The book that inspired Charley and Ewan’s Long Way Round & Long Way Down, which in turn inspired a new generation of adventure riders and armchair adventurers alike, is the go to read for motorcycle travel enthusiasts. Whether you are just getting into motorcycling or you are a seasoned motorcycle travel vet, Ted Simon’s Jupiter’s Travel is a must read.
Ted was born in 1931 in Germany and raised in London, England. Ted started a journalism career with the Continental Daily Mail in Paris, writing articles and eventually switching to novels. In late 1973 Ted began a journey around the world on a 500cc Triumph Tiger 100, which lasted four years, riding over 78,000 miles through 54 diverse countries. During his travels he wrote for The Sunday Times, a UK newspaper, but it was the book that detailed his entire trip called Jupiter’s Travels that has inspired motorcycle wonderers around the world.
To this day Ted remains an active member of the ADV motorcycling community and you can still see him at events and gatherings sharing his experiences.
First published in 1978, the book continues to fly off the shelves nearly 40 years after its original release. The book is as much of an insight into the world we live in as it is a motorcycle travel book. When Ted departed on his journey, he knew next to nothing about motorcycles and did not even have a motorcycle licenses when he decided on his mode of transportation. Rider’s will take away many life lessons from the book, and may come to realize that all the expensive gear we believe we need today in order to complete a few weeks on the road is far from necessary.
Ted’s story clearly depicts the challenges and uniqueness of travelling on a motorcycle. His original journey was completed with very little gear and it can be hard to imagine given the state of today’s ADV motorcycle market and growing technology. Ted dives into tough subjects such as poverty, religion, politics and the diversity of cultures around the world. At times the trip pushes Ted Simon physically and mentally to his limits, experiencing great highs and lows, and reveals the true life of a solo world traveler.
In 2001, at the young age of 69, Ted Simon bravely decides to retrace his trails and complete his trip again; this time taking two and a half years covering 59,000 miles and 48 countries. The book reflects heavily on the changes our global community has undergone over the nearly 30 years between trips. Unfortunately, Ted discovers the poverty that he encountered has worsened, and the political state of many countries is still struggling. The book is a little depressing at times and is not as engaging as the original, but it’s still worth a read and may inspire you to take a similar journey, retracing your steps of that trip you took when you were young and have so many found memories of.
Jupiter’s Travels may induce feelings of quitting your well-paying job, selling your home and all of your possessions and becoming a Gypsy.
Ted Simon’s other books include:
- Riding High: The Stories that Jupiter’s Travels Didn’t Tell
- Rolling Through the Isles: A Journey Back Down the Roads That Led to Jupiter
- Jupiter’s Travels in Camera: The photographic record of Ted Simon’s celebrated round-the-world motorcycle journey
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