Is this kind of a trip for everyone?
I wouldn't say so, no. It just seemed a way of being adventurous in a traditional way. The drawback is the hard work. But people responded to me warmly when they saw I was traveling in a way that involved a degree of hardship. The local guys imagined I was tough and the women wanted to mother me and feed me. Virtually everyone I met--black or white--seemed genuinely enthusiastic about what I was doing, mostly because there was something intrinsically funny about it.
What was the best luxury throughout your trip?
Books. That was the only indulgence really. As I was traveling alone, that was the thing that kept me going. I would stop for three quarters of an hour and feel a lot more rested if I'd been reading than if I had been staring out to space thinking about the journey. It's certainly quite ironic that you're on a journey that's escapist in itself and that you'd want to escape from that with books.You came close to mortal peril a few times. What was that like?
Bad things can happen in Africa, but bad things can happen at home. In Africa, because I was on such a mission, you have to accept that there's going to be some degree of risk. Overall, I was quite lucky. In a lot of people's minds, the dangers were exaggerated. There are dangers, but I think in some ways I was safer the way I traveled than as a conventional backpacker. They get off a bus and people know where they're going to be and what they're going to do. I always arrived unannounced.Read the full interview here.