As a twenty something traveler I always dreamed of doing what Dave Norman and his friend Josh do: travel the world via the Trans-Siberian railroad. Dave flies to Seoul, Korea where he meets up with Josh and together they form a roving fraternity duo heading their way through China, Mongolia, Russia and Eastern Europe to the tune of booze and bad moods.
I have read a lot of very good travel memoirs. Most of them are extremely well written and full of witty observations and self-deprecating humor. I love a wry take on the theme of a stranger in a strange land. Dave Norman does not seem to understand the genre, rather he seems to have published his travel journal and included every whimsical thought and internal monologue that he had while trekking across the North Hemisphere. Each page was full of half thoughts and slang terms and fevered experiences and elipses. This book could have used a good editor. From the absense of any acknowledgements in the final pages (which I always love to read) I have to believe he forgot to run this by anyone.
This is why, strange to say, that in the parting pages of this book, when Dave Norman promises his next book will be about part two of this grand tour with another friend named Jake, I actually felt a little interested in it. Was it true that I stuck with the writer long enough, through enough eye rolling, angst ridden travel that I actually want to see how this turns out? Perhaps.
Also, once I waded between the awkward prose, I did enjoy seeing parts of the world to which sadly, I will probably not venture. My rugged, youth hostel, strange meat eating days are long past me. So Dave Norman, if you read this, I am one of those Saints who would sit with you at dinner and hear your whole travel story from first to last and ask you about all the crazy adventures you had and admonish you for having a perpetual bad mood all the way around the world.
This was an early review book and if anyone wants to journey on the Transiberian railroad please let me know and I will send it along.