Sideways: Travels With Kafka, Hunter S. And Kerouac: Patrick O'Neil

This evocatively written, action-packed memoir is a love letter to the intoxicating strangeness of travel. Inspired by his literary heroes, O’Neil eschews pre-booked itineraries for loose plans based on fulfilling dreams and testing out life philosophies on the other side of the world.

He’s just turned 21 and up for almost anything, from tripping at trance festivals in the Sahara to partaking in boiled pet bunny in Bolivia. Curious, affable and intelligent, he’s often prepared to leap before looking in order to experience the adventures he craves. It’s a canny tactic but the amount of hot water he gets into would have most backpackers reaching for the cold tap!

O’Neil is careful not to judge those of us who stay put, content to steer clear of peyote and gangstas – it’s just not for him, at least, not all the time. After a few years on the move he realises what he needs: ‘the road to reflect on home and home to reflect on the road’. One suspects he’ll be on a plane again before long and Sideways will inspire more than a few readers to do the same.