Anything but...

Anything but...

Charlie Boorman and Russ Malkin cover 20,000 miles across 25 countries in 112 different types of transport except an airplane

Jai Arjun Singh
September 05 , 2014
01 Min Read

As actor, adventurer and TV-series host, Charley Boorman wears many hats, but motorbikes are his biggest passion. His expeditions with Ewan McGregor have been made into books and documentary series. He got the idea for By Any Means while he was planning a trip to Australia for another biking safari. When Boorman said he wasn’t keen on simply jumping onto a plane and flying from Ireland to Sydney, his friend Russ Malkin suggested that they go to Australia “by any means other than taking a plane from Heathrow. We pick a route and cross each country, each piece of water, using a different form of transport”.

Thus the journey from Wicklow to Wollongong spanned more than 20,000 miles and 3 months, and took Boorman and Malkin through 25 countries. It also involved a staggering 112 different types of transport, including a 12-foot Laser dinghy that took them across the English Channel; a tractor in Iran; a Delhi auto-rickshaw (which he describes as a “Bajaj tuk-tuk”); an elephant in Nepal; and, for a dash of luxury, the Orient Express from Paris to Venice.

The book version of By Any Means is a companion piece to the BBC TV series that emerged from these travels, and though competently written, it often feels superfluous — a diary record of Boorman’s attempts to meet this or that deadline. The focus here is the actual schedule, rather than the time spent in a particular place, and the few observations about the countries they pass through aren’t too insightful. Despite the interesting bits, such as the Vietnam section, on the whole this isn’t worth the price. Watch the series instead.

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