British Explorer Ed Stafford famously completed his two and a half year epic along the length of the Amazon River in South America last year; he's released a documentary and written a book about it since. The second half of the Documentary is on Channel Five tonight but the book came out several weeks ago.
I bought the book on the morning of release; it wasn't even on the shop shelves yet so I patiently waited for the lady to rummage around the unopened boxes for it! Just over a week later I reached the final page, inspired and amazed by a really really well written book. I love any book about adventure but this stands head and shoulders above the huge majority - Ed Stafford writes with incredible honesty and made me want to get the next plane out to South America. I barely put the book down despite being away in Morocco, my friend I was travelling with read the book in just two days of three sittings!
Ed Stafford finds himself in the most amazing situations and through skill, and often luck, comes through alive and he's able to write about these situations in such an amazing way. I also found myself relating to certain times on his journey - he recalls walking in to a man's hut deep in the Amazon late at night to be told Spain won the World Cup, I was sitting in a bar watching the match overlooked by the Taj Mahal in India at the very same moment!
What really brought home the length of the trip was that he began walking before I took my A-levels, by the time he'd finished I'd left school, had a gap year and finished my first year of uni, and more, and that felt like a bloody long time! Very few adventures nowadays are true world firsts and this must go down in history as an epic, ground breaking and life changing expedition - the book accurately covers how epic this adventure was but from a modest view point, not once does Ed Stafford say how great he is or steal the limelight.
Everything about the book and the story is incredible, I couldn't recommend this book enough and I'll be sure to keep an eye on Ed Stafford's future endeavours, they're bound to be just as breath breathtakingly good as this one. An inspiration up there with the great Sir Ranulph Fiennes and co. He's a fellow Newcastle University Geography student, let's hope we all turn out like him!