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Jupiter's Travels

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  3,643 ratings  ·  251 reviews
Simon rode a motorcycle around the world in the seventies, when such a thing was unheard of. In four years he covered 78,000 miles through 45 countries, living with peasants and presidents, in prisons and palaces, through wars and revolutions. What distinguishes this book is that Simon was already an accomplished writer. In 25 years this book has changed many lives, and in ...more
Paperback, 447 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Jupitalia Productions (first published November 30th 1978)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,643 ratings  ·  251 reviews


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Adrian
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
REVIEW OF 2019 READ
Hmm, I first (and last) read this book in 1979 I think, and it had a big effect on me, not that it made me want to travel the world by motorcycle but it was a book I've never lost through the years and never forgotten. In my never ending task to write reviews for all the books I read pre-GR, I even wrote a review based on a 40 year old memory a few months ago, see below, and now comes the rub, yes I enjoyed this 're-read but it wasn't as good as I expected/remembered/wanted i
...more
Lara Messersmith-Glavin
Nov 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: earth, mind, desert
My father is an adventurer at heart. He rode a motorcycle through South America a decade before Che; he jumped out of airplanes at night and landed in Southeast Asian jungles; he spent 40 years fishing in Alaska, both off Kodiak and in the Bering Sea. Now, he and my mother are retired, and they spend a good deal of their time traveling still - on a motorcycle. They have a great set-up: a trailer packed with a beautiful tent and an air mattress; picnic goodies, bottles of gin. They tool around Me ...more
Daren
"The book that inspired Ewan Macgregor's Long Way Around".

That was enough to pick up my interest.

A four year journey on a 500cc Triumph T100-P, which took in much of the world.

That helped.

I read this pretty slowly, and found it enjoyable. I may not have enjoyed it so much if I had read it constantly and at my normal pace.

Ted Simon writes simply, but well enough to get his point across. He doesn't degenerate into a diary, and he doesn't try to explain or describe everything. Some things he expl
...more
Gavin
May 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Goddamn it!! How did I get tricked into reading another bullshit, transcendental 70's enlightenment novel??!! After Robert Pirsig's puddle of diaper filling, I swore I'd never read one of these things again! This was billed as a travel book...Curses!

*sigh*

On to the book. What a boring, self-indulgent novel. Ol' Ted decides to go slummin' through the third world in some misguided attempt to test himself. Once underway, his special brand of bitter negativity slowly swallows every paragraph. His su
...more
Drew
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ewen McGregor: Hi I'm multi award winning Actor about town Ewan McGregor. I've got a totally original idea for a TV show.
ITV Exec: Oh Yeah...
Ewen: Yeah, Me and my mate Charlie Boorman, the world famous star of stage and screen, are going to ride round the world on our motorbikes. It'll be mega.
ITV Exec: But what about that guy in the 70's called Ted Simon who did all that but without all your money and good looks?
Ewen: WHAT!
ITV Exec: Look i'm sorry but it's all been done before...
Ewen(Pointing
...more
Beverly Edberg
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life (there have been others) but the first page is still the most powerful first page I have ever read. I scanned the first page into my computer so I can pull it up and read when I forget. Very powerful stuff - the book will keep you up at night. I don't believe this trip could be duplicated today. Too many hateful people in the world.
Rana
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Look, is this guy an incredibly pretentious shit?

Yes, oh, definitely yes. But it was written in the early 1970's so he's a very specific historical form of a shit. Which mean, eh, I forgive him.

Loved this but I have a soft heart for pretentious shits traveling around the world (noted: Paul Theroux).
David
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I never write reviews on here. And I don't know if I was particularly moved to write one after finishing this book, or whether it just happens to be the first I finish since deciding I should write reviews. Otherwise I tend to forget what I thought and felt whilst reading, and if that's the case, what then, was the point?

It's all in the timing. Something can be profound in a certain instance of life, and banal the next. The view, you see, changes from where you are standing. 'Jupiter' was pro
...more
Leftbanker
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
I’m a sucker for travel books. The thing to remember when reading this memoir is that he goes around the world on a motorcycle. I know that sounds obvious but the motorcycle takes center stage and almost everything else is background. It’s been a long, long time since I cared at all for anything with a motor and even longer since I’ve ridden a motorcycle so this book wasn’t written with me as the target market.

He makes a few wonderful insights but he spends far too many words fussing over his b
...more
Sharon
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this book. I had waited so long to get my hands on a copy, and when the chance came, greedily opened the book, looking forward to the adventure within.

While the adventure was there, and it was intresting to see how the world has changed since the book was originally written, I found it hard at times to get into the story.

I wasn't too keen on Ted Simon's style of writing, and at times I found his opinions rather off putting.

He seemed to gloss over some parts of the jou
...more
Daniel R.
Jul 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: port-authority
The writing in the book is as bumpy as the roads the author traveled on, frequently crashing into a jumbled heap. His observations and caricature descriptions of different cultures seemed to be tied more to the weather than his personal interactions. The book's pacing is uneven with excessive detail in the beginning and some countries towards the end getting no more than a one line stereotypical summary. There are some well written vignettes scattered throughout the book but overall I'd give it ...more
Kristine Stevens
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Who wouldn't like to vicariously travel round the world for four years on a motorcycle?

