The Guest: A Backroads Journey

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  • About the Book:

    A young boy lies bleeding on a remote Mexican highway. A group of bicycle tourists beg passing motorists for assistance. Bystanders draw away in fear: “You never know who might be watching.”

    So begins The Guest, a travel memoir about a year-long cycling journey from Canada to El Salvador. Armed with a young man’s ego, a fluent command of Spanish and an ambitious plan to ride his bike to Patagonia, Australian Quinten Dol answers the call of adventure and makes the road his home. He survives run-ins with religious fanatics, murderous semi-trailers and the U.S. Border Patrol, crossing 8,000 miles of high deserts, craggy mountains and steaming jungles under his own pedal power.

    But it is the people Quinten encounters — a vast and colorful cast that includes his best friend, Hualapai elders, migrant laborers, Zapotec matriarchs, scruffy fellow cyclists and a new love — who teach him what it truly means to be an adventurer and a human in the modern age.

    Spanning vast swaths of the United States, Mexico and Central America, The Guest is a love letter to bicycle touring, a cross-continental road trip at 10 miles per hour. For any traveler who loves the backroads and in-between places of the world, this book is for you.

    About Laura Read: 

    Laura Read is a freelance writer focused on the genres of culture, science and travel stories. She works with the San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic Traveler, MIT Technology Review,and The Furrow, among other publications. Recently, she’s been the opinion editor for the North Tahoe-based Moonshine Ink. She edited “Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique'' cookbook and the book, “My Life Giving the World a Lift.” A Nordic skier, mountain biker and stand up paddleboarder, she lives in Tahoe City with her husband, Doug, and her dog, Wheeler. Her website is

    Why Laura Chose This Book:

    This is a rollicking story written by an Australian about his cycling trip from Vancouver to El Salvador. He's so funny! His writing is a joy and so are his perspectives about the places he goes and the people he meets.