Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Long Way Round"

The inspiring programme which I came across while channel-hopping (Feb 14th) was "Long Way Round". This is part of a series on Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman motorcycling 20,000 miles, taking them through Europe, Russia, Mongolia, Alaska, New York and back to London where they began three months earlier. This was the last episode (I'd also caught a couple of others by accident too) where they completed their ride through the US to New York.

"99% of people were friendly and generous"

Ewan said that he hoped their trip would be inspiring and so often we were put off doing things by thinking "what if...?" But it was the what ifs that made life interesting. He also said that they had found that 99% of people they'd met had been friendly and generous (not really surprising except in our cynical culture) and they agreed that it had been a life-changing experience. In the previous programme he'd said that once back in the US he'd got calls from his agent, but now multi-million dollar films didn't seem that significant.

I think I'll buy the DVD set - you don't get too many positive, inspiring and funny documentary series, cf.:

"In an era where any given day the television listings will offer 12 different reality shows about unpleasant people doing idiotic things for selfish reasons, it's easy to forget the joys of the old-school adventure documentary — the sort where reasonably prepared and intelligent folks go to exotic locales and have interesting experiences that we can enjoy vicariously. Like Long Way Round (2004), which followed actor Ewan McGregor and his pal Charley Boorman on their utterly insane attempt to take a 20,000 mile motorcycle trip from London to New York City. ring an avid love of motorcycles.

See for the special edition with extra episodes, and lots of rave reviews, e.g:

"So incredibly, butt-clenchingly good!!!"

January 31, 2006 Reviewer: Michael Sleggs from Cirencester, England

"I bought this dvd with prospects of doing my own bit of traveling in my gap year next year. I'm here to tell you.. this dvd is the greatest traveling dvd ever made.. it's the best show ever made. Charley Boorman, Ewan Mcgregor and crew provide so much great entertainment with the right amount of humour and drama to keep you hooked.. after watching this.. my mind has been made up.. Ewan Mcgregor, and Charley Boorman can do no wrong! There's also other funny characters, such as Claudio who provides most of the camera work for the show. This is the best money I have ever spent on a dvd and I've bought a lot of dvds. I recently bought the Michael Palin Travel dvd boxset, which I guess is a bit more informative.. but I much much prefer Long Way Round as it is funnier, cooler, and just, well, incredible. The only thing that could make this dvd any better is if it were longer than ten hours.. not to say I felt cheated in the slightest.. just to say that it was soo much fun to watch I would love to see more.. GO BUY IT NOW!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey man, |just searched up my name on yahoo for a laugh as you do.. and I came across your blogspot.. which had a section on Long way round.. and you even copied and pasted my review from amazon on to it.. This isn't a problem or anything I'm just curious who you are? I'm Michael Sleggs, I just finished my 2nd year of film making at uni and now I literally am taking that gap year I talked about in my review.. at the moment tho I'm in the earning money stage for the traveling.. but it's gonna be awesome.. anyway. take it easy! Michael

Blogger sybariter said...

There's something about me in the profile on the blog - which has been disrupted as I have now moved to France and have been moving around, Paris, Cannes, Nice, Marseilles now back in Paris - and just moved back out of a nightmare (noise) apartment. Not quite as adventurous as Long Way Round :-)

I used to teach media students at University of Westminster, took early retirement when my finances improved and I could pay off the mortgage. I've now sold the house and for once in my life have what once would have seemed a fortune - but then I look at the prices of even small apartments in Paris :-)

Have a great time on your trip - drop "awesome" and you won't be taken for an American - not advisable in many parts of the world :-)

Have you read "Jupiter's Travels" by my namesake Ted Simon ? If not - it's a must read. He went round world on his m-bike in his 40s - and recently did it again in his 70s ! He is a hero of Ewan and Charley - I think they met him while doing their trip.

Also from Amazon - on Ted Simon's book:

"This book captures first hand the now little known adventure of a British journalist who set out to ride around the world on a motorcycle. It is an incredible story and something any reader should enjoy. Every teenager/student should be issued with this book so that they can understand what adventure is [they should also be issued with Ernest Shackleton's story]... It probably changed my life, as I still sometimes think of some of the incidents described. I will buy a copy for my son one day so that he will understand what adventure is. [Contrast this to that dreadful "Zen & the Art of..." book]. Ted travelled around the world on a Triumph Trident (perhaps the last ever made) -- not a BMW or a Harley. No support team, cell phone or GPS satellite navigation. This book let's you share the experience."

For his latest trip see

"My first ride around the world ended in 1977. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be setting off on that same journey 24 years later.

Then I was already 46 years old. To do it at the age of 70 would have seemed impossible, but that is just what I've been doing.

This new adventure began in January of 2001. It took me the length of Africa, around the Americas, through New Zealand and Australia, and across Asia to Europe.

Why follow the same route that I took before? Because after 25 years I was still haunted by the memories of exotic places and wonderful people I might never see again, but most of all because it was a rare opportunity to see, close up, how the world has changed in a quarter of a century


Thirty-five bikers joined me on the final lap, and escorted me back to my starting point in Dorchester, which I left two and a half years earlier. So, how does it feel? Well, I can hardly believe it's over. I have ridden 54,000 miles on this BMW, and at least 5000 more miles on two other bikes.

I've been through 48 different countries, survived two bone-breaking accidents, fallen in love again, and seen what astonishing changes have taken place in the world since I was there last"

Actually checking all this, I'm feeling quite inspired - he did all that at over 70 ! - perhaps I won't just settle in France - so your email may have changed my life :-)



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home