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One for the Road: An Outback Adventure

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  744 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
"A high-spirited, comic ramble into the savage Outback populated by irreverent, beer-guzzling frontiersmen." --Chicago Tribune

"A fascinating insight into what we're all about on the highways and byways along the outback track." --The Telegraph (Sydney)

Swept off to live in Sydney by his Australian bride, American writer Tony Horwitz longs to explore the exotic reaches of hi
Kindle Edition, Revised, 225 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a recently married transplant to Australia, Horwitz decided that he wanted to see the outback. Now, obviously, the sensible way of doing this would be to rent a car, load up on necessities, and make a detailed itinerary to follow. So, as will be obvious to anyone who has read any of his books, he had his wife drop him on the far side of Australia, and began hitchhiking. It's a pretty good travel book, one of my favorite genres. It was also a gateway to a lot of memories. I went through my hit ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Armchair traveling is by far the cheapest most stress free way to travel. One might even end up places one would never venture out to on their own accord, like outback Australia. Not the habitable civilized urban east coast, but the rest of the country, scarcely populated, desert like and generally not suitable for comfortable living. Tony Horwitz traversed that area in 1987 and just to make things more interesting(alternatively infinitely more difficult) he did primarily by hitchhiking. The who ...more
Wendy Henning
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll never hitchhike around Australia, but I'm glad Tony Horwitz did so that I can read about it. Smart and funny. That country runs on beer and dust though.
Feb 06, 2018 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually give up on books about Australia and travel, but this felt more like a book about the author and cars... with annoying present tense thrown in for no reason.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical, travel
This review is totally unfair- it is a review of Australia, not the book.

I read this because I have read and enjoyed other works by this author. He writes well, but here's the thing: I have always thought it would be sooo amazing to go to Australia- and then I read a travel book about it. Like this one.

And then I don't want to go.

Why? That's fairly easy to answer: flies, wasteland, heat and oceans of alcohol. (Oh...and racism.)

Australia sounds, frankly, awful. Hitchhiking around and through it m
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
3 & 1/2 stars
I do like Tony Horwitz's writing style, but I would've liked a bit more of the history of the Australian Outback which he only touched on in the briefest of stories instead of so many stories of stopping at pubs and such in the Outback of today. Also, the fact that this book is now nearly 30 yrs old, it makes me wonder how the Outback has changed. I will admit that a place that sounded at least a bit intriguing to me, has lost most of it's charm! And he wasn't even overly negati
May 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay but I liked his later work much better.
It took me a couple of tries to get into this book. In the end it was ok. I expected better - I've read other books by Tony Horwitz and enjoyed them much more, but it was ok.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Australia is big. Really big.

One marginally effective way to get across it is by hitchhiking. But hitchhiking is never just hitchhiking, a theory solidly proven by Tony Horwitz in his book One for the Road.

Early in this travel narrative, he notes that hitchhiking east to west across Australia is the country’s “answer to Route 66 and the Appalachians.” And then: “I found myself crawling along a scar of used-car lots connecting one smoggy suburb to another.” This is all before he even leaves Sydne
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't care for his writing style, which consists of jumping around and skimming the surface of things, while constantly complaining about how ugly the Australian landscape is. Plus, he seems like kind of a selfish jerk. There are so many other Australian travel memoir books that are more enjoyable.
Picked this one up as a starting point in the early investigating & preparations for traveling to Australia. Picked up several more titles yesterday at the library. Curious to see what I can glean from each.
I think I'd read Horwitz talking about a tour of his own cellar. This wasn't as brilliant as Confederates in the Attic, but it was still a treat.
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was exactly the palate-cleansing travel memoir that I needed to recover from the barren gloom of Theater of Fish. One For the Road is the second travel memoir I've read about Australia, and the second one I've loved. I'm starting to think I'd love anything Tony Horwitz writes (write faster!). I didn't think anything could surpass my love for In a Sunburned Country, but this certainly pulls even with it. The thing is that the two books seem to capture different aspects of Australian culture ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing I enjoy most about reading travel narratives is the chance to vicariously experience things that I simply would not do myself. There are certain places that I don’t expect to ever visit, and styles of travel that I consider too uncomfortable or inconvenient for me to bother with, but I still can share these because others are willing to go there and do that, and then write about it. In this case, exploring the Australian Outback by hitchhiking is certainly not something that I’m ever g ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I've read two of Horwitz's books before (Blue Latitudes and Confederates in the Attic), and loved them both, so perhaps I had outsized expectations for this one; an account of hitchhiking around Australia in the 1980s.

As a travelogue about Australia, it's not nearly as good as Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country. This one is a more specialized book; while Bryson does a better job of informing the reader about the land and its natural history, Horwitz, by hitchhiking, immerses himself more deep
Carrie Speaking
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The long title “Hitchhiking through the Australian Outback” is self-descriptive. Horwitz goes through a midlife crisis and wants to hit the road. To hit it hard. Reading through his journey through the outback, you don’t always know if you want to laugh, raise an eyebrow or half-open your mouth in dismay. In any case, you travel on and on: Horwitz has been caught by the Australian road and the latter won’t let go of him. He’s both trapped and carried further on. I let you decide whether you love ...more
Matte Resist
The main essence of this book seems to be that nobody drives anywhere in Australia without at least a few beers. Tony Horwitz is a recent transplant to Australia and decides to sate his wanderlust by hitchhiking through the outback. He stands at the side of the road with his index finger sticking out, or a cardboard sign saying where he wants to go. He hops in the car with one character (or group of characters) after another, who inevitably spend the drive pounding one 'tinnie' after another. It ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
The author, an American ex-pat living and working as a newspaper reporter in Australia, gets the wanderlust and decides to hitch around Australia. He circumnavigates the continent, nearly, and travels deep into the Northern Territory and South Australia. (He wisely avoids the utter emptiness of Western Australia.) He meets a variety of Australians: truckies, anti-environmental loggers and tourists, racists, Aborigines in beat-up “utes” (utility vehicles, like pickup trucks), and professional wan ...more
Larry Vanzalen
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is another of Tony Horwitz's fabulous books. In it he chronicles his adventures and insights while hitch-hiking across the great expanses of nothingness of Australia. It's an excellent read especially if (like myself) you know next to nothing of the Australian outback.

