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One Steppe Beyond: Across Russia in a VW Camper [Paperback]

Thom Wheeler
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Aug 2011
Travelling across the former Soviet Union is a challenge at the best of times - but in a dilapidated VDub… that's got to be plain daft... hasn't it? I was in my prime, hungry to make a mark on the world, yet I was making ends meet by delivering egg and cress sandwiches on a bicycle with a bent axle to condescending office workers. Gainful employment in the ex-Soviet Union was a dream come true. A chance job offer at a timber yard in Estonia gives Thom and his old pal Jo a taste for the unknown. So when Uncle Tony asks them to drive to Vladivostok for another job, they can't think of a good reason why not. The result is a classic caper across the former Soviet Union in Max, a rusty old VW camper. Knowing little of the language or the geography ahead, they embark on probably the longest commute ever, encountering corrupt officials, film star mechanics and over-friendly gangsters. Far off the tourist trail, they bear witness to the collapse of one nation and the birth of a new one during the free-for-all that was Russia in the nineties.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale; 1 edition (1 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849531560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849531566
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thom is a writer with an interest in travel and a particular interest in regions of the ex Soviet Union. He has lived for extended periods of time in Georgia, Estonia, Ukraine and Russia.

He has contributed to various publications, and appeared on BBC Radio and Talk Radio Europe. Thom is the first person to drive a campervan across the Russian Federation (from Tallinn to Vladivostok) - a journey recounted in his book 'One Steppe Beyond.' He lives in Brighton.

Product Description


'This well-written account is full of humour, character portraits and information asides.' (Motorcaravan & Motorhome Monthly)

'Entertaining account of a drive to Vladivostok and the encounters along the way.' (The Bookseller)

Featured in (Wanderlust)

'Wheeler's book is an absorbing and entertaining look at Russia's dramatic evolution in the '90s'.' (Real Travel)

About the Author

Thom Wheeler lived in St. Petersburg for several years working as a guide and teacher before going on to live in several ex-Soviet countries, including Georgia and Ukraine. He continues to spend time in the ex-Soviet Union traveling, teaching, and writing, and he runs an annual theater workshop in Tzarskoe Selo, Russia. This is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THOM WHEELER AND HIS CAMPERVAN 8 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this very much. It was easy to read with a light touch which made me want to keep reading it. An interesting insight into Russia a few years ago and a remarkable journey to make in a VW campervan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read... 31 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading Thom Wheeler's book 'One Steppe Beyond', the story of an epic journey across the ex Soviet Union, and I really enjoyed it. It manages to capture the excitement of youth with an insightful and humourous look at a much unreported part of the world.....all wrapped up in a great story. Aspirational stuff and well worth a look.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Campervan Mayhem! 2 Oct 2013
A raw and gritty ruble infused rollercoaster of a travelogue following the exploits of a pair of crazy English travellers who decided to drive a campervan across post-Soviet Russia from St Petersburg to Vladivostock. Its honest,intimate, informative and poignant at times, as we follow the intrepid pair's trail through forests and frozen plains, backstreet garages and mafioso infested ghost-towns to their final destination. Fancy a different, hearty read that's infused with beatnik abandon, then I heartily recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire up the furnaces of wanderlust!! 27 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book...It makes me just wanna go and buy an old campervan and head out onto the open road. In todays all too serious world too, Thom Wheeler's 'One Stepp Beyond gives you a welcome antidote to all the austerity and doomongery that pervades most of our daily lives, reminds us that there is still adventure to be had if we just say yes to opportunity, just remain open to 'maybe'.

Having travelled extensively throughout the region too, I really enjoyed the personal commentary on his and his friend's haphazard wanderings, as well as the bite-size insights to the places they visited, without loading the reader with too much 'history'.

This book is a real tonic on a long winter night that's for sure. Will there be a follow up? I hope so Mr Wheeler...Time to crank up 'Max' again and head off into the sunset!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 31 Mar 2013
By Wisty
Written in a nice easy style, this travel diary contains much to entertain anyone who has so much as a passing interest in Russia and "things Russian". Thom is clearly an open minded sort of guy who looks for the good and amusing in any given situation rather than dwelling on more negative aspects. To get the best out of any trip to Russia you need to i) not take yourself too seriously, ii) be interested in everything, and iii) understand that Russians are not Westerners, they don't act like Westerners and they don't think like Westerners. Thom embraces all these concepts and more, and the result is a highly readable account which I for one go back to time and time again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good and insightful read into Russia 8 Jan 2013
By Edna85
A good and insightful read into Russia, which is not drawn out. The book provides some interesting insights into Russia's geography, culture and history. I picked up some interenting facts and knowledge about what it is like to travel across Russia.

The writer engages with the history and geaography of many of the places him and his travel partner visited during the drive across Russia. The writer includes pieces of interesting information surrounding Ivan the Terrible to Romanov dynasty.

This is a good book for anyone interested in Russia or interested in travelling to Russia. If you just want to learn a bit about Russia this book is a good starting point.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book club 2 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting read for our book club choice about russia, very informative as well as being amusing. would recommend to friends.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Camper Van fans 7 Oct 2012
Not brilliantly written, but an interesting story about probably the first person to drive a camper van the entire way across Russia
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