In the 1960s, Albert Podell set the record for the longest automobile journey around the world. Having visited 26 countries, mostly near the equator, Podell decided to expand his adventure and visit the rest of the world's 196 nations - a quest that took him 50 years to complete.
Around the World in 50 Years is an account of some highlights (and lowlights) of his travels: from almost getting trampled by buffalo in Botswana to almost getting hanged in East Pakistan, from eating monkey brain in Hong Kong to eating injera bread in Ethiopia (surprisingly, the bread is his least favorite food), from meeting Tibetan monks in Mongolia to meeting a Ghanaian tour guide and voodoo expert named Godfried ("But you can just call me God"). Passing over his visits to the more familiar European countries, Podell's account spends most of its time in Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands, and so his book becomes not just a travel memoir but a close-up look at how people live in very different parts of the world. Fascinating, funny, sometimes tragic, and always eye-opening.
Want to read more? National Geographic interviewed Podell in this article.