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Jupiter's Travels

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,971 ratings  ·  202 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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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
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...
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!


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
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).
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
Men can be gods and write like angels.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every wanderlusters must have, I would definitely recommend Jupiters Travels to people who not only love travelling but also are up for unplanned situations and moments along the way. A journalist by profession, the story telling style of simon keeps you glued and wanting to know what lies ahead. Quite a challenging task in times of war, lack of technological advances and cash crunches, this story is definitely the original inspiration behind the much popular "Long way round". Being an avid ride ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read, hands down! I can't believe I'd never heard of this book before. Mr. Simon rode a Triumph motorcycle around the world over the course of 4 years in the mid-70's. You don't have to know or care anything about motorcycles to enjoy this book. His insights into cultures, human nature, and even his introspections are incredibly thoughtful and memorable. I loved it so much I didn't want him to complete his circling of the globe. This book may make you want to se ...more
Kevin Grubb
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the first hand account of an Englishman who rode his motorcycle across the world in the 1970s. It is an interesting narrative that brings to life a world of an era that no longer exists. It inspires one to hop on a motorcycle and find adventure. this having been said the writing itself was often meandering and once the author left Africa the story itself started to get bogged down in philosophizing and a certain amount of cynicism.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was more than a book, it was an adventure told through the eyes of an adventurer who used words to paint pictures of his 4 year journey.
At times I was simply transfixed and enveloped by his use of the English language and the ability Ted Simon possessed to share more through his dialogue than many could share with a photograph.
I loved every single page and would recommend all to delve into it.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is to be read as "the world according to Ted" moreover than a nice layout of what to be seen might you think about travelling the journey yourself. It's an expanation of how someone dealt with different cultures, assumptions, expectations, love and how things turn out (not) to be. Sometimes there are gaps, but "Riding High" fill out quite some niches. Although I can imagine that a four year's travel is hard to be put in one paperback..
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
So-so. Not the best book and not even the best moto travel book so far.
Liked it up to about the middle, after that Ted turened too saturated with experiences and the book iteself gets boring.
On the flit side - can be a great thing to read before long adventures as an example of how to to do it and how to not return home without learning anything.
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great, world-wide adventure and journey of self-discovery. "In my childhood, nobody talked about myths and legends. They were just stories. The job of explaining life was left to science, but science eventually failed the test. So did politics, of course. And love. And property. And journalism just went on begging the question." -97.
On meeting another rider, "'Oh well, back into it again.' I knew he meant time to sweat out the beer and replace it with water, to shrink his stomach back to a ha
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"arriving in Africa was after all pretty much like arriving use your imagination and make it different" Those truthful lines are found on the first few pages of the book and keep in mind he wrote the memoir after the trip was complete. It's a brilliant travelogue for sure.
frank poe
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A journey like no other. A marriage of human, machine and nature (a polyamory for the 70’s after all). Piss and vinegar around every turn and an appreciation of being where you are and not so much when you will get home.
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“In spite of wars and tourism and pictures by satellite, the world is just the same size it ever was. It is awesome to think how much of it I will never see. It is not a trick to go round these days, you can pay a lot of money and fly round it nonstop in less than forty-eight hours, but to know it, to smell it and feel it between your toes you have to crawl. There is no other way. Not flying, not floating. You have to stay on the ground and swallow the bugs as you go. Then the world is immense. The best you can do is to trace your long, infinitesimally thin line through the dust and extrapolate.” 4 likes
“For three days and two nights I drift up the Nile along Lake Nasser. The sunrises and sunsets are so extraordinarily beautiful that my body turns inside out and empties my heart into the sky. The stars are close enough to grasp. Lying on the roof of the ferry at night, I begin at last to know the constellations, and start a personal relationship with that particular little cluster of jewels called the Pleiades, which nestles in the sky not far from Orion's belt and sword. Really, those stars, when they come that close, you have to take them seriously.” 1 likes
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