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Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road

Written by Kate Harris

Narrated by Amy Landon


Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road

Written by Kate Harris

Narrated by Amy Landon

ratings:
4/5 (24 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 21, 2018
ISBN:
9780062850805
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

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Also available as bookBook

Description

A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world.

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Aug 21, 2018
ISBN:
9780062850805
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Kate Harris is a writer and adventurer with a knack for getting lost. Named one of Canada's top modern-day explorers, her award-winning nature and travel writing has featured in The Walrus, Canadian Geographic Travel, Sidetracked and The Georgia Review, and cited in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. In 2019, she was awarded the RBC Taylor Prize, one of Canada's most esteemed literature awards. She has degrees in science from MIT and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in the history of science from Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. When she isn't away on expeditions, or reporting on UN environmental negotiations for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Harris lives off-grid in a log cabin on the border of the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska. This is her first book.


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What people think about Lands of Lost Borders

4.1
24 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Fantastic book about traveling in Asia. Very funny stories about riding a bike on the Silk Road.
  • (1/5)
    not that interesting,too much of Kate Harris,give it a pass!
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    No real introspection, perhaps because she's always with friends. Though we learn next to nothing about them, either. I think that solo travel gives more interesting stories. Instead, in the personal parts, she throws in random pieces of science history. But only utterly mundane trivia that we all already know. She says that she blew off her degree in science history, and it shows. The writing is always flowery and self-indulgent. Sometimes, it works. But you can only compare yourself to Neil Armstrong so many times before I start to worry about your ego. Maybe I have just read too many of these stories lately, but I also get tired of privileged Western travelers who plop themselves down in random towns, without any plans or any money, unprepared. > I didn't know, despite my best intentions to learn, how to fix a flat tire.> Before we left, the family in Rize scribbled another family's name and phone number on a piece of paper, and in this manner Mel and I were passed like batons between generous friends all across Turkey. The challenge was locating our would-be hosts in the next town, for typically they didn’t speak English. We stumbled on a fail-safe tactic: upon arriving we'd head to a busy sidewalk and call the host family's number. As soon as someone picked up, we'd hand the cellphone to a random (and now very confused) Turkish person.Here are some of the worst and best pieces of writing. You can decide which is which. > The British Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard claimed that "polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised." Winter bike trips in Turkey might be a close second.> When I woke the next morning the tent ceiling was constellated with frost. All the stars seemed alien, ungathered, and for a moment I felt unsure what planet I was on, the sky above suspiciously crimson. Then I spotted an earthly landmark in the tent’s laundry line, where two pairs of wool socks and my watch drooped stiffly. I sat up to check the time and accidentally brushed the tent wall, sending the visible universe into supernova. Frost flaked off the ceiling, the fabric of space-time buckled and creased, frozen socks drop-kicked my lap. It was eight in the morning.> In restricting the range of directions you can travel, in charging ordinary movement with momentum, a bike trip offers that rarest, most elusive of things in our frenetic world: clarity of purpose. Your sole responsibility on Earth, as long as your legs last each day, is to breathe, pedal, breathe—and look around. … Every day on a bike trip is like the one before—but it is also completely different, or perhaps you are different, woken up in new ways by the mile. If anything, the world grew more inscrutable the longer I looked at it, and the less focused I was on the brute mechanics of pedaling—aching legs and lungs, kilometers covered and kilometers to come—the more awake I could be to the world around me, its ordinary wonders.> After all, the term metaphor comes from the Greek meta (above) and pherein (to carry)—to be carried above, a flight into connection, so that after traveling long and far enough every mountain reminds you of another mountain, every river summons another river, and you learn enough landmarks by which to love the whole world> The flock poured over the land like light, at once particle and wave, moving up the mountain with a liquid grace that left me stunned.

    1 person found this helpful