This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a breakdown atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.
After that-although it took him forty-seven more years-Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on Earth. He achieved this by surviving riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, robbers, pickpockets, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He went around, under, or through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and rats to dung beetles and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame attacks by crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs-and several beautiful girlfriends who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.
Albert Podell's Around the World in 50 Years is a remarkable and meaningful tale of quiet courage, dogged persistence, undying determination, and an uncanny ability to extricate himself from one perilous situation after another-and return with some of the most memorable, frightening, and hilarious adventure stories you have ever read.
Podell first set his mind on traveling the world in 1964, when he quit his job at Argosy magazine and gave up his life as a bachelor in NYC, in an effort to break the record for the longest land journey around the world. Invigorated by all the sights, experiences, and drama, Podell set his sights higher: to visit every country in the world before he dies. In this lively travelogue, Podell proves himself a worthy raconteur as he recounts his adventures nearly drowning in Costa Rica, diving with penguins in the Gal pagos, eating ice cream in the Sahara Desert, panning for gold in Senegal, and eating all manner of local dishes including monkey brains in Hong Kong. He interacts with his fair share of corrupt officials and soldiers, falls into a manhole full of raw sewage in Africa, and visits the Pacific island of Tuvalu, a major arsenal during WWII that is all but abandoned and "will be the first country to disappear under the waves of the rising ocean." Rounded out with the author's frank advice for fellow travellers (he develops a toilet-rating system by country and includes a list of reasons not to visit Haiti) as well as his solemn observations that climate change is very real and that "if the work ethic I observed in the Western world continues to weaken... we are history," this book is an informative and sobering look at the world's many cultures and the importance of travel. 31 b&w photos.