Stephen is currently writing his first book which will focus on the final two years of the six year journey around the world. The story takes place in twenty countries across Asia.
It’s an adventure tale, and with a taste for rough roads folded over mountains and threaded through wild places, the setting to this journey tended to lie in the hinterlands of the continent, from remote cloud forests in Myanmar to the steppe and Taiga of western Mongolia; from sequestered valleys of Chechen refugees in the Caucuses, to sneaking excursions into Afghanistan and Bhutan.
The book is also about the absurdities attendant on travel, as well as being a very personal exploration of how and why health and marginalisation collide.
En route Stephen visited medical projects associated with people on the edge of society: those physically, economically, socially and culturally marginalised. He interviewed patients and health workers across the continent – from refugees, nomads, victims of suicide blasts and sufferers of leprosy, TB and HIV to transsexual sex workers, ex-prisoners, slum dwellers and drug addicts – and these stories are weaved into the travelogue.
The quest to understand more about inequalities in health represented another journey, running synchronously with the physical one by bicycle. By travelling gradually among people and over landscapes, Stephen began to discover how health and disease relate to environment, traditions, beliefs, politics and migration.
The unifying theme of this book is ‘edges’: the physical edges of places, societal edges, figurative edges of the human world, pushing himself to and beyond his own perceived edges in battles against exhaustion, loneliness, illness, uncomfortable self-reflection, extreme cold, fear, obsession and the unfortunate habit of eating like an escaped prisoner of war.
Stephen’s writing style is well represented in this post.
If this sounds like a book you’d like to read, simply fill in the contact form, and Stephen will be in touch nearer publication time (but this may not be until 2018!)