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Riding High

Ted Simon

Six years before my great adventure began I bought an ancient ruin deep in rural France where much of life was almost untouched by the modern age. In those days many people still cooked on wood fires and worked their vineyards with horses. The old stone houses, huddled together for protection, were shady and cool in summer, dark and frigid in winter, and a nineteeth-century grandmother sheathed in black seemed to haunt every hearth.

People reading Riding High before Jupiter's Travels might have an entirely different take on this book, so bear with me. I finished Jupiter a couple of months ago, finally, and decided that I eventually enjoyed it enough to purchase Riding. The latter is often described as the sequel to Jupiter, but I'm not convinced that's true. Certainly, it details the effects of the journey on Simon, and chronologically comes after Jupiter, but I think that the "sequel-ness" of the book stops there. Riding weaves back and forth between detailed descriptions of anecdotes mentioned in Jupiter and detailed descriptions of Simon's personal life after returning from his journey. We learn about his marriage and his wife's pregnancy as much as we learn about his hospital stay in Penang and trips through India. Frankly, by the end of the book, I was much more interested in the stories of his personal life; most likely because I'd just finished Jupiter and enjoyed the peek into the psyche of the man who'd done the trip. All in all, Riding is an excellent and interesting book.

Buy it from Mr. Simon's website

A blurry picture of Ted Simon and me, November 2003.