cameras, I was keen to see inside it. The quality is spot on and the 300 plus photographs aren’t so over engineered that the sensation of time has been lost. It's all in the timing. Something can be profound in a certain instance of life, and banal the next. The view, you see, changes from where you are standing. 'Jupiter' was profound for me, and worthy merely for the sheer scope of his travels. However, it was elevated to something more than that for me because I had been there. In so many of the places he described, I had a vision of my own time there. And generally they lined up. He traveled like the traveler I wished to be. Viewed life in the way I wished to view it. Perhaps most famously Ewan McGregor, of Long Way Round fame, cited Jupiter’s Travels as his inspiration to travel on two wheels. In short, Ted is a hero to many of us adventure bikers, as well as plenty of people who choose to explore the world. I asked him what he was going to do with the money he earns from the books. His pension plan? “Not likely!” He replied, and so the other reason for the twinkle in his eyes came to light. The next project he has in hand is The Ted Simon Foundation. When I asked him to explain what it’s all about he pointedly replied, “It’s a way of saving journalism from journalists.”

Jupiter’s Travels – America (excerpt 1) https://naxosaudiobooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jupiter_America_extract1.mp3 The journey had little to do with motorcycles, which was really just a conduit for the narrative – a unique way of getting around that hadn’t, to my knowledge, been done before. As a method of travelling, motorcycles are very physically demanding; you’re completely exposed to the elements. Over the years, motorcycle travel has become something of a trademark of mine, and I’ve written several books about my two-wheeled journeys. The fact Ted couldn’t ride a motorcycle wasn’t an obstacle and, after passing his test, he chose a 500cc Triumph Tiger as the bike that would take him around the world. After initially planning to be away for 18 months, the journey saw him travel 64,000 miles, through 45 countries, over four years. There was an island somewhere in the South Seas where people were supposed to be terribly poor but the pictures showed the most beautiful beaches, with tropical trees and fruit and stuff like that. There were a lot of men on the beach and they were absolutely beautifully brown, they had glistening brown bodies, and they were dragging huge amounts of fish in from the sea. This kind of contradicted the idea of poverty. If that’s poverty, I wouldn’t mind some of that. It was such a contradiction and I thought, well this is ridiculous. Despite having done the work that I’d done, I realised I was really very ignorant about the world. Most people were then. I watched a programme about poverty. This was the beginning of 1973. The West was just getting out of the war, out of scarcity, the Sixties had come and gone. People were beginning to worry about the state of the world and they were actually looking out beyond their own little bubble. There was a programme about poverty, a sort of Attenborough type of programme.Ted Simon (born 1931) is British travel writer noted for circumnavigating the world twice by motorcycle. [1] He was raised in London by a German mother and a Romanian father. It took me a year to write it”, he says. “There was no other way to write it except by writing about myself. That was the only way I could think of going because it was really about my experience. Inevitably, it was about the effect those experiences had on me, so that’s just how it all came out. And, fortunately, I didn’t feel inhibited about doing it, whereas I think, for many people, it would have been very inhibiting. I rode forever on an astounding web of freeways, four or eight lanes wide, laid out like a never-ending concrete waffle over thousands of square miles, looking for somewhere to go, but found nothing.

I watched her still, exploring the shape of her body. I would have expected a dancer's body to be harder, to show more muscle.” Travel these days is difficult. So much today goes against the idea of discovery. It’s hard to get beyond Google. We have seen so many images and television programs of faraway places before we have a chance to see them with our own eyes. Technology makes it so you can’t get lost. It’s difficult to get that feeling of being somewhere alone, dependent entirely on your own resources and on the goodwill of people you happen to meet. In 2001, I decided to retrace my route from Jupiter’s Travels. I’d been told I would be mad to do it at 70, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Memories of people and places were floating through my mind, and I wanted to see how things had changed. The story of that second journey became the basis of my sixth book, Dreaming of Jupiter. Going to California, I did it for the wrong reasons. I did it to save a marriage which was impossible to save, but simply through being there it turned me into a sort of agricultural environmentalist really. The organic farming that I did there was an important thing in my life. I’m not at all sorry about having done it (moved to California), but it was very much a turning point.” The title of Jupiter’s Travels has its origins in an encounter Ted had at an Indian wedding with a man said to be a clairvoyant and a seer who could read a man’s soul and destiny. This man took Ted’s hand and told the traveller he had a determined soul and mind, before telling him “You are Jupiter”. Somewhat ironically for someone who doesn’t believe in the afterlife, Jupiter is often referred to in Hindu mythology as the guide or teacher of the Gods.


I have a copy of his book Dreaming of Jupiter in which he retraces his route thirty years later, and I will inevitably read that too, just not straight away. His first book, The Chequered Year, or "Grand Prix Year" (U.S. 1972), was an account of the 1970 Formula One season. I thought that would be a very exciting way to do it. It would be bloody dangerous I would probably get killed, but it would be worth the effort and it would make a good book. So that’s really how it all began. It took six months to get it going.”

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