Book: Just Turn Left at the Mountain - Multi Entry Trials and Tribulations Meandering Across Chinese Borders by Andy Smartcategories: Book, Travelogue, Backpacking, Travel, Expat, Travel Tales, Adventure, Mongolia, South East Asia, South Korea, Travel Humour, Humour, China
Andy Smartabout this book: Just Turn Left at the Mountain: Multi-entry trials & tribulations meandering across Chinese borders recounts Andy Smart's humorous three year journey across China, Mongolia, South Korea and South East Asia.
Having never used my passport before, at the age of 40 quitting life in the UK and hitting the road was a miraculous life changing event. I had never experienced excitement quite like that before and recorded everything in as much detail as possible. Not only that, but the numerous calamities that would regularly descend just added to the journey ten-fold.
My primary readers are those who like a good real-life travel adventure, humour or are planning a trip to East Asia.
From the moment I crossed the border from Mongolia and back into China back in 2008, I entered the working routine that most of us experience in daily life. From the apartment in Beijing I started my three year project to bring each story back to life under one cover. The book took me three years to write and is a total labour of love.
Just Turn Left is a book that is meant to make the reader laugh and brighten up their day. The title reflects this as a quote from the final chapter where I was going to travel across the mountains up in Northern Mongolia and the Russian border to a small village,
'To get to it you have to push on up the lake towards Russia on horseback for a few days and then go left! Keep going left for a few days through the mountains until you get there. In order to get back you must go south and then take a right. Aaaaaah it's all just so straightforward!'
The cover is of some friends I lived with at Camp Hirvesteg, playing on the legendary pool table next to Lake Khovskol in Mongolia. This unlikely scene was one of the many things that made you smile along the way.
The hardest part or writing the book was actually finishing it. I realised that I had over written by two chapters and they didn't really work or add to the content. After days of looking inwardly I had to be honest with myself; I simply didn't want to stop writing.
While I was on the road, I did a lot of fact finding about each place I stayed at. You need to stick around and really get to know a place and its culture to start to understand it. At times I rented accommodation so I could take my time really getting the feel of my surroundings. However, some places still need researching when the writing proper started especially history.
Creating Just Turn Left was a journey in itself for me on so many different levels. The text was re-written seventeen times until it was at a level that was good enough. That I had really gotten to know people and recorded everything in such detail meant that I could write about them bring them back to life again. I found that recounting the story brought it back to me with crystal clarity. The maps and cover design are all my own work and they took months to finish. That there is an ocean of other things to do once the writing is over and it meant summoning up more staying power than I ever thought I had. I am sure that most people don't realise what an author has had to go through to get to the published stage; it's massive! Just Turn Left has taken me to the greatest of places and that is the intense love of writing.
To my lovely readers, thank you so much for all the amazing and positive feedback so far. That I can make someone laugh out loud in another part of the world is a great feeling and only feeds the need to continue writing.
Be lucky wherever you are!
reviews from Amazon.co.uk
• Honest. Excellent powers of description, sometimes stomach churningly so!! Funny and warm, really get a feel of something personal you're looking into. Ok so there's a few typo`s but who cares when it's this good. Easy to read and a very pleasant guy.
— Pamela, 5 stars
• Loved it. I read a book recently that had been suggested as the book to read about China - I much preferred this one. A few technical issues getting back to the book from the glossary but not enough to detract from the book. I loved the pace, the occasional sequencing oddities and the regular bits & pieces in no particular order providing short anecdotes. A few typo/editorial issues but this didn't affect the pace or reduce my interest.
— Crafter, 5 stars
• Corking Read. Pacey fun and well-crafted this travelogue motors along with great insight, humanity and moments of laugh out loud humour. Highly Recommend.
— Mark N. Waters, 5 stars
• Entertaining and humorous. I am so glad I chose this book to download and read. Not only a very useful travel guide but a very humorous account of all the situations the author encountered on his travels. I would definitely recommend this book as the wit and style of the writing has kept me entertained and kept me coming back for more each night.
— Susan C, 5 stars
• Did you really eat that? Sometimes a bit too revealing but in places very thought provoking! This book is a revelation to us wannabe travellers, especially those of us who like to be clean this book can leave you feeling a bit crusty at times. Really enjoyable narrative and packed with information, tips and the endless joy that is Chinese red tape. Looking forward to the next instalment. If you know someone that wants to go East, make them read this book.
— Rachel Thompson, 4 stars
• Please Sir, Can I have some more? I don't have a Kindle...yet! But having read the first few pages of this book, I have decided that this needs to change. I can't wait to read about Andy's travels, trials and tribulations. If the first few pages are an indicator of what's to come, I want some more. Humorous, gritty and real...just like the man himself!
— Ms. C. Costello "Carol Curlz", 5 stars
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