Swapping Mars for the Silk Road

I’m finding it hard to get away from borders. A debut travel book about a cycle journey along the Silk Road, which was published at the end of January in Canada with blurbs from Pico Iyer, Barry Lopez and Colin Thubron, is already among the bestsellers. Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris (Knopf) is based on a trip she took with her friend Melissa Yule in 2011 (see video below), in which they travelled 10,000 kilometres through 10 countries over 10 months. In the words of Barry Lopez, “Kate Harris arrives among us like a meteor—a hurtling intelligence, inquiring into the nature of political borders and the meaning of crossing over.  The honesty behind her self-doubt, her championing of simple human friendship, and her sheer determination to explore what she does not know compel you to travel happily alongside her in Lands of Lost Borders.” Harris, who is 35 and a Rhodes scholar, told The Globe and Mail in Toronto that she had trained as a scientist to become an astronaut and head for Mars, but her first taste of the Silk Road had prompted a radical change of direction. Before publishing the book, she had won awards for her writing in magazines including The Georgia Review.

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