Take a couple of vintage cars and their owners’ determination to drive them on a pilgrimage from Australia to Finland, and you have a fascinating story about some foolhardy, adventurous blokes, told through photos and the distillation of blogs and diary entries.
Starting out from Thailand, their travels took them through Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia and Finland – a six-month journey spread over two legs in successive years.
Told in an engaging, self-deprecating and personal style, the book takes the reader on a journey that follows the ancient Silk Road route into the mountains of south-west and western China and the Tibetan Plateau where Muslim and Buddhist communities have lived for centuries, then through the ‘-stans’, and beyond.
Many adventures, impossibly sticky situations, near misses and regular mechanical breakdowns were inevitably resolved with the support and civility shown towards this motley group of travellers in their vintage cars, by locals renowned for their hospitality. Nothing was ever too much trouble.
They had no sponsor, no professional photographer or filmmaker, no journalist to publish the story, no ‘name’ to add fame and celebrity, no contract in the pocket for a coffee table book with quality photos or informed historical and cultural insights, and no travelling mechanical workshop. There was just a determination to get each of these old cars to Helsinki in one piece and smell the roses along the way.