Friday, November 11, 2016

Another Long Walk

Walking can be one of the least costly ways to travel, especially if you combine it with camping in the wilderness. But can you imagine walking for three years through Mongolia, China, Laos, Thailand, part of Siberia and Australia? That is the journey adventurer Sarah Marquis writes about in her new book, "Wild by Nature."

Marquis walked alone and carried an impressive array of equipment with her on a cart, which makes her accomplishment all the more admirable. Her trip does not sound like fun--she encountered many obstacles. She was harassed by locals on many occasions, had to be evacuated from a remote part of Mongolia for medical reasons, was deported from China because she strayed into a panda reserve.

She writes very well of her many trials, including exhaustion and near-starvation. But she also is able to convey the joy she felt when she was able to immerse herself in nature, far from civilisation and its discontents. As a woman, she found herself hounded by men frequently, but also helped on other occasions by both men and women. She disguised herself as a man for reasons of safety. I looked her up on Youtube where she has a couple of videos, and she looked to be quite tall.

One thing I found a little disappointing given the subtitle of the book --From Siberia to Australia Three Years Alone in the Wilderness--was how little attention she devoted to Siberia. She was near the end of her journey when she travelled to the southern end of Lake Baikal, and she disliked the region because of an unfortunate experience in one of the small towns on the lake.

In any case, her accomplishments are enormous, and she is now officially one of National Geographic's adventurers. She dedicates the book to her late dog D'Joe, and "to all the women throughout the world who are still fighting for their freedom."

I was under the impression when I started reading the book that Marquis was British, but she actually is from and lives in the French part of Switzerland.


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