Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World

ISBN: 0743499344
ISBN 13: 9780743499347
By: Ewan McGregor Charley Boorman

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Genres

Adventure Biography Currently Reading Favorites Memoir Motorcycle Non Fiction Nonfiction To Read Travel

About this book

It started as a daydream. Poring over a map of the world at home one quiet Saturday afternoon, Ewan McGregor -- acclaimed actor and self-confessed bike nut -- noticed that it was possible to ride all the way round the world, with just one short hop across the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska. It was a revelation he couldn't get out of his head. So he picked up the phone and called his fellow actor-slash-biker friend Charley Boorman and told him it was time to hit the road.... Long Way Round Beginning in London, Ewan and Charley chased their shadows through Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia; across the Pacific to Alaska; then down through Canada all the way to New York. Long Way Round is the result of their four-month, 20,000-mile joyride. Featuring original diary entries, travel maps, mileage charts, and dozens of photographs, this is a freewheeling, fully charged, and uproariously entertaining book about two world-famous individuals who chose the road not taken...and made the journey worthwhile.

Reader's Thoughts

Goldie Katsu

This is the book that goes with the TV Series. In it Charley and Ewan share their thoughts of the trip, starting from their first love of motorcycles, meeting, the idea, planning and the trip itself. It is enjoyable seeing the challenges and beauty of the trip through their eyes, plus the inner landscape of their thoughts and reactions to the experience.

Kamil

Świat ma mnóstwo piękna i przygód do zaoferowania. Im więcej podróżujemy, tym lepiej go poznajemy. Ewan Mc Gregor oraz Charley Boorman zdecydowanie widzieli dużo i postanowili swoją tułaczkę opisać w książce „Wielka wyprawa. Niezwykła motocyklowa wyprawa dookoła świata”. „Niezwykła,” ponieważ nasi bohaterowie pokonują kolejne kilometry na… motorach. Zadajecie sobie pewnie pytanie, czy ktoś taki jak aktor, człowiek, który gra, ale zawsze wie, że zaraz obok czuwa nad nim ekipa filmowa, da sobie radę i przetrwa taką podróż. A co jeśli jest ich dwóch? Odpowiedź znajdziecie właśnie w tej książce.Książek podróżniczych na rynku jest masa, ale ta jest jednak trochę inna, można powiedzieć, taka typowo dla prawdziwych mężczyzn. No, w końcu mamy dwóch świetnych kumpli, którzy pragną przygody i postanawiają się na taką wybrać… dwukołowcami. Wyobrażacie sobie to poczucie przestrzeni i wolności. Piasek we włosach, ryk silników… Też tak to sobie wyobrażałem, gdy sięgałem po tę książkę. Z czasem, jak „przechodziłem” przez kolejne strony, zaczynało mnie to nudzić, brakowało mi tutaj czegoś. I w zasadzie takie odczucie po trochu towarzyszyło mi do ostatniej strony. Już tłumaczę czemu.Otóż jest ta przygoda, jest ten ryk silników, to błoto na kombinezonie i kasku, ale brak temu wszystkiemu odrobiny werwy. Mamy tutaj troszkę „spowalniaczy” oraz małych „wypełniaczy”. Niedużo, ale jest to odczuwalne.Druga sprawa, dość istotna: nasi podróżnicy strasznie wyolbrzymiają niektóre rzeczy. Wypływa tutaj na wierzch naiwność i typowe, stereotypowe myślenie. W skutek czego Czechy, przedstawione zostały tutaj jako początek końca świata, a Słowacja zdecydowanie jako synonim tego końca. Dalej na wschód robi się ciekawiej. Ukraina, a później także Rosja, to kraje, w których nie zostać zabitym przez bogatych mafiosów, czekających na ciebie przy każdym zakręcie, to istny cud i wyczyn na miarę zajęcia pierwszego miejsca w Olimpiadzie. Bohaterowie sami się „nakręcają”. Nie mówię, że jest tam całkowicie bezpiecznie, ale już nie przesadzajmy i nie róbmy z siebie nie wiadomo jakich czempionów. Schemat ten powtarza się wielokrotnie, i na pewno czytelnik zauważy, że coś tutaj nie gra. No i właśnie na tym, książka traci swoją wiarygodność. Przynajmniej do pewnego stopnia.Czyta się jednak dobrze. Pomimo wspomnianych problemów, książka uruchamia naszą wyobraźnię i pomaga odpłynąć w dzikie zakątki świata. Motorem, przebyć tyle kilometrów to z pewnością nie lada wyczyn. Książka zawiera mapki oraz kolorowe fotografie z wyprawy, a całość w twardej okładce.Watro sięgnąć po tę pozycję choćby z czystej ciekawości. Końcowe etapy okazały się dla mnie bardzo interesujące. Są minusy, ale całość wciąż dużo oferuje. Zdarzają się chwile, kiedy czujemy się lekko znudzeni i przytłoczeni moralizatorstwem podróżników, ale zawsze następuje po tym jakiś element, który wyzwala iskrę, coś co sprawia, że chcemy czytać dalej. Bestseller to nie jest, ale wciąż pobudza wyobraźnię w wystarczającym stopniu, aby otworzyć i czytać.source of all my reviews: my blog

