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Walking Home From Mongolia: Ten Million Steps Through China, From the Gobi Desert to the South China Sea Paperback – 21 Nov 2013

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Frequently Bought Together

Walking Home From Mongolia: Ten Million Steps Through China, From the Gobi Desert to the South China Sea + Cycling Home From Siberia + Every Inch of the Way: My Bike Ride Around the World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (21 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144474528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444745283
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rob Lilwall was born in London, and studied geography at Edinburgh University and then teacher training and theology at Oxford University. Before he set out on his long-distance adventures, he was a door-to-door salesman in California, and a geography high-school teacher in England.

His two main adventures (the subject of his books) were cycling over 35,000 miles from Far Eastern Siberia to London via Papua New Guinea, Australia, Tibet and Afghanistan (Cycling Home From Siberia), and walking over 3,000 miles from the Gobi Desert to Hong Kong, via China (Walking Home From Mongolia). His undocumented adventures include cycling across Ethiopia, the Andes Mountains, and the Karakorum Mountains; walking across Andalucía, a lap of the M25 motorway, and from the Golan Heights to Masada; canoeing down the Thames, and floating down the Severn on a homemade raft.

Since 2010 he has lived in Hong Kong where he is a freelance TV adventurer, writer, and motivational speaker. He has written over 40 freelance pieces for the South China Morning Post. Together with his wife Christine, he is the joint National Director for the Hong Kong mobilization office of the International children's charity Viva.

He has written two books, presented two National Geographic TV series, and has given speeches about his adventures to over 30,000 people worldwide.

Find out more at:
www.roblilwall.com

Product Description

Review

The book serves as an engrossing window into the nascent colossus that is China...where much that's written about the country is concerned with the big picture, this worm's-eye view is fascinating. (The Metro)

I'm not sure Rob Lilwall knows it, but he has penned a two-wheeled classic. I wanted to rise up singing and strap on my bicycle clips. (The Guardian (for CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA))

Lilwall has a wonderful ability to inspire trust in his readers (The Guardian (for CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA))

Lilwall's story is a remarkable one...enhanced by the fact that he has a writer's skill for conveying a sense of place. (The Sunday Telegraph (for CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA))

A rite of passage adventure, full of thrills, excitement and endurance tests (The Irish Times (for CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA))

Rob Lilwall is such a transparently decent, honest and likeable bloke that it is difficult not to become involved in the highs and lows of his journey...Ever since Odysseus, the traveller has returned home to find himself wiser and more fulfilled than when he departed. Rob Lilwall is no exception. (TES (for CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA))

Full piece on Walking Home from Mongolia (Geographical Magazine)

Here Lilwall sets off on another epic quest...This cracking story is the perfect addition to anyone's library of adventure books. (Thomas Saunders Compass Magazine)

It chronicles comedic run-ins, police interrogations, partying with nomads, encounters with cave dwellers and casual brushes with villagers in China. (Time Out HK)

Rob Lilwall has been interviewed for Outlook on the BBC World Service (BBC World Service)

Rob Lilwall has appeared on BBC Breakfast. (BBC Breakfast)

An honest, and often heartwarming meditation on the physical and mental hardships of extreme endurance, and the rapidly changing landscapes of rural China." (Time Out HK)

In 2004 Rob Lilwall quit his job to cycle across Asia. The then-27-year-old left England with a 10GBP pair of Royal Mail trousers, a secondhand tent, and a whistle designed to scare away dogs. His only modes of transportation were boats, and a bike that he had bought in the 1990s. (Time Out Beijing)

A strange yet compelling beast...an insightful and enjoyable read. (Tom's Bike Trip)

I can honestly say Rob's book has inspired me... time to fire up Google, look at some maps and get the notebook out. (Halfway Hike)

The resulting book is an honest, and often heartwarming, meditation on the physical and mental hardships of extreme endurance, and the rapidly changing landscapes of rural China. (Time Out Beijing)

But this is what makes his new book so attractive- he is just a normal guy doing immensely difficult things. (Richard Woodall Idea Magazine)

Rob explores and then he writes. You won't want to put it down. (Richard Woodall Idea Magazine)

Assistant Editor Richard Woodall writes a feature on Rob Lilwall and 'Walking Home from Mongolia' for Idea Magazine. (Richard Woodall Idea Magazine)

Walking Home from Mongolia is a fascinating and well-written record...and a wonderful introduction to the landscape, history and culture of the places they travelled through. (Nicola Vidamour The Methodist Recorder)

Braving the blisters, the traffic, and bathing in freezing rivers, the author notes everything down and presents an oriental odyssey for our times. (The Good Book Guide)

Rob Lilwall has written a piece on his adventures for The Church Times. (The Church Times)

It should dispel at least a few stereotypes for most people... readable, interesting and funny. (Adventure Travel)

The walk is vividly described, the narrative rattles along at a fair pace and the reader is successfully drawn into the story. (Peter Francis The Newspaper)

Rob's travel log is an insight into Chinese culture and the different communities they encounter. His conversational style describes the magnificent terrain they cross, reflecting on the 'highs' and 'lows' of this incredible pilgrimage. I admired his courage and determination to complete the task. (The Magnet)

Book Description

CYCLING HOME FROM SIBERIA author Rob Lilwall's unique adventure through freezing China from Mongolia to Hong Kong - this time on foot.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Allen on 25 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Rob Lilwall's second book, Walking Home From Mongolia, is a strange yet compelling beast.

