The List

Dec 1, 1998
Outside Magazine

31. Recreate a Passage from a Novel: Dogsled (Call of the Wild).

31. Recreate a Passage from a Novel
-Spend a year as a cook in a small Florida Keys seafood restaurant ("The Man Who Gave Up His Name" from Legends of the Fall).
-Enhance your reputation by successfully predicting a solar eclipse (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court).
-Dogsled (The Call of the Wild).
-Journey upriver just a bit farther than you feel comfortable doing (Heart of Darkness).
-Journey downriver just a bit farther than you really should (Deliverance).

32. Grow a Delicious Tomato
33. The Rio Santa Maria, in No Particular Hurry

The beau ideal of whitewater, with all the trimmings: 17 miles of startlingly lucid Class IV water bordering the rainforest of Mexico's San Luis Potosì State, gushing into squeeze-through canyons, plummeting through boulder gardens, warming to 85 degrees, ambling by blinking iguanas and turtles scowling from the bank, and ending in view of a 240-foot waterfall. Call Expediciones Agua Azul for itineraries, 208-863-1100.

34. Trespass
By Paul Theroux
There have probably never been more national boundaries than there are today, and I find them all odious. Getting into (or out of) Israel, Syria, Japan, Saudi Arabia, or the Congo could put you off travel forever. "This is the Congo. I make the laws," an immigration officer in Kinshasa told a friend of mine recently, as he extorted money from him.

My dream, my answer, is the ultimate trip: Trespassing, traveling as far as possible without a passport, entering countries secretly and illegally. In this anti-bureaucratic fantasy I have several itineraries. One is London to Australia, crossing Europe—easy enough—to Greece, and sneaking over the Turkish frontier, Iran, and Pakistan, or through former Soviet republics, to India and thence through Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, and Malaysia, after which fishing boats would be needed, for passage via Borneo to the Philippines, to New Guinea, to Australia. Canada to Buenos Aires is also appealing, and I think possible; and so is a trans-Africa jaunt, or Paris to Vladivostok. There are risks, but it seems that the likelihood of death or jail would sharpen your wits and make you inventive.

For avoiding checkpoints one would have to acquire some climbing, trekking, or swimming skills, since many borders are borders precisely because of a mountain range or a river or a stretch of desert. As for your excuse if you are caught, the most plausible one is insanity. In these circumstances, it might work, because it would be substantially true. No one in his right mind would attempt this.

Paul Theroux's books include The Mosquito Coast and My Secret History.

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