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One for the Road: An Outback Adventure

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  951 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Swept off to live in Sydney by his Australian bride, American writer Tony Horwitz longs to explore the exotic reaches of his adopted land. So one day, armed only with a backpack and fantasies of the open road, he hitchhikes off into the awesome emptiness of Australia's outback.
        What follows is a hilarious, hair-raising ride into the hot red center of a continent so
Paperback, Revised, 211 pages
Published August 18th 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1987)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  951 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Dec 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel
This should have been titled,"A Pub Adventure".

My fondness for Australia notwithstanding,I didn't like this at all.To begin with,the Australian outback is not such a cheerful,welcoming place.

But what made the book totally unpalatable to me,was all the references to pubs and drinking.Yes,drinking is such a big part of Australian culture,but that doesn't interest me at all,and that is what this book seems to be all about.

I gave up on this,halfway through.In addition to all the drinking,the writing
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book 30 years ago, after finding it in a Dallas library. I read recently of Tony Horwitz's untimely death from heart attack, so I picked up another copy to see if it was as good as I remembered. I have to say, it has aged well; it is not as laugh-out-loud funny as I remembered, but it is wise in a way that's unusual for a young author (Tony was not yet 30 when he wrote it). The book appealed to me because I had been to Australia as a young man, and loved the place, but I'd never gott ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...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
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, biographical
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
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I pulled this off my unread shelf thinking I had seen it on the wishlist of an attendee at the upcoming 2020 BookCrossing Convention in Gold Coast. When I checked again, I didn't find it. But since this is a book about visiting Australia, it will likely make the trip with me anyway.

I have acquired a new appreciation for the sanity and mild-mannered company of my Aussie friends after reading this tour of the hardscrabble and hard-drinking sections of the country/continent. This tour of Australia
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1980s, travel, australia
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
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it
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 negative--
Apr 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Okay but I liked his later work much better.
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. ...more
Jeff Mauch
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for amusing travelogues, but this one just wasn't quite that entertaining. There's really two reasons for this: 1. The outback of central Australia is a boiling hot, desolate, lonely place. 2. Tony Horwitz, whom I enjoy, is just not that humorous or interesting on this go around. I think most of us forget that when we think of Australia the majority of us are thinking of the coast. It's because that's where almost the entire population resides. The heart of the continent is a wastel ...more
Feb 06, 2018 marked it as abandoned
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. ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, humor
I enjoyed this Australian adventure by a young, newly married Horwitz and so glad he survived it. It was a bittersweet read given his recent death. He will be missed.
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I'm at the stage of quarantine where my travel itch is getting bad, so it's time for all the travel memoirs where I can live vicariously through the authors (and hours on Google Maps).

I read a lot of Horwitz a decade or so ago, and I'm re-reading his works. Horwitz hasn't quite developed into a seasoned writer at this point of his writing career, but there's plenty of humor to show you where he can go. His ability to weave humor and history into a deft narrative isn't there yet, and I would hav
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tony Horwitz is the husband of writer Geraldine Brooks. After reading _Year of Wonders_, I recalled that I had Tony's book about hitchhiking around Australian in the 1980s, pulled it out to read. It is short, easy to read, highly entertaining. ...more
Pamela J
Set in Australia's outback, Horwitz's narrative traces his own tracks in the great continent. I wanted to love this 'road' narrative, and I was curious to read a Yank's ("Yanqui") perspective on this continent's vast interior landscape. And, maybe subconsciously, I was prompted to learn more about this writer's earlier works after his recent death (going on almost a year since I've read this book--he passed May 2019).
Written from a young-Horwitz's point of view as a man who has the privilege an
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
I love Tony Horwitz's books--this is the 5th one I've read. It's his first book, and although enjoyable, I like his subsequent books better, where he combines history with travel, diving into a historical event/era and visiting the places where it happened to see its current-day impact there. Here he recounts his solo hitchhiking trip into the Australian outback in the mid 1980s, within the context of him sowing his young-single-man adventure oats before fully settling into his marriage. His des ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Hitchhiking is not something people do in the same way that was more common in times past. But Tony Horwitz had hitchhiked around America as a teenager, and now finds himself in Australia with the same wanderlust and curiosity about a country and its people. Australia is a country with much barrenness, which I had not really known until I read a book by Bill Bryson (In A Sunburned Country). As Horwitz assumes his position as a hitchhiker, his dependence upon whomever he can get to pick him up sh ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading earlier this year of Tony Horwitz's incredibly untimely death - I'm still devastated - sent me back to the stacks to read books of his that I missed, so I pulled out this one. I see that it's actually signed by the author from when I met him, and his truly lovely wife, years ago at a reception that was small enough that us attendees were able to spend time talking with both Tony Horwitz and Geraldine Brooks. They were - well, he was and I'm sure she still is - truly wonderful and warm pe ...more
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this, it made me laugh out loud a few times. Compared to A Sunburned Country (in the UK the title is Down Under) by Bill Bryson, One for the Road pales. Both books, written by Americans involve the authors hitchhiking around Australia but Bryson's book is funnier, he's just a better writer. After a while, I found Horwitz's focus on drinking beer at every hovel, pub, bar along the road to be tedious because the majority of Aussies he encountered were alcoholic racists. The Aborigines we ...more
Sep 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, read-in-2021
Lots of drinking here, just as the title says. So it’s pretty much: ‘Hitch-hike to a town - go to the pub - drink - wait for someone to drive him to the next town - Repeat’.

There’s not much background info here on just about any Australian related topic. Just a small amount of history, but not much more. Nothing much on the unique animals of Australia, the culture, society, music, food…

So, if you want to read about a guy hitch-hiking around Australia, drinking beer, this is the book for you!

Susan Strayer
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I picked up a copy of this from a Little Free Library while full-time traveling through Nevada. Not the same as a hitchhiker adventure in Australia, but I felt a connection to the author.

This was a well written travelouge that snuck interesting historical facts and scenic descriptions into the narrative. In the end it's a book about what a reporter did with a few months off of work though. Still interesting and worth a read.
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Kelly J. Broussard
Long Live Tony Horwitz

I’ve read everything Tony Horwitz wrote and at the news of his untimely passing I decided to go through his catalogue again.
One for the Road remains as fresh and vibrant and observationally witty today as it was when I read it years ago.
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Date of Birth: 1958

Tony Horwitz was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose books include Blue Latitudes, Confederates In The Attic and Baghdad Without A Map. His most recent work, published in May 2019, is Spying on the South, which follows Frederick Law Olmsted's travels from the Potomac to the Rio Grande as an undercover correspondent in the 1850s.
Tony was also president of the S

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