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My Trekking Books

It was great fun to research and write these three books. However, my feeling about people who write travel guides for a living, after having done it myself for a while, is that either they have to produce so many titles that the quality suffers or they go hungry: something, somewhere has to give.

Das Handbuch für Fernwanderer; Pietsch Verlag, Stuttgart 1992

This book (in German) was the first title I wrote after leaving Lauer & Wallwitz (the software company I co-founded in 1984). It dealt with all aspects of hiking and trekking, something I had taken to a few years earlier. The trekking craze in our household had started when I had listened to the siren songs of Vero — that we should try hiking at least once, that nature is great, that we can have such a good time… blabla, I thought, but then again… why not give it a try? Vero had supported my crazy plans to cross the Algerian Sahara in 1990, so I thought I might return the favour, as it were. And the idea to walk through the open countryside for two full weeks somehow appealed to my romantic core.

We decided to do the GR20, on the island of Corsica. This is a pretty difficult two-week trek through the high mountains of Corsica, not something one would normally do as a complete newbie. But life's so boring without a challenge:-). And of course, the first day was perfectly horrible, all the sweating and panting and not finding the hut until shortly after nightfall… but after that I was hooked. Completely, irrevocably hooked. (I have a theory that people trek mainly because it is so nice to sit in a lodge or refuge, let the pain subside, after all the exertions: basically it's all a bad case of masochism.)

Teneriffa; Pietsch Verlag, Stuttgart 1992

We quickly graduated from the easy stuff to more interesting things like crossing the island of Tenerife (not exactly known as the place to go trekking but that was part of the fun). It was an ambitious plan, and I spent weeks and weeks poring over topographic maps and fiddling together a feasible route: from the most northeastern point of Tenerife to the most southwestern point, not unlike a walk from John o' Groats to Lands' End, though much shorter: two weeks, no huts (save one on the lower slopes of Teide), all that with our tent and carrying our own supplies… it was not at all a bad plan. And it worked pretty well, we had a whale of a time. Sooner or later I'll write up a bit about that hike in the Travel section.

Anyway, back in Germany I decided to write this book about the whole thing: partly a travelogue, partly a guide book for people who want to do the same trip (or something similar). Duly found a publisher and that was it.

Manuel de la Grande Randonneé et du Trekking; Edisud, Aix-en-Provence 1993

That's an enhanced and slightly extended translation into French of the first title. The funny bit here is that this book sold, over the years, about four times as many copies as its older German sibling. (Okay, so the marketing of Pietsch Verlag was appalling and the cover of the German title is nothing short of a catastrophe — and yet, I still find it amazing that the French bought our book as if it were the only book on the planet about La Randonneé (well, perhaps it's simply Vero's picture on the cover:-).) Even so, the numbers were simply not large enough to make writing travel books a sustainable way of earning a living. An English edition might have been different (because the potential audience is so much bigger) but we never tried that. Perhaps we should, one of these days.

And that was it?

Well, let's do something foolish and risk a look into the crystal ball… There's an idea I have carried around with me now for quite some time: doing something about trekking in Nepal. It would be purely a labour of love, no doubt, and although it would come from a printer's press it would in all probability not be a book. (There are a few pretty good titles about trekking in Nepal on the market, so there's no need to go into that.) But I have a cunning plan… I'll keep you posted!

Next are my My Computer Books.

$updated from: My Trekking Books.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:22 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$