Alkatraz

All right, this has been sitting on my shelf for several years and I really have been meaning to read it. I'm actually not a huge fan of travel genre because the writers often sound so bloody pretentious when they describe the country side that they view from the spit shined windows of their over priced hotel. This book starts off as a couple of mates act on a dream they've each toyed with since childhood, to ride a motobike around the world.After months of planning, they start off from London and make their way east to New York City, a trip that will take them four months and 18,887 miles. I laughed with them as they encountered one strange adventure after another. I worried when the rivers they crossed were higher then the engines. With every border crossing, I hoped they would get through it safely and with little hassle. Every day seemed to bring something new to the boys, and therefore to me. By reading the journey they took around the world, I learned that there are still people out there who will stop for a total stranger to help him repair his bike, that will take him into their home, feed him, and offer him a warm bed. The world is full of people who are willing offer a hand in exchange for a smile. I also learned, along with McGregor and Boorman, that not everything is as it seems and every person deserves the benefit of the doubt. Most of all, I learned that life isn't about the destination, its all about the journey. Lovingly and honestly written, Long Way Round shows everyone that takes the time to read it that sometimes all you need is a little adventure and fresh air to find what you were looking for, which is often not too far from where you started in the first place.

Jake

I think I expected too much from this book. I was hoping for a fantastic journey of two motorcycles through hell and back, and what it took to fix them and stories of the people involved. And it was some of that. My problems were that Ewan and Charley are about the worst people that could have undertaken this journey. They don't know how to fix motorcycles and always had to have the locals fix them. They hate camping. They're as emotional as a 13 year old girl. Seriously, every other page someone was in a 'mood' or was crying or pining for home. I know the journey is hard, but man up and live with it! Or at least don't fill 50% of your book with your emotional difficulties. Ultimately it came off like two rich white actors with the money to ride motorcycles around the world, though not the balls. Parts were good, but a lot of parts really got on my nerves.

Rebecca

Whoo! A travel book that I actually finished! I am so proud of myself. I hate myself for liking (and then consequently bagging on) chicklit lately. But Long Way Round was quite an easy read if only because it was written by Ewan McGregor and his friend, a fellow actor whom I had never heard of called Charley Boorman. This was about their motorcycle trip from London to NYC (via Asia).The book was okay. The downside was all the talk about their motorcycles, which I didn't care about at all and a couple of anecdotes about people recognizing Ewan in the most random places in the world. You ain't that big a movie star, boy! But I guess everyone knows Star Wars. Otherwise, it was an entertaining read as most books my celebs are. They are entertainers for a reason. And also, I liked that Ewan and Charley didn't get a long a lot of the time. Way different then the usual get stuck in the worst situations, but we are best friends till the end! Them fighting a lot made it way more real.I am a glazer when it comes to reading sometimes and this book, if you glazed over a page, you may have missed a whole story, so that aspect kept me awake. I didn't want to miss anything because the stories that were noted where very well written. They were mainly about the people and situations they came across in the wilds of Asia, re: things you would never even think of, like not having a paved road. Crazy.Grade: solid C

