I continue to torture myself with travel books, and this one was especially masochistic as it deals with a long term US road trip, which is on my bucket list.
It’s an interesting read, with Thompson, a former foreign correspondent deciding to hit the road as he gets older. The trip is inspired by his increasing boredom with his quiet life and realization that he doesn’t know much about his homeland.
What follows are his short recollections of the trip, the sights he sees and the people he meets along the way.
At times he can be a crabby old man (not a fan of women with tattoos) but Thompson is always entertaining and clever in his writings, capturing his love of the America he discovers and the renewed energy the trip gives him. He also reflects on how America has changed, the way travel has changed and the towns which have become empty and forlorn as the road tourism has dried up.
Along the way he has brief liaisons with women, gets stoned and chats to random folks he meets, all of which he recounts in short, entertaining entries. Thompson seems to embrace the life on the road with gusto, enjoying the nature and solitude, but also using the skills of his former job to coax life stories from strangers and go off the beaten track.
Funny, touching and extremely honest it’s also a pleasantly quick and easy read, and I’ve spent my lunchbreaks this week tearing through it, losing myself out on the road with Thompson and torturing myself with dreams of being far away.
Verdict: A really good read, Thompson is a skilled writer and he meets fairly interesting guide. The only downside is that it’ll make you wish you were on the open road too. 9/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.