Quiet for a Tuesday

qfat.jpgYou’re alone in the middle of Algeria. Your entire library of irreplaceable and out of print topographical maps has been confiscated by the military, and they suspect you of being a spy. It’s all just a bizarre misunderstanding of course, but they’re talking about deporting you. If they do, you’ll probably never get another visa to the country. This may be your one and only chance to undertake your trip, the outcome of an entire year’s planning. What do you do?

Tom Sheppard set off alone on a 700 mile journey through uninhabited desert, entirely off track, without maps, without a guide, and with only the fuel and provisions he had carefully loaded into his Mercedes G-Wagen. The only information he had to rely on were detailed notes from prior overland trips, vague memories of satellite photos he had studied, and GPS waypoints from the trips in his logs — they could point the way, but they said little to nothing about the terrain he would encounter on the new route he hoped to pioneer.

Sheppard’s wonderfully written account describes the extreme hazards of his journey with a modest tongue-in-cheek humour that belies the dangers he faced. His passion for Saharan landscapes and his admiration for the people of Algeria are evident in every line of his thoughtful, well-observed prose. The photos alone — 233 jaw-dropping full-colour images — are enough to recommend this volume to any traveler’s library.

 

 

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