Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Walking Home From Mongolia” as Want to Read:
Walking Home From Mongolia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Walking Home From Mongolia

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Several years have passed since he returned from his life-changing, three-and-a-half-year bike ride home from Siberia and explorer Rob Lilwall has itchy feet once more. Now his adventurous spirit leads him to deepest Mongolia, setting out on foot this time, on a very long walk back home to Hong Kong. Rob and his cameraman companion Leon take a 3,000 mile hike through the d ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published November 21st 2013 by Hodder & Stoughton
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Walking Home From Mongolia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Walking Home From Mongolia

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  235 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Walking Home From Mongolia
It is only when you look at an atlas that you get an idea just how large China actually is. It manages to be the second largest state by land area and is home to around 1.3 billion people. It is not unknown for journeys to take a long time even by road, so to contemplate walking across the country is madness; or takes a special kind of adventurer.

Rob Lilwall is that man.

Joining him is Leon McCarron, an adventurer in his own right, but he will be there to film the journey for a documentary. The
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob and Leon walk 3000 miles from Mongolia to Hong Kong. The first half of the book covers their walk through the Gobi desert and into Northern China. While not exactly exciting, it's interesting to learn about little known places, the culture and people. Half way through the walk, Rob and Leon start to get bored and irritated with one another to the point that they split up and walk independently for a few weeks. They are also becoming bored with their journey and Rob is clearly bored with writ ...more
Chris F
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable account of a walking expedition through Mongolia and China.
Clare O'Beara
Like another walking tale, To The Poles Without A Beard, I started thinking the trekkers were keen but a bit daft and were overlooking obviously needed items (a sleeping mat) - but became full of admiration for their dedication and accomplishments.

This account of trekking through the Gobi Desert and freezing plains of Mongolia to the heartland of China and segments of Walls of various ages, then the tea plantations and terraced rice paddies, finishing in Hong Kong, is honest, thoughtful and ful
Kara Folkerts
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am actually choked this book is finished. After reading his first expedition book a few years ago I was happy to come to this one. I continued to get soo lost in his stories, memories and writing. From my own expeditions I can relate to so much of the difficulties he faced and overcame. Rob also started in the same Mongolian city I cycled through, so I loved hearing his own perspective - especially the crazy China/Mongolian border crossing experience. Ahhh such a grand adventure and so well wr ...more
Jena Hemsworth
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-life
Another wonderful book about an amazing journey/pilgrimage done by Rob. His adventures are definitely worthy to be written and read and no words will do justice to what he has done. The thing I loved about his travels was that they weren't done out of demonstrating something, but rather in the purpose of discovery of the places, the people and the self. With each page I discovered a new struggle or a new reason to want to embark on such a road.

I was floored by the kindness that people from Mongo
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
It wasn't an action filled page turner about two super fit guys gliding effortlessly through the Gobi desert & across China. No, Lilwall manage to honestly describe that 6 months of walking for around 12-15 hours a day is an adventure packed with frustration, pain and even boredom. But reading it, it wasn't . If Lilwall's aim to write the book was to inspire readers to become 'adventurers' , well then he succeded with me. ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Glimpses into the daily life of people in Mongolia and China were fascinating. I thought the adventure part of the book was silly, though, and the adventurers seemed very self-absorbed. They are walking "home" only because they chose to go far away and then walk home.
Francine Chu
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than doing it
Sabina Vanessa
Maybe I'm a little biased about this book, but I enjoyed the clarity with which Lilwall writes. He's definitely expanded my view on travel writing and I hope one day to write a book in the same genre using a similar style. Reading more books about Mongolia has definitely made me appreciate my time here, as I feel I can relate to others who have had similar experiences and have seen the things I've seen, although this book takes place in Eastern Mongolia and through the Gobi, and I live in the fa ...more
Nancy Thormann
This is not one of the best travel books I've read. Most of it described sore feet, blisters, and eating noodles. As I was reading about the sore feet and blisters I kept thinking to myself "Gee - you're walking three thousand miles. Isn't it obvious that you're going to get sore feet and blisters?" Sometimes it's best to forget about the pain and concentrate on the journey.

The travel books that I like the best are the ones that talk about the history of the places and describe the scenery and
Leong Chin Yee
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took me almost 3 weeks to finish this book cos I got back to work and it has been a few weeks of busyness and I don’t get as much time as I would like to spend on reading. Nevertheless, it has been an insightful read into a little bit about China and her people. Can imagine the arduous trek through the desert and the challenges faced along the way as they traversed across China. What resonated with me most was that of Rob missing his wife Christine and his on and off arguments with his travel ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, china
Disappointing, reading this book I learnt very little about China, I think reading an atlas would have done the same job. The included maps of the journey were the best part of the book. There was too much on sore feet, blisters etc., I suppose the life of a walker. All well and good but this book is marketed as a travel book. It also has the predictable, dull and clichéd mini-potted history of the PRC. Why do publishers think they are required to do so?
I was very disappointed. I wouldn't recom
Daniel Taylor
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book. I’ve seen people mark this book down for being too much about Rob and Leon but they walked 3,000 miles so, as well as the history and culture of China, it’s going to be about human endurance. Rob writes honestly and with a great balance of narration, stories, history and the physical and mental challenges that they face.
Judith Ring
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book. Adventurer’s Rob Lillwall and Leon McCarron walk 3000 miles from Mongolia to Hong Kong. This adventure is written with just the right amount of detail; not one boring bit. Lots of additional information about the area and a great insight to the people of Mongolia and China. Will definitely read Robs other book and Leon’s books about their other adventures.
Ruby Punt
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it but wasn't enraptured. Journey sounds like it was very excruciating and exciting yet this doesn't fully come through in the narrative. He seems more annoyed by the journey and wrapped up it the troubles encountered.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting learning about a part of the world I know nothing about, their relationship, the hardship but it must have been so dull for them ..... Hope it was worth it?
Dewi Hargreaves
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Your typical adventure/explorer book. Compelling, well-written, exciting at times, thoughtful at others. Recommended.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
Adventurous and brings more real life; nothing added I find to spice the story but quite educational instead.
Jim Benedict
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an experience to walk all that distance in all types of weather. Most Chinese along the way were very accomodating and kind.
Wendy Zhang
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny how while I was reading this book, many of my friends thought I was going to travel to Mongolia or attempt the same adventure. (I doubt I can survive)