Artūras Orševskis

Pradėjau skaityti lietuvišką knygos vertimą "Ilgas kelias aplink", knygą pabaigiau originalo kalba.Vis užkliūdavo prastas Aistės Kvedaraitės-Nichols vertimas. Vienas iš pavyzdžių: "- Ž̌inai, kokia buvo paskutinė̇ mintis, š̌ovusi tam š̌uniui į galvą̨? - pa­klausė̇ Charlis, iš juoko vos pajė̇gdamas suregzti ž̌odž̌ius. - Jo už̌pakalis."Knygoje nerasite daugiau nei video laidų reportažuose apie minėtą kelionę. Daskaičiau tik dėl to, kad beskaitant vis aplankydavo malonūs prisiminimai iš mano kelionės su draugais dvejomis beviltiškai senomis mašinomis iš Vilniaus iki Tbilisio.

Nils

Long Way Round starts off detailing some of both Ewan and Charlies past experiences and bikes they've ridden, as someone who doesn't have a huge interest in motorcycles this was a pretty slow start to the book. However once they leave the UK and really start their trip things get much more interesting and exciting, it's quite an incredible journey that i can imagine was exhausting yet very rewarding. As someone who travels a fair bit, and even though just ripping through countries in a matter of weeks isn't really my style, there's alot to appreciate in this. Both Ewan and Charley can get a little tiring at times with their bickering between eachother, but i think it's understandable given the stresses of the trip and being together all the time. I particularily enjoyed their mongolian and russian leg of the trip, all in all a good adventure story about two guys riding their bikes across the world.

Liza H

I loved the 10-episode show that aired chronicling the adventure of Ewan MacGregor and his friend Charlie Boorman as they took a pair of BMW motorbikes around the world, from London to New York. I'd hoped that by reading the book written by them, there might be a little bit more insight on their thoughts and feelings during the trip, and I wasn't disappointed. Neither man is exactly a great storyteller, but it was a lot like reading someone's blogged thoughts about being away from friends and family for that extended amount of time, and it was great to get a little insight on how a famous man like MacGregor might deal with finally being in a place where no one recognized him, nor cared that he was a great big star. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did if I hadn't already seen the TV shows, however. I think this was a good supplement to the show, but you really learned and saw more of their adventure in the video than you do in the book.

Brad

My love of Long Way Round is purely emotional. We are not talking about great literature here, nor should anyone expect it. After all, the book isn't written. It is spoken. But that adds to the charm.As these two spoiled boys travel around the world from London to New York, cutting through places like Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, it is the chattiness and comradeship of such close friends living a "Boys' Own" adventure that sucks us in. Whether they are shitting their pants when a Russian miner comes down the stairs with an AK-47 on his hip or they are overwhelmed with emotion when they spend time with Mongolian kids in the sewers of Ulan Bataar, whether they are arguing over the killing of a Grizzly Bear along the Road of Bones or they are worrying for Ewan's life after a car crash near Calgary, they are really just two real blokes enjoying a lark.But they do it all with humility, which suppressed my usual annoyance at rich folk whining about supposed adversity while doing something the rest of us never will. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman actually seemed to get the immensity of what they were doing (and how insanely lucky they were to be doing it), and even though they complained about the rough roads and the cold and the wet and the adversity, they really learned some important lessons during their trip -- particularly when it came to the importance of their families.As for me, well, I was surprised to discover that I was inspired by Ewan and Charlie to make a journey of my own. It hasn't happened yet, but it will. But I think I'll be taking my son.This book may not be for you, but it was definitely for me.

