Book review: Marica van der Meer – Weg van de Wereld (Away from the World)
For a long time I have been thinking if I find the book good or not. However, there is no doubt about the fact that the book title is more adventurous than the content of the book.
Marica van der Meer wants to join a birthday party of a friend who lives in Adelaide. She decides to go there by bike and takes the reader on the back of her bike from Workum in The Netherlands up to Adelaide in Australia. Although she is assisted by friends who cycle parts together with her several times during her journey, I find it very brave that she, as a woman and mostly driving alone, cycles this 28.365 km. It is reasonable that, as a reader you expect to read some very exciting stories in the book. Unfortunately, this book is not very exciting. Marica writes little about her unique encounters with the locals, while she meets a lot of people as we see in the pictures in the book. I also recognize the ‘tough Frisian attitude’ in her story, because she is writing not much about her feelings and emotions. In my opinion, her occasions are described stately.
Anyway, for world travelers who intend to also make this kind of trip, the book is a great guide. Marica describes in detail which roads she takes, what the status is of these roads, how many kilometers she travels a day and if she cycles with cross winds, head wind or downwind.
“Just before Bagan my GPS knows a shortcut, we leave the highway and cycle over a mullet dirt road, surrounded by temples. Bagan is the largest collection of Buddhist temples, stupas and ruins in the world.”
Because Marica describes her experiences very intense, as a reader you have respect for her perseverance which sometimes almost leads to compassion.
Additionally Marica writes in her book exactly what to expect of the local cultures and temperatures.
“The fashion in Laos is wearing flipflops in combination with a winter jacket. In the morning and in the evening it’s pretty cool and people starting fires everywhere.”
In short, as a travel guide, the book is perfect. But if you’re looking for a book full of adventures, this book is somewhat boring and I’d rather go for another book, such as Man in the saddle.