I first read about Josie Dew and her cycling escapades in a cycling magazine for which she wrote a regular article. Being a keen cycle tourer,I eagerly awaited
her fearless stories about life on a bike.
This book, while being a collection of different adventures in nine different
countries manages to hang together..just..but without any sense of natural
continuity. I find it increasingly difficult however to view some of her more
hair-raising stories as anthing but credible. Indeed, she takes an almost
macabre delight in nosing in on most people's idea of extreme danger, to the
point of exageration.
I can understand she needs to find 'material' to write about but the sort of
accommodation she regularly chooses to stay, namely rat infested fleapits with
communal hole in the ground for a toilet, is beyond belief. She treats the
whole issue of disease and dysentry in India as something which affects other
people as if she were immune.
She tends to be rather flippant about travelling solo in places well known for
hostility and sexual harrassment, choosing to gleefully ignore any well-meaning
warnings from experienced male travellers or locals in the know.
Generally speaking, the book will appeal to some, depending on what is expected
from such a book. But other female travel writers such as Bettina Selby or
Dervla Murphy write with far more sensitivity and educated knowledge about the
world around them and not just regurgitating a guidebook. They at least don't
have the irritatingly repetitive fetish of describing in gory detail their
alfresco toilet habits..