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Jupiter's Travels and Dreaming of Jupiter Review - By Peter Hawker

These two are classics, “Jupiter’s Travels” ISBN-13: 978-0-14-005410-1 and the sequel “Dreaming of Jupiter” ISBN 978-0-349-11960-1. Jupiter is the author, Ted Simon, a journalist.

Jupiter’s Travels is an account of a 4 year  78,000 mile world trip in 1973 when he was 42, on a Triumph 500 Tiger 100. It’s a philosophical, passionate tale, a very personal ‘take’ of the countries and people Ted Simon encountered enroute.

“Although I had admired motorbikes since childhood, I knew nothing about them. Millions rode them so why shouldn’t I?”

“. . .  the belief was that what was going on around me . . . was connected to my inner life”

“The bike was a model for the idea I was striving towards. Only a continual desire to improve it’s performance would keep it going to the end.”

“There was no steady state. As soon as i lost interest . . . things began to fall apart.”

“It was very hard and very exciting”

 “Connects with the reader”

“Sheer endurance”

“Adventure, humour, deep insights, moving experiences”


“Journey was as much within as without. Life-changing, life-charging”


Dreaming of Jupiter is about a similar world-circling trip on a BMW R80GS 24 years later .

“If I had been told that I would do it again at the age of seventy I would’ve said that was ridiculous. Seventy would be much too old for that sort of thing.”

“. . .  you either travel and write yourself or read about what others have done, experiencing the adventure vicariously”

“Risk management on a trip like mine seems to me a largely futile endeavour. The anticipated dangers hardly ever materialise and obviously there’s no way to prepare for the others . . . I learned that the odds in our favour are vastly higher than we imagine”

“You don’t have to get everything right – I still don’t consider myself a good motorcyclist”

“Interruptions are the journey – the slower you travel, the easier to make connections, receive help and the the comfort readily offered. The better to adapt to changes in food, climate and customs. Better able to benefit from unexpected opportunities”

He complicated the journey by the duty of meeting a film crew periodically, getting to the right place at the right time,  which helped a lot with he finances but caused much frustration, writing a daily newspaper column and a blog. “I had become a creature of communication, constantly sending and receiving emails, posting messages to my website, incapable of setting into my surroundings”  The weight of the necessary electronic equipment demanded a larger bike, less manageable, more expensive to transport.

“A classic. Describes misery and poverty amongst beauty”

“Reading the two books provides a valuable comparison of the developing world, population expansion and greedy western civilisation.”

"Imaginative, thought provoking and inspiring”


If you read no other intrepid bike books, I strongly recommend that you read these two. Particularly if you’re anticipating an ambitious trip.


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