Time Warner Books, £12.99
Actors, motorcycle fanatics and close friends, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman decided to take four months off and travel east around the world from London to New York on motorbikes. 'Long Way Round' documents their monumental undertaking from inception to execution, and it's a really enjoyable read.
Taking turns, McGregor and Boorman explain the origins of their bike fascination and the evolution of their friendship. Poring over a map of the world one day, McGregor realised it was possible to ride a motorbike from London to New York, with a short flight over the Bering Strait. The friends decided to undertake the challenge and set about getting funding in the form of a television deal, motorbikes that were up to the trip and visas and paperwork that would allow them access to the countries on their route.
Setting off in April of last year, they allowed themselves only four months to finish the trip, which included some of the most hostile weather conditions known to man. Travelling through places like Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia, the companions were faced with terrible roads, impassable rivers, accidents and hold ups at border crossings, but found themselves enjoying every minute of it.
With separation from family, friends and everything they knew often foremost on their minds, this was an emotional journey as well as a mental and physical one for McGregor and Boorman, and it shows in their journal entries. We're given an insight into their feelings and apprehensions as things seem like they're really about to fall apart. There are several moments of humour, even at the toughest of times, and the friendship between McGregor and Boorman is always touching and palpable.
Boorman and McGregor are never anything but down to earth and you really feel like you know them by the end of their trip, maybe even more than if you'd seen the accompanying television series. The only complaint that can be made is that there isn't more to read.