Reading Overland was an adventure in itself for me, because of multiple reasons, which I will explore in more detail below. Reading Overland in the way I did made me experience this book in the most adventurous way and understand the points it makes so much better.
About The Book:
Genre: Travel, Nonfiction
Publisher: Raz el Hanout
Format I read it in: Paperback
I am so glad the author, Richard Kaufmann, agreed to send me a copy of this book. The first bit I loved about it was the design. The book cover looks amazing, as well as the pictures inside the book, that give life to the places and characters in the stories. But aside from this, the book also comes with a big map and a postcard, both also looking gorgeous. The map shows the travel lines between major cities and more information about the journeys too.
“One does not travel in order to arrive, but for the sake of the journey itself.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
When I started the book, I was preparing for a holiday. A 2-week road trip to Skopje, Macedonia in a car. According to Google, it takes 26 hours of driving (in one way). I was planning to finish Overland and write the review before we head off. And then the first paragraph of this book changed my plans. If I am about to travel so many hours, Overland would surely be the best choice of book to bring with me.
I am so glad I made that choice, and although this delayed my reading process and review (so sorry, Richard), I will forever cherish the connection this book now has with my road trip. What was supposed to be a “drive to get there” because a road trip in its fullest. My boyfriend and I decided to drive and stop in a lot of places throughout Europe, and explore a little bit of each country before we reach our destination.
Overland focuses on travelling slowly, mostly using the train as a transport mode.
Richard begins his story by talking about his adventures and why he fell in love with travelling. Going to Morocco with one plan and ending up with a ton of memories, new friendships and stories to tell. Then travelling to Iran via train and meeting Anna, who will later on become his wife. I loved how well described the places and people are in this book. I can feel the culture, I can almost smell the cities. Everytime I read about an adventure, I want to travel and experience that too.
A very important message that is shared in this book is about how holidays are perceived today by the majority of people. People book a flight, and then wait until they reach the destination for their holiday to start.
“I think that we should free ourselves of the idea that the holiday doesn’t start till we reach our destination, and that the happiness we find there ends with our departure.”
Through the stories in Overland, we can see there is more to travel than the actual destination. Travelling to a certain destination is an adventure in itself. I know my road trip with a car can’t compare with train or bus travels, but I saw so much more out my window than I would have if I was inside a plane. If I was on a plane, I would never have driven past Frankfurt, and seen a bridge above the motorway that happens to be a runway, and actually see a plane taking off right in front of me whilst I was driving.
The book also explores travelling without a plan, and travelling with as little planning as you can manage. Usually, we are very quick to moan if something we’ve been expecting from our holiday is not there. But what if we don’t have any expectations? What if we just have our destination in mind, and then take things as they come? Imagine all the places you can see, all the new interesting people you may meet. How many adventures have we missed by sticking to our holiday plans?
I am a very organised person, and having no plans would stress me out immensely. But after reading Richard’s stories, I know it’s possible to plan little to be able to relax, but also leave a lot of free space for memories to just create themselves on their own accord. And that’s where the real fun is.
Honestly, I can’t recommend Overland enough, if you love to travel!
And even if you don’t, it will prompt you to book your next holiday. It has so many amazing stories that feature slow travel. A lot of tips about the locations, organisation, planning, budgeting, culture, etc. It has amazing quotes, mentions of books, movies, and music. It even has a little bit of petry included, that I quite enjoyed!
About The Author:
Richard Kaufmann, born in Dresden in 1985, is a freelance copywriter and author. He gained a BA in International Communication Management in Amsterdam, and after many years in marketing for a range of internet start-ups, made his great journey to Iran in 2014. Back in Berlin, he founded the magazine transform with a series of illustrators, journalists and friends, and then became its editor and director. Today he lives and works in Leipzig.