Benedict Allen is perhaps the foremost ‘back to basics’ explorer around today. Equipped with a true anthropological approach and no technological safety blanket, Allen takes himself to the hidden parts of the globe and immerses himself. His approach to exploration is very people focussed, experiencing things truly off the radar and subsequently the style he reports it in is very engaging.
Mad White Giant was the first of Allen’s books. It tells the story of his journey across the Amazon rainforest. At the age of 22 he took off to South America and proceeded to travel on foot and by dugout canoe from the mouth of the Orinoco to the mouth of the Amazon. Being young and relatively inexperienced the trip was an epic and something he openly admits would not have been achieved without the help of the locals. The journey was not an easy one, it was the 80’s and he was very much an alien wandering the gargantuan and exotic forest. It’s an interesting journey and one which keeps you engrossed. He encountered many scrapes along the path and at times you are worried for him, then when you close each chapter you are left mind-blown, it all actually happened to a 22 year old who set out on a highly ambitious adventure.
It is a great trip for Benedict Allen to have under his belt and will be an important book to have under yours if you are a budding explorer. Beyond this, it’ll also suit you if you are just after a real-life account of a brave youngster of on an epic adventure.