Renee

I enjoy adventure/survival books, so this was suggested for me by a motorcycle enthusiast friend. I also read a lot of Stalin's Russia material which is another reason for my reading this book. It was so depressing to read how the Ukraine and Mongolia still struggle, and have the street children problem. It was heart rendering, but at the same time the problem was exposed and Ewan encouraged the reader to get involved with UNICEF or other organizations to help improve the lives of Mongolian families before the tragedy of having the children leave home and live underground.The Road of Bones was also a reminder of the evils of communism.All the border checkpoint problems made me appreciate our freedoms we take for granted.Ewan and Charley did a fine job of expressing the difficulties of such a trip in foreign lands with poor road conditions, poverty, lack of sleeping accomodations, and most of all how much they missed their families.

Dave

I couldn't find Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels at my local Barnes & Noble, but found this book instead. I'd seen the Long Way Round TV series on DVD and thought I'd like more about Ewan McGRegor's and Charley Boorman's bike trip around the world than they cound present on their film.At first, I wasn't disappointed. They start with great backstory about how they each got into motorcycles in the first place, and how they'd become friends and conceived and arranged this whole thing. I also like the back-and-forth "Ewan:... Charley:..." running commentary format. They hand-off the narrative and carry the story of their travels rather well.Where I think the book falls short is in that it follows the film too closely. I'd have preferred to have been rewarded with bits and pieces that weren't included on the TV program, which is of course extremely edited because they had to condense 180 days of travel into 6 or 9 (I can't remember exactly how long it is) hour-long episodes. For example, their 2-week trek across North America (From Alaska to New York) is just 1 episode. In the book, it is likewise covered over the course of very few pages.Overall, I think it was worth reading. It has temporarily satiated my wanderlust and piqued my interest in world cultures, as well as introduced me to a few global issues.

Rob & Liz

It was a slow read but quite interesting. Main observations was to see how people across the world in some of the worst areas of poverty and hardship offer help and friendhsip.The dedication of their friends and support group to enable them to take this ride.They wanted to prove a point, have an adventure and established deep friendship.The irony of the female border guard in the USA going ballistic because they had stopped for a moment compared to the border guards in Russia who went thru paperwork but did not go ballistic as they waited, was quite amusing to me.Perhaps you have to love bikes to fully understand the challenge they endured while I looked at the human touch and people beyond the support crew who made the unscripted problems vaporize.Rob

Steve Bolen

I picked up this book because I enjoy reading about things I will probably never be able to do in my lifetime. Plus it seemed like a great adventure. I started out not liking the book much because I didn't like the way it jumped from Ewan to Charlie in the narration. I thought it was distracting to the story. But as I read further along it became less and less of an irritation. The premise of the book is an around the world trip on BMW bikes. I thought that sounded cool. And difficult. I'm not saying there was not hardship on their trip because there was. BUT they were followed by a full support crew and international group of "fixers". There was a very telling picture in the book of Ewan sleeping while his fixers worked on getting him across a border. And there were fits of over emotional whininess. But hell these guys are actors after all. If you like adventure stories this is not a bad one. If would are looking for the meaning of life keep looking.

