Jupiters Travels – This was the book! I was in my twenties and living in Stockholm. I loved to travel and had left Britain aged eighteen with 50 quid in my pocket, determined to see the places I’d dreamt of whilst ravenously pawing over a map of the world in my childhood bedroom. Eight years and about twenty countries later I was now in Sweden but all was not well. I was in a relationship that wasn’t a particularly happy one and I was feeling trapped. I needed to move on but wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. One day I popped into a book shop in central Stockholm. It was Akademibokhandeln in Mäster Samuelsgatan, if I remember right. As per usual I headed straight to the travel section and shuffled slowly along the shelf until my eyes alighted upon a title that jogged my memory. It was Ted Simon’s Jupiters Travels, a book I’d heard of and one that had been recommended to me years before.
I read the back and was convinced enough to head straight to the checkout counter and exchange it for some hard earned Kronor. A few weeks later I purchased my first Triumph, a 900cc Adventurer, the closest production model I could find to Ted’s old Tiger. I didn’t travel a great deal on that bike as life took another turn and I began to train as a pilot instead but Ted’s book really helped to re-invigourate me, it got me moving again with a new twinkle in my eye that had been missing for some time. And that Adventurer took me back and forth to the airport every day for three years, causing my fellow trainee pilots to nickname me Top Gun, with a big grin on their faces. The RayBans probably didn’t help, either but who cares? I was riding to the airport, flying planes and then riding home again! Young, free and single again!
This morning I was reading a couple of articles at Adventure Bike Rider and my eyes widened as stumbled over this piece, an interview with the now ninety year old Ted. It’s an interesting read and worth a look! And if you’ve yet to read his book, grab it! Now!
“I strongly suspect Ted Simon, who’s now in his late eighties, is too much of a gentleman to brag about his achievements, so I shall do it for him. Forty years after Jupiters Travels was first published, it has been read by millions. It remains one of the most important and influential books ever written about motorcycle travel, inspiring generations to go forth and explore.
Perhaps most famously Ewan McGregor, of Long Way Round fame, cited Jupiter’s Travels as his inspiration to travel on two wheels. In short, Ted is a hero to many of us adventure bikers, as well as plenty of people who choose to explore the world.”