Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure, by Monisha Rajesh
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing, 26th March 2019
Genres: Nonfiction, autobiography, travel
Source: Borrowed (library)
When British journalist Monisha Rajesh announced her plan to travel around the globe on 80 trains, it seemed like a crazy idea. But with much organisation and planning, it wasn’t long before she had plotted a journey of 45,000 miles, nearly twice the circumference of the world. This route would take her on some of the most famous and infamous trains in the world.
From the vastness of the Trans-Mongolian railway to the cloud-skimming heights of the Qinghai-Tibet railway and the luxurious Simplon Orient Express. With many other less salubrious and diverse trains as well. With just a backpack and her fiancé Jem in tow, Monisha spent seven months hopping on and off trains and meeting some truly remarkable characters along the way.
“And to me? Trains would always be an open window into the soul of a country and its people.”
I love train travel! I once decided to take a 26-hour train through the middle of South Africa instead of simply hopping on a 2-hour flight. And it was amazing because I got to see so much of the country which I would otherwise have missed above the clouds. Monisha’s joy and passion for train travel are so apparent in this book and I found myself relating to a lot of what she said.
The Trans Mongolian railway has been on my bucket list for years, but now I have so many other incredible train journeys to add to that list. The descriptions of the landscapes through which they journey were just incredible and I could really picture each scene flashing past the window.
I loved the characters they encountered along the way and how they are portrayed. I was transported right back for my first Russian sleeper train experience and the varied people who shared our third-class carriage. Monisha’s writing is colourful and evocative and just draws you into the wonderfully bizarre world of train travel.
This is one of my favourite reads of 2021 and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves travelling by train or reading travel books or anyone really.
My rating: 5/5