• Around the World in 80 Trains

  • A 45,000-Mile Adventure
  • By: Monisha Rajesh
  • Narrated by: Monisha Rajesh
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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Around the World in 80 Trains

By: Monisha Rajesh
Narrated by: Monisha Rajesh
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Around the World in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh, read by Monisha Rajesh.  

Winner of the National Geographic Traveller Award for Best Travel Book.  

Shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award.

When Monisha Rajesh announced plans to circumnavigate the globe in 80 train journeys, she was met with wide-eyed disbelief. But it wasn’t long before she was carefully plotting a route that would cover 45,000 miles - almost twice the circumference of the earth - coasting along the world’s most remarkable railways; from the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet’s Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.    

Packing up her rucksack - and her fiancé, Jem, Monisha embarks on an unforgettable adventure that will take her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan and beyond. The ensuing journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strikes up friendships and swaps stories with the hilarious, irksome and ultimately endearing travellers they meet on board, all while taking in some of the earth’s most breathtaking views.    

From the author of Around India in 80 Trains comes another witty and irreverent look at the world and a celebration of the glory of train travel. Rajesh offers a wonderfully vivid account of life, history and culture in an audiobook that will make you laugh out loud - and reflect on what it means to be a global citizen - as you whirl around the world listening to it.

©2019 Monisha Rajesh (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"Monisha Rajesh has chosen one of the best ways of seeing the world. Never too fast, never too slow, her journey does what trains do best. Getting to the heart of things. Prepare for a very fine ride." (Michael Palin)

What listeners say about Around the World in 80 Trains

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Great escapism for the lockdown

Monisha Rajesh's story of her 7 months of railway journeys in the company of her fiance Jem makes for wonderful escapism in this time of enforced home arrest under the pandemic. Above all gentle in its tone and world view, Rajesh's observations are always humane, open eyed, and open minded. Even in the few moments of apparent peril she maintains an air of calm objectivity rather than indulge in scandalized complaint, preferring to reflect on the humanity she encounters rather than stoke xenophobic fear. While I can't go so far as to describe it as a masterpiece, the writing is occasionally poetic, and once in a while quite moving, and she leaves lasting impressions on the mind's eye. I'd love to hear her narrate her earlier book on her travels in India, perhaps she and Audible have it on their to-do list.

5 people found this helpful

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Highly enjoyable armchair train travel experience

I have been a railfan (or an anorak, foamer, trains evangelist whatever) since I was a kid. I have been travelling quite a few of the railway lines Rajesh mentioned in her book in the last 3 years. This book recalled my memory of railway travel. I am very impressed the small details she have been able to spot. I can even smell the smell, feel the train moving the way she described. I bought both books and audiobook. I personally prefer the auidobook better because her voice (eg. minmicking her travel companion accent, the tense moment of catching a train or the potential of not able to leave North Korea) made the listeners feeling they are part of her travel experience.

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Surprisingly negative

Ms. Rajesh loves trains and train travel, which is the good part of this book. It does inspire me to travel that way. Unfortunately, she finds a lot to criticize about the people and places those trains take her. The prime example is her description of the terra cotta warriors as “underwhelming.” Her reasoning is that you see them from above, and not at eye level. Oh, and they’re not really terra cotta colored, more a faded pink. Wow. I’ve been there, and if seeing several hundred warriors, each one unique, not to mention horses, created more than 2,000 years ago, and knowing there are thousands more not yet uncovered because they want to preserve them, is not awe inspiring, I don’t know what is. That’s just one of many examples. I love travelogues, and I don’t want to hear only the good, but I was surprised by how often her stories were about her unmet expectations in people or locations on her journey.

1 person found this helpful

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too much dialog

its too hard to keep track of people and whats happening. too much dialog

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An enchanting tale

This was an unusual, delightful travel memoir. The aspect of train travel made it so much more unique than typical memoirs. This book was about the journey, not the destination. It made me want to ride the rails and meet the amazing people Monisha and her fiancé met. It was beautifully written, and the author was a fantastic narrator. The love of her adventure came through in her voice. Highly, highly recommend.

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A great adventure

It was a great adventure traveling by train together with Monisha. Her narrating was excellent, too.

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If you want to hear a story about a bad time

Does she ever actually start enjoying the trip? Sorry, I'm throwing in the towel. I can't finish this book. If the world is against you maybe it's not a world problem, maybe it's a you problem.

Returning.