The book taught me so much more than just a man's journey through China. There was something really personal about the book that made the process of reading a lot more interesting. I couldn't help but grin or giggle at certain parts of the book.

Ben Raffles
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable mix of adventure, social insight and enough history to trigger further reading of China & Mongolia. It's no Shackleton's "Endurance", but the tight spots they get themselves into are very relatable. I also liked the honesty of his own emotions that not ever author would have shared. ...more
Kristy Likeskaleidoscopes
Stylistically average without any major blockbuster moments. Yet it deserves no less than 5 stars because of its honesty, tempo, pain, hopes, humour, observations and underlining all, the spirit for adventure translated on paper. We walked the earth before boundaries were drawn and passports were made and stamped. "Modes of transport" were invented because walking was too difficult and took too long, with too many limitations. Ergo, they chose the most difficult way.

Rob writes about his moments
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Whenever I watch National Geographic I wonder what it's really like for those adventurous folk who are filming and roughing it with their heavy packs, and lack of access to fresh food and water. "Walking Home from Mongolia" is a great way to join two explorers, Rob and Leon, as they walk from Mongolia to Hong Kong to raise funds for a charity, Viva, and discover more about mainland China.
Rob, the narrator, is honest and personable. His insights about going on a long journey, and how that paralle
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not many people are willing to sacrifice the comfort of home for an adventure. Rob Lilwall and his expedition partner Leon McCarron are two of them.

Rob and Leon walked 3,000 miles starting from Mongolia, crossing China, to Hong Kong. Along their journey, they encountered and experienced a lot of uniqueness of China that even the majority of the Chinese has never been through. Crossing the Gobi dessert on a harsh winter, staying in a nomadic ger (Mongolian tent), meeting cave-dwellers, facing tox
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob Lilwall's Walking Home From Mongolia is a fascinating account of an arduous journey: 3000 miles by foot through China. It is an honest and vivid account, which gives a sense of the attraction of pilgrimage, as well as the stresses of being with someone 24/7. It provides good insights into the historical, cultural and religious story of China. For me the obsession with walking every mile is a missed opportunity and there were times I wished they'd tear up the rulebook, and just go with the fl ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Not the most well-written novel, but it does entertain!

In some ways, Rob and Leon's journey parallels my own travels through Inner Mongolia (minus their run-ins with the police and the arctic conditions). The short but sweet historical anecdotes add the necessary educational component to the novel and the photos enable us readers to live vicariously through the writers.

I have to thank my dear friend Alex for gifting this book to me - I dream of returning to the Middle Kingdom for more adventur
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Picked up this book because I saw someone reading it and thought the title sounded interesting. Maybe I should have read the author's first book, because other than the title I was sort of disappointed because the whole journey was in a way in a controlled environment. I thought the book would be more along the lines of an adventure or there was some story behind it, but instead it was more part of a program. Nevertheless, the stories, pictures and descriptions were good.
Izarra Moore
Here's a decent firsthand account of a six-month trek from the Gobi Desert to Hong Kong. I give it three solid stars for inspiration and grit; two missing stars for a matter-of-fact-to-the-point-of-being-alienating writing style. (If you were to take any descriptive "dustbowl" passage in the Grapes of Wrath and compare them to Lilwall's terse, stoic accounts of the Gobi, you'd see what I mean.)

The world-class adventurer who also writes well is a rare breed of unicorn, indeed.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Having read and enjoyed Rob's Cycling Home from Siberia, I looked forward to his new book. Although I admire his fortitude and adventure, ultimately the tale fails to match his first intrepid expedition. Walking is less exciting than cycling and the weak writing doesn't make you feel that you could be there sharing the adventure.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World ...: Jan/Feb 2014 book from... China 2 11 Feb 01, 2014 09:46AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road
  • Rough Magic: Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race
  • Moods Of Future Joys
  • Charlie Cook's Favorite Book
  • I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
  • In Search of Greener Grass
  • First Words Flash Cards
  • RYA Navigation Handbook
  • Stick Man
  • The Scarecrows' Wedding
  • Astronomy
  • Trees (Collins Gem)
  • Zog
  • Collins Complete Guide to British Birds
  • An Edible History of Humanity
  • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
  • Don't Come Back: a travel adventure of bad-tempered baboons, black magic, and breakups.
See similar books…
If one could choose a middle name for Rob, it would likely be “Daring”. Or “Resilient”. Some may prefer “Crazy”.

How else would you describe a former geography teacher and self-proclaimed “normal guy” who has walked across the Gobi in winter, braved the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and cycled across Afghanistan? Rob has presented two National Geographic TV series, and The Guardian called his first

Related Articles

In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
57 likes · 39 comments