Just like a trip around the world (been there, done that), this book truly reflects the experience. Not every moment of the experience tells a story or is dramatic and engaging and that is reflected in the experience of reading the book. If you are planning to make a large global trip, this is definitely a great read for you!
John Pehle
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I struggled with the rating of Ted Simon's book. Many of the stories and details from the early part of his four-year odyssey were fascinating and I enjoyed the adventure. As the narrative continued, I wearied (much as Simon did) and struggled to find the point (much like Simon did). I think it was this revelation that nudged my "star allocation" from three to four. The gentle winnowing of detail and hastening of pace to complete the travelog were reflecting his own struggles on the journey and, ...more
Michael Triozzi
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The fun adventures of a serious British man driving his motorcycle all around the 1970s. (Honestly it's strange that a book published in 1979 can feel so completely like a thing from another age. What was originally a window onto the whole world is now a window onto a little patch of a foreign past.)

You get a little tired of Simon's weird obsession with being a Jungian mythmaker. But that's okay -- he also get's a little tired of writing the book, with each continent getting a shorter descriptio
...more
Jose Garcia
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I was a child I had the foolish idea that I too could some day be a great writer. And then I read something like this and realize I never had a chance.

Probably the best book I’ve ever read... and I’m not sure it’s even close. Absolutely brilliant writer and an incredible once in a humankind journey.
Nigel Winter
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ted's account of his 1973 world tour on a Triumph 500 can now be regarded as a record of history as much as a travelogue.

Ted, in 1973 at least, was a complex character, but he writes candidly with the educated eye of a traveller rather than a tourist. The book opens with "......I let the bike roll off the asphalt onto the grass under a shade tree. I tucked my gloves into my helmet and stood by the bike looking up and down the country road and across the field of green wheat wondering who was goi
...more
Surajit
Men can be gods and write like angels.
Corri
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
There is more to this man's journey than riding a motorcycle. This guy is a man of the mind. While riding atop his Triumph, he thinks a lot about the subconscious mind. On his journey on a ship through the Atlantic, from Africa, to Brazil, he mentions he read a book by Jung and his thinking got even more complex and dark as he rode through South and Central America. He shares his thoughts with his readers and takes them through the glories and turmoils of his own mind. I thought this book was go ...more
Marc
I had more trouble staying with this motorcycle narrative than I thought I would. To be fair though, I did read his second book (Jupiter#2; see my review) before this one, his first (Jupiter#1). Some parts of it were quite good and Simon is a good writer. The tale seemed to drag at points and the conclusion seemed forced.

Simon was not a motorcycle guy at the beginning and he seems overly obsessed about riding conditions, his abilities and danger for much of the book. There are also points during
...more
James Welfare
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable book. The look inside the authors head as he travels the globe is as interesting as the world he describes. The writing style is inconsistent and varies in detail and quality throughout the story, only at the beginning, through Africa does the description seem to match well with the pace of the journey. Rather than diminishing the story I found that this variability and fallibility gave greater insight and allowed for a more complete understanding of Ted Simon than a more consis ...more
Art
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I reread this book every few years, normally at a time when I need a pick me up, it reminds me of the first time I read this book, not having any real expectations and finding myself still sitting there hours later having gone on a long journey. This time around I read a edition that had a lot of photographs I'd not seen in the earlier paperback version I read until the pages fell out and it added a new touch to the story.
Spyder
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
As a motorcyclist it was a good, fun book. As a traveler it was even better... the true value of this book lies in the humanity of the tale, after all... the point of the journey, is not to arrive.

Read on my iPad and Android phone via the Kindle app on and in toilets around the world during the 2011 Yellowcard World Tour.
Jessica
Aug 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I love non-fiction travel books and this one's full of adventures but I think I struggled with it a bit because the trip was undertaken with the intent of writing a book, so even though descriptions are wonderful they fit expectations. I'm a bigger fan of books written in hind sight but liked it enough to keep the chain going Jack --> me --> David. ...more
Damon Gubler
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a fan of Long Way Round you'll probably enjoy this book.
Nate Hendrix
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
He takes four years to get around the world. But he covers a lot of ground and spends time in many different places. I enjoyed the technical aspect of how he did things and what went wrong and how he fixed it.
Manasvi mudgal
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone, especially for those who think a bike trip to Laddakh is a huge deal.

I loved Ted's way of telling the story, we are in his head all the time and seeing the world through it. It's not just a travelogue, it's Ted Simon's, his perspective, his world. A fun read.
Brian Ervin
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A true must read for anyone who loves motorcycles, adventure, cultural differences, and travel. Three months after I finished, I missed "riding along" with Ted so much, I had to read it again.
Scot Haynes
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, travel
As a biker I've been meaning to read this for a while. I was expecting a great tale about how Ted's bike took on the world and how he managed to keep it going. I was expecting some great riding inspiration and motivation to just get out there and ride as far as you can.
Well, I got all of this and a hell of a lot more. The book was a splendid cultural analysis of Africa, South America, Australia and Asia in the mid 1970's. I loved how Ted just kept on going and how he managed to continually repai
...more
Ahmed
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ted Simon is a fantastic writer.
His descriptive ability is delightful, and the journey he takes both on his Triumph and within his inner dimensions, is a joy to follow.

At times he is pretentious as hell, and shows racist, prejudiced and sexist views. However, he could quite easily have left these out making himself look better but he choose not to and that is something I truely value and appreciate.

Sure the book's not perfect. I wanted to read more about his interactions with people and his e
...more
Tim Gayton
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The start was absolutely mesmerising. The huge logistical feat, the harrowing journeys that he undertook. Particularly nowadays with what technology does for us, his whole journey seems unfathomable. some of the vast, isolated and dangerous countries he rode through was staggering and impressive.
However, once he reaches Africa, then commences his journey over to South America, his storytelling changed. He appeared tired, disinterested and in a rush to travel through so many potentially gorgeous
...more
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