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25 November 2006

John McCarthy
meets three travellers who travelled to South America for very different reasons.

Retired teacher, Marion Burdett’s visit to South America was part of a much longer trip hitch-hiking on her own round the world.

Michael Jacobs’s grandfather also spent four years of his life in the Andes as the engineer constructing a railway from the coast in Chile to the heights of the mountains in Bolivia. Michael has been tracing his grandfather’s experiences there with a journey of his own.

Screen writer Edward Canfor-Dumas has recently returned from a trip to Bolivia and Peru where he has been looking at some of the work done by the charity CARE with prisoners, child labourers and conflict resolution.


Presented by John McCarthy

Musicians in Tirani, Bolivia


Photo: Musician in Tirani, Bolivia - courtesy of Edward Canfor Dumas (copyright)

This week's guests: 

In the early seventies Marion Burdett wanted to escape from her job and when someone at work offered his unwanted sleeping bag for £1 she took the unexpected decision to hitch-hike around the world.  After handing in her notice, Marion started her journey on the M1 slipway with her thumb in the air heading for Le Havre. 

After France, Spain followed then Morocco, Sicily, Italy, Greece, Turkey (Istanbul), Israel (where Marion stayed on a Kibbutz), Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Timor, Australia (Darwin), NZ, Easter Island, Chile, Peru, Argentina, West Indies, USA (New York), Canada (west coast).

Michael Jacobs is a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the Hispanic Department of the University of Glasgow and a travel writer.  He lives in southern Spain but is equally at home in South America. Michael’s latest book Ghost train through the Andes starts with Michael’s memories of his grandfather.  Eventually Michael would inherit several of letters from Bethel to Sophie, Michael’s grandmother, many of which were written when he was away in Bolivia building a railway.

Ghost Train Through The Andes
Publisher: John Murray
ISBN: 0719561795

Edward Canfor-Dumas is an award-winning TV scriptwriter and novelist. Edward wrote the highly-acclaimed BBC documentary drama Pompeii: The Last Day and followed this in 2005 with Supervolcano. He branched out into novels in the same year, with the successful modern story The Buddha, Geoff and Me. He is also active within the pressure group Ministry for Peace, which campaigns for a ministry within government dedicated to working for peace at home and abroad.

While sitting in a traffic jam with his family discussing where they’d like to go in the world and he, having had a yen to visit Machu Picchu since childhood, said South America. He was astonished to return home to find an email inviting him to visit some of the work carried out by the aid agency CARE - in South America! Sponsored by the International Broadcasting Trust and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, Edward went in August this year - his first visit to the continent.

Edward Canfor-Dumas travel diary through Bolivia and Peru visiting Care’s work in August 2006

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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