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Monday, July 23, 2018
LANDS of LOST BORDERS: A JOURNEY on the SILK ROAD by Kate Harris
To be released on August 21, 2018 in the United States by Dey Street Books.
Kate Harris and her childhood friend Mel decided to go on a bicycle adventure that approximates Marco Polo's trip along the Silk Road from Turkey to China. This is not a trip taken on a whim. Harris has read about explorers and dreamed about being an explorer all of her life. She's a scientist by training but she can't stand to be in a lab - she has to get out and see the world.
Actually, she started out wanting to go to Mars and actually went so far as to participate in a Mars simulation complete with spacesuits out in the Utah desert. The simulation told her one important thing - being in a space suit denied her the tactile experience of exploration such as the wind in your hair and the smells.
So, rather than Mars, she decides to go to one of the most remote areas of the world, for a couple of Canadians - Central Asia. It has vast deserts, literally the tallest mountains in the world and arcane bureaucracies that sometimes make it about as challenging as a trip to Mars.
Kate Harris is a talented writer and her descriptions of her trip are a joy to read. The people, the weather, the animals, the troubles getting permission to cross one border after another - especially the troubles with the border into China-controlled Tibet. The real fun, though, is with little details that she pops into the story that made me want to go tell my family all about them such as the fact that there is a word in Georgia that says, "I accidentally ate the whole thing."
My favorite, though, took place in Tajikistan. A family let them stay the night in their home rather than camp out. The mother fed them dinner and insisted that she share cell phone numbers with Kate and Mel even though the woman lived in a cell phone dead zone and they didn't understand a word the other said. But, she just couldn't let those two women head off down the road without a friend to call on. It was sweet and a very human moment.
This was a fantastic read and I rate it an enthusiastic 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: LANDS of LOST BORDERS: A JOURNEY on the SILK ROAD by Kate Harris.