Book Club: Around the World in 50 Years-My Adventure to Every Country on Earth

Y'all-found you SOLID book choice. This past month, our book club discussed "Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth" by Albert Podell. Charley and I are both serious adventure enthusiasts and never met a travel blog we didn't devour (go figure) so this was 100% making it into the book club list. The discussion was fantastic and I thinkyou and your devour tribe would enjoy it as well. We all agreed it was an incredible book, 9 or 10/10 for me. 

The book chronicles Al's adventures over the course of 50 years, spanning every single country that exists in the world. If a country ceased to exist or became a new country, like Yugoslavia, he went back and visited after the change occurred. What makes it particularly interesting is that he didn't start traveling until he was in his mid-20s.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was he didn't talk about countries everybody's heard of. If I read another travel saga about Italy, I might puke. Italy is great but it's been DONE. Stick a fork in it. Anywho, the book focuses a lot on African countries and I'm pretty sure none of us know as much as we should about any of the 54 countries located there. Africa contains almost a third of the World's countries and let's face it, we're all a little ignorant to it as a continent-and that's coming from someone who is EXTREMELY interested in human rights, infrastructure, and urban planning. We could all be more informed. Read up, use BBC as your news source, and devour it, people.

I really enjoyed dear ol' Al's writing style. It's funny and blunt and conversational without being annoying or chatty. I wanted to strangle him almost every single time he talked about women, but what do you expect from someone in his...80s? Late 70s? Chauvanist ass. Moving on...

Surprisingly enough, there's not a ton of information out there about the author himself. Believe me, I looked. You have to assume he's a super wealthy creature for having been able to visit 196+ countries over the course of 50 years. Our book club tried to calculate what it would have cost to have this adventure, and not taking into account interest, we estimated around $3 million. There's so many costs that you don't think about! Security, transportation, emergency planning for visas and bribes, it's kind of insane and a nightmare for the Type A planner in me. He also talks a significant amount about sea-level rise and issues relating to sustainable growth. As someone who's literally hit every country on Earth, he said over the course of 50 years, he could legitimately see the effects of climate change. He's one of few people to be able to attest to that which I thought was pretty neat.

He was apparently a Mad Man, has several degrees including a law degree, was a magazine editor, photography director, and a trial attorney. Not a bad thing to be the guy who changes his mind about what he wants to do but obviously did so successfully. 

As with every book club meeting, I cook something I've typically never done before and it goes with the book's theme. This meant Cubanitos! I don't have a panini press because I'm not bourgie like that so I used my electric griddle and stacked cast iron skillets with tin foil on top to give them that solid crushed look.

If you don't know what goes into a Cubanito:

Cuban bread (or French bread loaves if you can't find Cuban) buttered and griddled
Boiled ham
Mojo pork

Hella' delicious and fun to make. 


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