Emilio Scotto had never ridden a motorcycle in his life, but as a boy he'd dreamt of travelling the world. On a visit to a Honda motorcycle dealer with a friend, he saw a poster for a Honda Gold Wing - and just had to have it.
That was the beginning of his journey. He started with no money and no travel experience, but still he rode nearly 500,000 miles through 279 countries, spending over 10 years on the road.
During those 10 years, he was shot at, imprisoned six times, robbed five times, and suffered his way through three major illnesses (including malaria). The Honda used 12,500 gallons of gas, 300 gallons of oil, 86 tyres, 11 batteries, and nine seats.
He met the Pope, Antonia Banderas, and Muhammad Ali, as well as a host of characters across the globe that all, in their own way, made his adventure possible.
The book itself is utterly compelling. Scotto comes across as a charismatic, disarmingly naive man, and you quickly find yourself egging him on, particularly as he struggles the enormous Gold Wing through the thick jungles of Africa.
The story-telling does fade a little in the last third of the book, where the author resorts to using pictures to describe the last few years of his journey. That's a shame, because there's a real sense the book could easily have been twice the length without running out of steam.
That aside, I found this to be a fascinating story. More inspirational than Ted Simon's books but, as the author himself notes, it has now become a 'period piece'. With much of the journey taking place in the late 1980s, any attempt to recreate this adventure would now be impossible.
It's a one-off.