Hypertravel: 100 Countries in 2 Years

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Press: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 26, 2012)
Author Name:Karges, Hardie


In his mid-fifties Hardie Karges suddenly finds himself at a crossroads in his life, career, and relationship, so decides to do (again) the one thing that he does better than anything else—travel. 
That means cashing in some frequent-flyer miles and heading to South America, specifically the four southernmost countries that he has yet to visit.
‘Ah, that felt good.’ So two months later, that crossroads is still there, but there is no obvious path, indeed more like a half-dozen of them, one for each continent.
So he decides to finally put into action a plan he’s had for some time, to go to every country in the world.
The result some two years later is a hundred countries visited for a personal total of 139, almost three-fourths of the world total.
These are the tales of Karges’s travels in that intense period of “hyper-travel,” a combination guide and narrative, with only one qualification—he doesn’t tell how to do it.
That’s your job.
He tells how it’s done, by someone who’s done it for most of his life.
This is a guide for people who hate travel guides.
This is the one-stop guide that will give you both glimpse and insight into half the world’s countries, all recently visited, all applied to the same criteria of critique.
This is the guide that tells you the cultural, geo-political and historical context of a country, not where to eat or where to stay.
This is the guide that tells you which countries just plain suck.
The happy ending is right around the next corner.


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Comment List (Total:5)

  •     If you take your daily dose of travel with two lumps of humor, then this is the book for you. The author gives his view of travel infused with historical reference, philosophical irony and witty astute observations. Can't ask for more than that!
  •     How come Hardie Karges isn't a Lonely Planet correspondent? In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux, this book isn't a go-here, see-that travelogue. Karges sees, and, being a fine writer, makes us see. Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, crazy bus rides and Interzoners. And the rest of the world. If you're a traveler, or if you think you might want to be, or if you just want to live vicariously, you need this book.
  •     Hardie Karges has this urge, this deep itch, to gobble up the countries and dive into new cultures."Hypertravel" is his account and it's a breezy, fun, fast-moving (as one would expect) and enriching account of bombing around the world.Karges is an old-school backpacker, a hostel-seeking, Wi-Fi-hungry traveler who depends on a good slug of coffee more than Jack Reacher. He searches for quality Chinese food everywhere he goes, battles gout and deals with his not-so-deep approach to sleeping. He thinks about his Thai wife Tang, who is at home in Los Angeles, and wonders where the relationship is heading. He has a fascination with border crossings and how each country handles the check-in process, the whole visa stamp and visa approval thing.Once you settle into Karges' style, a fine mix of chatty conversation interspersed with witty slices of poetry and moments of sheer beauty, you'll find yourself extraordinarily engaged. "Hyptertravel" flies.You get that feeling of being out on the road, of pushing your limits of comfort and communication and confusion. When Karges gets lost, you might never feel more clueless. When Karges gets robbed and assaulted, you'll feel the same anger at his attackers. When Karges encounters another pit being passed off as overnight accommodations, you'll never feel more disgusted.Karges' view of the world is at the street level. He's rides buses and he walks. A train here, a plane there, but most of "Hypertravel" is hoofing it. A little bit of Bill Bryson, a little bit of Brad Newsham ("All The Right Places") and a little bit of early Paul Theroux.His humor is sneaky and sly. "Argentina rolls under the bus like Nebraska and her mother-in-law, just going on and on about nothing, vast plains dotted with towns and cows."In Buenos Aires: "What I can't believe is that o many people seem to like the confusion, meeting with friends and chatting on sidewalks where three sets of shoulders couldn't fit sideways. They seem to feed off the stress, like Matrix mugwumps getting a bio-electric buzz."In Paramaribo (Suriname): "My first three days...I stayed in a great little place a half hour's walk from downtown that had everything you could ever want for the price of a U$ Grant--Internet, full breakfast, A/C, in-room coffee & tea, and as spic-and-span as my German grandmother would have it. If anything, it was TOO nice. I was afraid of losing street cred with you, my readers." (That's no typo, U$ Grant....Karges has fun with the words and doesn't mind an occasional BTW or IMHO. The feeling is very much of travel journal or well-done blog.)Djibouti: "Guide books won't tell you when a place sucks; I will. They'll act like Djibouti is the Promised Land; I won't. I could write the guidebook on Dijbouti in one word: `sucks.' It should make interesting reading."Karges doesn't go for the big sights, the big tours, the famous spots (much) or the postcard settings. He's after the flavor, the color, the food, the music--an impression more than sharp relief. These are his encounters, not necessarily the routes he's recommending.Karges makes it look easy, he makes it look (mostly) like fun and makes me want to hit the road.(Full disclosure that Hardie is an old college friend but I haven't seen him since 1974 or 1975. He is a terrific observer and one helluva writer and I'm glad I got to read "Hypertravel.")
  •     Hardie writes the way he travels - frenetically. Interesting story but would have been a much better book with good editing - what might be interesting in a blog intended for friends is not always as interesting to strangers. If he wants the book to appeal to others outside the US he needs to use fewer comparisons to American cities and less use of the expression "Go figure", when confronted with places whose cultures operate from non-western perspectives. If his priorities are WiFi, good coffee and people who speak English then he would be better off staying home. In addition, the use of text language - for example, BTW, is off-putting in travel literature, and takes away from the actual story. This is a pity because the challenge Hardie set for himself was monumental, and he should be congratulated for achieving it.
  •     Hypertravel: 100 Countries in Two Years by Hardie Karges is one of the best written and most interesting travel books I ever read. I find it almost impossible to believe that someone in mid-life could make this unique and sometimes trying or grueling trip! Although all the travel was not in one extended period, he did cover all of it in two years, around the world and much, much more. His descriptions and experiences in each place include geo-political and historical and cultural context on each of five continents. His goal is to visit every country in the world! And in this one he tells about the highlights and keynote facts of each of the 100 he passed through. He does not tell you how to do a similar trip, not the typical where to eat and where to stay kind of travel book. You will find this one well written, compelling, enticing, very interesting and insightful. I loved it! It made me want to go, but it also made me decide I could never do it in the manner in which he travelled because he was at a strategic crossroads of his life, fulfilling his dream in his own way.

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