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January 18, 2011

Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means

By Charley Boorman

Picking up where By Any Means left off in Australia, this is the second stage of Charley’s epic journey. The original idea was to travel from Charley’s home in County Wicklow, Ireland, to Wollongong in Australia using any means of local transport available except commercial airlines. The first leg encompassed 25 countries and covered 20,000 miles. Not content to leave it there, however, Charley returns to take care of unfinished business.

The second leg of By Any Means sees Charley travel from Sydney to Tokyo via Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan as he battles with the likes of torrential rain (Brisbane was under water back in 2009), 100% humidity and the ever-present home sickness. His conveyances this trip, besides the obligatory motorbikes, include the ute, a replica Spitfire, Jeepney, various boats, planes, trains and ferries.

In contrast to Charley’s earlier trip, where I felt the emphasis was very much on the modes of transport, this chapter seemed to focus much more on the locations, the people and their cultures. For this reason, perhaps, I found it a more enjoyable read and more of a genuine travel book compared with the fun premise on which the first trip was based.

James’ out-of-five star rating: ***

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