18 May 2014

The Seed Buried Deep by Jason Lewis [2013]

This is the sequel to Lewis' first book about circumnavigating the world using human power.  

Here are the things which stay with me a month after reading:

1     The audacity of the venture is still incredible.  In the first section of the book, the author continues to rollerblade across the United States with almost no money, sleeping rough most of the time and carrying everything he needs on his back.  This section feels like a tale of a Great Depression era hobo, yet the trip occurred as recently as 1996.  There are setbacks to overcome (to put it mildly) but the overwhelming surprise here is that this was possible at all - it's very liberating to read about and gives one a tremendous sense of what is possible.

2     Lewis crosses the Pacific in his pedal-powered boat Moksha in three legs, one of which is a 73 day solo voyage. What's interesting here is that even in this unimaginable stretch of solitary confinement, Lewis seems to feel less isolated than in the initial trip across the Atlantic when he had a co-pilot.  I think the reason for this is that the technology has advanced sufficiently for him to be in relatively regular contact with home and the school classes who are following him by email (this is the dawn of the internet age).  Lewis appears to view this inability to be truly alone as an obstacle to attaining the spiritual enlightenment he is seeking, which seems a challenging idea in a connected society.

A gripping tale by a modern hero possessed of awe-inspiring stubbornness.

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