It is, on the face of it, a linear account of an extremely long and admittedly monotonous walk across the full breadth of mainland China. Rob positions the story deliberately as a sequel to Cycling Home from Siberia of some years ago. As with Siberia, the journey will begin somewhere dauntingly remote; rules few in number but clear in scope are set; and in declaring a final destination of Rob's home in Hong Kong the foundations are laid for a simple, gruelling adventure.

Rob is quick to acknowledge that the reality of a journey like this is not necessarily filled with daily spectacles and dramas and epiphanies. Rather, it is a slow trudge accompanied (at least to begin with) by a big intellectual comedown; daily concerns becoming no more complicated than those of nourishment, shelter and companionship -- humanity's primary concerns for the vast majority of history. There are deeper personal rewards to be had, but they are revealed only with time and reflection, and only to those with eyes to see them.

For me, it is these distinctly unglorious aspects of the journey that created such an insightful and enjoyable read -- just as much as the anecdotes of derring-do involving hapless policeman and linguistic confusion and ill-advised forays into fifteen-mile-long road tunnels that make up the bread and butter of such an adventure.
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Format: Paperback
Other travel / adventure books I have read have left me feeling inspired - this book did not. It left me feeling rather bored. I'm not entirely sure why either - it seemed bland. Perhaps the adventure itself was actually bland - and hence, it appeared so in the book.

I think perhaps the most grating aspect for me was his continual referral to his 'darling Christine' (his wife) and he could not wait to see her. Pretty much ALL of his elation throughout the entire trip from Mongolia to Hong Kong, was in anticipation and satisfaction of meeting up with his wife along the way. I never once felt that level of enthusiasm for ANY aspect of his trip, so called adventure, however, it didn't FEEL like an adventure. It felt like an obligation. Indeed, as another reviewer has suggested, an obligation to complete the trip to create a film to make himself some money for him (from talks about his 'adventure') and for the charity his wife and he support.

The author also gave the impression that he viewed the trip as being all about himself, and nothing much to do with his travelling companion Leon - who I feel without, the ego of the author might have tipped over the scales were it not for the humour, tolerance and enthusiasm of Leon. So, I suspect also I found the author a little unlikeable.

It is hard to explain why this book left me feeling uninspired. The author tries to inject his emotions into it, he talks of some of the details of the trip such as their diet, their budget, the places they travelled through, people they met, arguments, temperatures and so on. But somehow it's on a level which did not pull me into FEELING any adventure. Just hassle. Just an obligation. An annoyance.

SO I guess it boils down to the author appearing not to have enjoyed any of the trip, other than meeting his wife along the way, and the end. Which, is not inspiring.

But it was a good enough effort. Hence the 3 stars, instead of 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Woods on 2 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have twice visited Mongolia to ride horses, and I love this sympathetic people and culture-focused adventure. There are so many anecdotes of interactions with the locals, details about the landscape, the difficult weather conditions and the sometimes infuriatingly slow progress. Well done you guys for completing the walk and keeping faith in yourselves. But how did you ever expect to get away with walking through the motorway tunnel?!
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Thoroughly enjoyable book. You have to marvel at Rob and his cameraman's incredible journey. It was one of those books that I couldn't put down and looked forward to reading the next chapter whenever I had to leave it.

So much so, that I have ordered the DVD of the film they made whilst staggering across China - and a lot of it was a stagger! I felt very pleased to be reading it at home on my comfortable couch, with little more challenge than making the odd cup of tea in between chapters!

Rob's insights into the Mongolian and Chinese way of life are fascinating and all the more precious for stemming from his intimate and unique journey through difficult and isolated terrain - very often walking where no other westerner had walked before.

Rob deserves huge recognition for what was an amazing journey through incredibly difficult and little visited terrain, meeting folk who sometimes had never seen a "foreigner". Gasps of delight from them, as gasps of delight from me on reading it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book tempted me for several reasons, but mostly because of the unusual scope of this journey. Crossing the Gobi desert and all of mainland China was a wonderful achievement, and it was fascinating to read how such a vast expedition was possible on such a low spec (relatively) budget. I spend a lot of time outdoors with various people and could empathise with those long repetitive days, the difficulties of spending too much time with somebody and I could also appreciate the end goal. Great read with interesting insights into Mongolian and Chinese culture, great humour and a clear thirst for adventure.
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