- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Dey Street Books (August 21, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062839349
- ISBN-13: 978-0062839343
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road Hardcover – August 21, 2018
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“Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic.” (Pico Iyer)
“Kate Harris arrives among us like a meteor – a hurtling intelligence, inquiring into the nature of political borders and the meaning of crossing over. Her sheer determination to explore what she does not know compels you to travel happily alongside her in Lands of Lost Borders.” (Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award)
“A hymn to the pure love of travel: a brave and astonishing journey.” (Colin Thubron, author of To a Mountain in Tibet and Shadow of the Silk Road)
“Kate Harris has an explorer’s brave heart, a scholar’s cataloging brain, and a writer’s keen eye. She beautifully captures what it means to cross borders, both geographic and psychic, as one embarks on the grand adventure that is growing up.” (Rachel Friedman, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost)
“This fascinating book, about an unbridled desire for exploration, completely thrilled me. Getting to ride alongside Kate on her Silk Road journey is the literary adventure of a lifetime.” (Leigh Stein, author of Land of Enchantment)
“With humor, deep sentiment, and often poetic prose, Harris takes the reader not only through “the stans” (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, etc.) of Asia, but also through the history and current state of adventure travel…Exemplary travel writing: inspiring, moving, heartfelt, and often breathtaking.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Beautifully rendered...Harris’s talent is in her prose, as she offers breathtaking descriptions of the Silk Road, shrouded in mystery and wonder.” (Publishers Weekly)
“In her luminous, incisive memoir, Harris chronicles her permanent wanderlust, her twisting career path and the months she spent cycling the Silk Road with her best friend...Lyrical, brilliant and sharply observed, it is a paean to wanderlust and a call for readers to launch their own explorations.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Her captivating memoir will inspire readers to question their self-imposed boundaries and map out new adventures.” (Real Simple)
“A compelling, suspenseful, insightful and elegant travel memoir. This is one that will have you dreaming.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
From the Back Cover
“Maybe all meaningful journeys begin with a mistake. Some kind of transgression or false turn or flawed idea that sets a certain irresistible odyssey in motion. Growing up in small-town Ontario, where the tallest summit was a haystack and the widest horizon a field of corn, my blunder seemed obvious, though it wasn’t exactly my fault: I was born centuries too late for the life I was meant to live.”
As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars.
In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.
Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.
Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.
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There is lots of adventure and horror stories but also history, geopolitics, science, and the environment. It is not a book to tear through, this is a book to savor, to make you think. I highly recommend what I think is going to be a very popular book!
Here are the contents:
1: Marco Made Me Do It (North America)
2: Roof of the World (Tibetan Plateau)
3: Natural History (England and New England)
4: Undercurrents (Black Sea)
5: The Cold World Awakens (Lesser Caucasus)
6: Angle of Incidence (Greater Caucasus)
7: Borderlands (Caspian Sea)
8: Wilderness / Wasteland (Ustyurt Plateau and the Aral Sea Basin)
9: The Source of a River (Pamir Knot)
10: A Mote of Dust Suspended in a Sunbeam (Tarim Basin and Tibetan Plateau)
11: Road’s End (Indo-Gangetic Plain and Greater Himalaya)
It was a delight to join in on this adventure in pursuit of the experience of awe.
But that’s JustMe.
The only parts I had to skip was her scientific experiences in college as some of those words I held no meaning for me. When Kate and Mel made their trek on the spice road I could follow along as have read many books about this area and the turmoil of the many countries they traveled. I did so enjoy the map she included in the front section as kept my finger on it so I could easily turn back and follow their route as I read.
Most of all I love the sense of humor Kate had about their many experiences and caught myself laughing out loud. It made this book such a joy to read of the many kindness they found in the people of the different countries they traveled. Sneaking through check points and just pushing themselves to all kinds of weather was amazing.
If you are a history buff or love to explore on a bicycle then this book is for you. How they could travel that far with all their gear, clothes, food, tent, money to exchange and visas was beyond me. A great travel book on the Spice Road so check out Kate Harris’s book “Lands of the Lost Borders – A Journey on the Silk Road.