Heather

Full disclosure:1. I love Ewan McGregor and would enjoy doing naughty things to him. Preferably while he talked in his Scottish accent.2. I watched this TV series.3. I am reading this book not because of #1 and 2 so much as the fact that someone said that she'd read in this book (or sadly the subsequent one) that he and his wife had an open marriage and I became determined to get to the bottom of this. Which I suppose does relate to #1 if not exactly #2. This is not embarrassing to admit at all. Really.Anyhow, long story short, if you've watched the series you don't exactly need to read this book, and were it not for #3 I probably would not have. The series, BTW, was great. The book doesn't exactly tread a lot of new ground if you've watched the series, although that said I actually quite liked it. Not at first - at first I was like, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU LOVE MOTORCYCLES, I JUST WOULD LIKE TO SKIM YOU AND READ ABOUT OPEN MARRIAGES. But then I gave into it and just read it and quickly it was good and interesting.Okay, I suppose as I come to think of it I might be wrong a little bit - maybe I did learn a little behind the scenes good stuff from the book, what with books tending to be more introspective and all that. I mean, I learned that there was a struggle between Ewan & Charley and the support crew. And that Ewan loves camping (and motorcycles), although otherwise doesn't really consider himself much of a man's man. Charley also loves motorcycles, but decidedly does NOT love camping. He has also got a bit of the Irish temper and likes to yell at people a bit, whereas Ewan is more of a pouter. Although Ewan once he's over it is 100% over it, which is suppose is nice.Isn't this exciting? I thought so. Okay, I also got some insight into their time in the Ukraine and why they were so scared at that Ukranian dude's house, which I remember maybe most of all from the series (imprinted in my brain due to Ewan's playing the guitar and singing Running to Stand Still in a display of inhuman hotness). Which is mostly that the Ukranian dude and all his compatriots were enormously gun-happy mobsters that they basically didn't feel they could say no to, and somehow that didn't come through as clearly on screen as it did in here, which was cool. And I learned why they loved Mongolia so much, which in the series somehow also didn't come across to me as well. Because to me Mongolia seemed a little god-forsaken, but to them first of all A. it was more than anywhere else devoid of the trappings of fame bullshit, so they could really disappear and just be normal people (albeit normal westerners on huge motorcycles, which is fairly insane for there, but still) and more importantly B. because Mongolians really seem to have a spirit of warm niceness and helpfulness. I guess it's mostly a nomadic culture, and it seems that as a result there is just very much a culture of helping out people who are in need if possible. Basically what I am saying is that their bikes would break down or something all the time, and honestly whenever it happened a random batch of Mongolians would be passing by and they would just stop, stop what they were doing/where they were going, and get about the business of helping them. Just like random batch of Mongolian dudes see two white dudes with huge motorcycles and they would just stop everything, come over, be like, here, want to pet my horse?, and then sit down and fix the motorcycle for them. This happened so often in Mongolia it seems that Ewan and Charley really got to the point of believing, you know what, we'll get there, things will be okay, if something goes wrong, someone will come along and help. Some of this is explicit in their story, and some of it I'm deducing (they said that this happened, but I'm connecting point A and B in deciding this is one reason why Ewan in particular loved Mongolia). But the bottom line is it seems like being there in a way really made them come to believe in and trust in the goodness of people and that you aren't alone in the world and things will work out. At least sometimes (we all know not everyone is good). Or at least if you're in Mongolia. Which, either way, is a really powerful and awesome lesson to learn - that fundamentally, no matter if you are in the middle of effing nowhere, you aren't alone and someone will likely come by to help and things will be okay.Also things I learned: Ewan and Charley both missed their families a lot and basically moaned about it to each other/in their heads the whole time. Which is actually fairly sweet, although not amazing reading. And that as I suspected there is no mention of Ewan having an open marriage, although there is still the second book to confirm that. There are rumors of that about/on the internet, but not in this book and as he seems quite private about his private life (as he has every right to be), I doubt strongly there will be a "Oh Eve and I like to have it off with the odd other person every now and again" in the second book. In short, it was actually a more interesting read than I'd originally bargained for. And I now have this little bit of amusement in my brain that while it probably was in the series, was overshadowed by my all-encompassing memory of the U2 singing:As he and Charley and Claudio stop for an impromptu skinny dip in a snow-melt-fed Kazakh river:Ewan: "Aaagh! Where has my penis gone?"and laterEwan: "My feet are so cold! Complete penis disappearance!"

Bfg1971

This was a fun read; although, every time I put it down I wanted to go out and ride my motorcycle. The stories of travelling through Europe and Asia were very compelling. It's amazing how much that they had to rely on the kindness of strangers over the course of their trip. Even with the months of preparation and all of the support they had, they still wouldn't have been able to complete the journey with out a lot of luck.While I'm sympathetic to the hardships of the road and the journey, there seemed to be quite a bit of belly aching by all of the parties involved and that turned me off a little bit.Aside from Mr. McGregor being hit by a car in Canada, the North American leg of the journey was kind of disappointing (from a story telling perspective that is).I've been watching the television series too, but always managed to stay a couple of chapters ahead so as not to have the show spoil anything in the book for me. The book did not capture the Unicef visits nearly as well as the television show. I don't know if that is because I needed to visually see the children's hardships or if it just didn't come across as strong in the book.I'll be embarking on Long Way Down next.

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