I do however, wish to take one annoyingly petty exception: On page 117 (Kindle location 2066) Horwitz makes mention of some of the words of the Eagles song, "Take It Easy", giving credit to Jackson Browne as the writer. That
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my least favorite of his books. Not because of the writing. Hitchiking through the Australian outback with Tony was eye opening. Australia is definitely on my bucket list of placed I'd like to visit but all the drinking and driving he experiences makes me want to avoid the rustic interior. No wonder he gives it the title, "One for the Road," as most of the people he travels with guzzle beer constantly to stay hydrated as they traverse the highways and byways of the outback. Craz ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The outback of Australia in the 1980s as drunken testoterone - well, gee, who would have thought that?! I wonder if it has changed? All those drunk drivers!

I love Tony Horwitz. I love his descriptions of the landscape. He's also quite brave heading out into the outback and then to South and Western Australia to hitchhike for a month or two. Tony Horwitz can be really funny. Even though it was gross, I laughed out loud at his description of seasickness and the ridiculous idiot on the boat who co
Horwitz is a wonderful travel companion, and can make the worst experience worth going through with him as he points out with appreciation the ironies of human nature and the lives in different cultures.

His experience in Outback Australia does not reflect well on that area, but is true none the less and worth the telling. I think Americans would enjoy this book but could not recommend to Australians because, from what I can tell, they are already fed up with criticism from people who apparently
Tony Horowitz is an American living in Sydney Australia with his girlfriend and working as a reporter. He has a case of wanderlust and wants to hitchhike through Australia. Kind of a crazy thing to do considering it is summer and the interior of Australia has a lot of empty land in it. He goes anyway and mostly has a good time. He starts in Sydney which is in New South Wales, north into Queensland, west into the Northern Territory, south into South Australia, along the coast into and around Wes ...more
An extended pub crawl through Australia. One wonders about the wisdom of ever sticking out one's finger to catch a ride in this country, but Horwitz delivers an entertaining account of his misadventures down under. I suspect a trip around the edges of the country would be quite enjoyable, and the thought of laying up in Broome sounds like fun (almost like Key West in my memory), but travels in the interior without a sturdy vehicle with working air conditioning would be crazy and I probably would ...more
Peggy Page
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally got to read this as I plow through everything I can find about Oz before a six week trip there is a few weeks. As always, Horwitz is a brave and crazy reporter of a little slice of reality. OK, not a flattering paean to life in the nether regions of the Outback, but hilarious and wonderfully sympathetic. These are memorable human encounters, and we are right there is the sweltering back seat with Tony every mile of the way. Maybe things are different almost thirty years later, as sadly t ...more
LInda L
I enjoyed most of this book -- although he made a lot of places sound AWFUL. Takes a lot of courage to hitchhike at all, and to cover an entire continent -- unbelievable. Seems as if a lot of people there drink -- A LOT. Still, it held my interest until about the last 100 pages, where it got to be just too much of a bad thing. Following him on the little map was fun -- but I lost interest in traveling there as soon as he talked about the temperatures in the hundreds. I'm uncomfortable at 80!! Th ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, australia, 1980s
Perhaps because I hitched back and forth from Sydney to Perth and down and around Tasmania, this is a favorite. When I finished reading this, the book was stuffed with sticky notes for passages I wanted to reread.

Might be an interesting companion read to Cold Beer ...


Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I have read several of Tony Horwitz books and enjoyed each and every one. Reading his books is a great way to be an armchair adventurer myself without leaving my home and family and this one is no exception. His writing is funny and so descriptive that one can actually see,hear,smell,and feel everything from the beer in various roadhouses,to seeing the faces of people he meets;images of the burning desert and opal mines;the voices of those he hitches rides with. He writes in such a way that I co ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where distance is calculated not in miles, but in the number of beers it takes to get there. We're only spending a short time in the Outback, but we hope to meet interesting characters all over. See you in 10 days Australia!!

"I spend a lot of time at home composing lists and filling date books. My life normally has all the order and direction of a five-year plan. But it is always the detours that move me, like meeting another culture by firelight, or swimming at first dark in a desert stream."
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had read Into The Wild and longed for more travel memoirs.

I was totally disappointed by this book, despite the interesting cover art. I felt that, after each chapter, I had just read the same chapter over and over again.

I honestly felt as if I had to FORCE myself to finish this.

Maybe another of his memoirs is better... I'd be hard pressed to think it could be any more dry. (No pun on the climate during his travels intended)
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Date of Birth: 1958

Tony Horwitz is an American journalist and writer. His works include Blue Latitudes, One for the Road, Confederates In The Attic and Baghdad Without A Map. His most recent work, published in April 2008, is A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World, a history and travelogue dealing with the early European exploration of North America.
More about Tony Horwitz

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“I am an agnostic on most matters of faith, but on the subject of maps I have always been a true believer. It is on the map, therefore it is, and I am.” 10 likes
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