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Full Circle


Michael Palin - Full CircleThe eventual distance we covered was around 50,000 miles, more than all the mileage on 80 Days and Pole to Pole put together. We set ourselves the deadline of one calendar year and were on the road for more than two hundred and seventy days of that year, returning home briefly to do some laundry and save our marriages.

There were times when resources ran low and the whole effort seemed overwhelming. But, as with the best journeys, this was often because there was no let-up in the sheer richness of what we saw and experienced. It was a journey of dazzling surprises and jarring extremes. Beauty and ugliness, sophistication and squalor, unceasing urban noise and monastic tranquillity were often to be found within a few miles of each other. It was not always easy to keep an account of all this and yet I managed to write something in my little black notebooks each day. These diaries, spotted with sand, curled by sea-water, besmirched with everything from Japanese rice-wine to chicha beer from the Andes, form the basis of Full Circle, augmented by my tape recordings, postcards and letters home.

If Full Circle succeeds in painting a portrait of life around the Pacific Rim, it is through the eyes of a traveller looking for enlightenment, not an expert dispensing it. Often I learned the hard way. But I learned, and now the countries on the other side of the earth are less of a mystery and more of a revelation. This is a record of a year of wonder.

Michael Palin
London 1997
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  • Series: Full Circle
  • Chapter: Introduction
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: London
  • Book page no: 7

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