Alastair Humphreys has been on the adventure writing scene for a while now, I reviewed the amazing first book of his around the world cycle here. He has been National Geographic’s adventurer of the year and even coined the term micro-adventure. This last achievement I think is the best, the micro-adventure phenomenon has been amazing, it has got ordinary people to go out and get a bit more adventure in their lives. It has shown everyone that you don’t need to go to a far flung part of the world, or dedicate a huge amount of time or planning, you just grab your sleeping bag and bivvy and off you go.
As I enjoyed his round the world books so much when I was loading up my kindle with books for my time travelling around Thailand I decided to purchase There Are Other Rivers. On the surface this appears to be a book about Alastair’s long walk along one of India’s lesser known rivers. However it is much more than that. He spends much of the book going on a mental or spiritual journey rather than describing the physical adventure he is completing. He delves into the subject of ‘Why do we like to adventure?’ and ‘Why do we like long hard adventures?’ these questions aren’t answered explicitly, nor are they posed explicitly. However I found it interesting taking a journey through his thoughts, thoughts that I found very relevant and to which I was able to strike a chord with. I found myself agreeing and understanding more about my own psyche whilst on an adventure and it simplified in my mind why I like going on adventures and why they have to be a real challenge. This, of course, is a very personal review as I am sure everyone cannot agree with all of the reasons he puts forward. However I am sure that everyone who has been on an adventure has something to gain from reading this book.
The style of writing Alastair uses I found helps bring the reader closer to him. Thus reading the book feels intimate. As always with Alastair’s books the writing is of fantastic quality yet nice and easy to read. It is much shorter than his round the world books too so takes no longer than a few hours of reading. Well worth a read; it’s also not too pricey on kindle!