The World’s Most Travelled Man: A Twenty-Three-Year Odyssey to and Through Every Country on the Planet

Mike Spencer Bown. Douglas & McIntyre (PGW, U.S. dist., UTP, Canadian dist.), $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-77162-142-7
Spencer Bown shares his wild, wacky, and touching travel adventures as he describes his quest to visit every country and quasi-country in the world. Surprisingly, he travels without a camera, explaining that his interest is in collecting not images but stories, and the book is packed with those. He recounts getting a spy drunk in East Timor, being attacked by butterflies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ending up on the wrong side of security at the ferry in Calais, and attempting to see the archeological site of Babylon shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Living out of a backpack, Spencer Bown meets all kinds of people—Honduran children who live on what they earn by begging, diplomats, Afghan fighters, South Sudanese bush war veterans, Israel Defense Forces veterans, and Iranian partygoers—to whom he introduces readers. His approach to tense encounters, such as being put in detention as soon as he arrived in the notoriously dangerous Puntland State of Somalia, could be seen as either foolhardy or brilliant: “I find it better to be my normal friendly self in these situations,” he advises a fellow detainee. (He was eventually invited to meet the Puntland president.) This book is endlessly fascinating. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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