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Around the World in 80 Trains

Truly disappointed in this book. Was excited by the premise but it is very focused on the writer. Was expecting observations that were more sophisticated. Great idea but not what I was seeking as far as seeing the experience thru the writers eyes to allow me to experience different places.

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Fun for lovers of travel in general

Very fun for lovers of travel in general and of train travel in particular. Some great local color through a series of interesting locations. I am disappointed she didn't do her original route through Uzbekistan and more of Eastern Europe, but happy Kazakhstan made the cut. I'm always suspicious when an author reads their own work as too often it's not a great fit. But she does a good job, even when I suspect she's mocking some American accents. It's ok. We can take it. Small complaint: I know the whole bit complaining about tipping in America was sort of in jest, but given the wages most wait staff make here, please don't begrudge even the surliest of them the tip box.

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shallow and breezy

a nice palate cleanser of a book recounts her train journey around the global north.

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  • petersonhayward
  • 09-29-20

Interesting but obnoxious

An interesting journey however written in a myopic and obnoxious form. I don't tend to write many reviews but I felt compelled to do so. Whilst I vicariously tried living many of the journeys through the writers words and who coincidently in this production is the narrator, there are many moments where they demonstrate elitist, obnoxious pre conceptions of places and experiences they've not yet had. Considering this is a book about new experiences I baulked at that and found it a little sad. Namely, the perception of going on cruises, the the general perception of Eastern and western travellers behaviour, their rose tinted view of a specific type of traveller and what felt like a guide trip for a very middle class, privileged yet shielded couple. It could have done better, been more open minded and down to earth. This sounds like it was written by Judith Chalmers.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-21-20

Enjoyable

Overall, an enjoyable listen that has flashes of brilliance. However, the final few chapters are almost ruined by Monisha's insistence on using her terrible Scottish accent to read the dialogue of Mark, one of her travel companions. I had to turn it off/fast forward at times because of this.

12 people found this helpful

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  • AJC
  • 09-04-20

Brilliant

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this fantastic book. Not travelling this year because of the virus but now I've listened to this book I feel like I have! The author brings every place she visits to life. Really wish Around India in 80 trains was also available on Audible.

11 people found this helpful

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  • gavmcginty
  • 01-30-21

Stick with it

Like others, I struggled to get into this in the early chapters, but am very glad I stuck with it.

The author's early experiences and narrative in Europe didn't warm me to her as a traveller - she comes across as simultaneously smug and naive. It improved though as she moved out of the familiar, and focused more on describing the train journeys rather than the city breaks in between. Then it became really very enjoyable.

And once it reaches that stage this is very much a book about travelling the world by train. The focus is on the train journeys, and the encounters and train adventures along the way. After the initial European stage there is very little about the places encountered in between. And that focus is what makes it a great book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie Baillie
  • 06-23-20

A very enjoyable summer listen.

having the author as the narrator was a fantastic move. you can really here the passion for the story and being Scottish myself love her attempt at her friends accent.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 01-19-21

Very enjoyable.

An very enjoyable, personal account of an interesting journey. I didn't know what to expect beforehand... but it was a lovely travelogue. Full of personal and observational details. Very well written and read by the author.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-27-20

A fantastic book, perfect for lockdown!

This is the PERFECT escape from our current situation! The locations, the encounters and the experiences are so well described (and performed) they are almost palpable. Pack your bags, are you are about to travel around the world!

2 people found this helpful

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  • jake woodhead
  • 09-19-20

10/10 Great adventure

A great adventure story. Monisha read it perfectly. Would listen again, Definitely given me the bug to go traveling by train again!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-21

Young Traveler’s Must Read

Just about to head off travelling around the world and haven’t put much thought into trains. Save to say that has now changed. Thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • MR S S Sandhu
  • 11-06-21

A great listen for inspiring adventures

I picked this up with a view to get inspired for my own adventures and it’s certainly done that. Monisha is great at observation and recreating Mark’s accent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vanessa
  • 05-22-22

Travelling in my mind

How brilliant, great writing - more travel journey like this please!! Honest, inspiring and real.

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  • Fred
  • 03-25-22

Fantastic for those who have the travel bug

Very enjoyable reading and wonderful for those who love train travel or travel in general. Easy to listen to, and inspires one to take more trains while travelling.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-15-20

An amazing book that took me on a journey

An amazingly written travel book. Some of the journeys Monisha went on in this book I have done myself and she took me back and it gave me nostalgia with the way she describes her experiences. I found the entire book so inspiring and relatable and it made me want to explore more of the world by train. Highly recommend!!