The year was 1928 when two young Hungarians decided to travel around the world on a motorcycle. Like Robert Fulton, whose circumnavigation of the globe is chronicled in his 1937 book One Man Caravan, Sulkowsky thought his was the first around-the-world journey on a motorcycle. Sulkowsky’s account of his travels, originally published in Hungary in 1937, has recently been translated into English and published with the original photos.
The trip, on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with sidecar, started in Paris, France. During the next eight years Sulkowsky and his friend Gyula Bartha traveled through Europe, Africa, the Mideast, India, Australia, southeast Asia, China, Japan, North and South America, and back to Europe. They earned enough money to keep traveling by selling photographs and accounts of their experiences and giving lectures in the many cities they visited along the way.
Sulkowsky gives a very clear-eyed view of the world in the 1930s—a world where the colonizing influence of Europe had affected much of Africa and Asia. He describes in detail the overwhelming effect the British had on Indian culture and contrasts that with countries farther east where the trappings of European dominance barely reached beyond the major cities. Sulkowsky and Bartha experienced the riches of sultans, witnessed primitive cultures and extreme poverty in remote villages, traveled through wilderness with the ever-present danger of wild animals, and traversed roads of all descriptions. They dealt with mud, sand, extreme heat and cold, and rivers where the motorcycle had to be taken apart to cross in a small boat.
This intelligent and engaging book offers a unique worldview between the World Wars, flavored by a sampling of the great diversity of cultures and the wide variety of human life that exists on this planet.
About the Author
Zoltán Sulkowsky was 25 years old when he left Hungary, drawn by wanderlust. His goal was to see and learn as much as he could and to keep a journal to record his observations and adventures. As his plan crystallized, one thought led to another and Sulkowsky and his friend Gyula Bartha found themselves on a motorcycle and full of determination to make their way around the world.
Paperback: 413 pages
Format: 6 by 9 inches, black and white illustrations