Two good adventure stories rolled into one, Ultimate Journey by Richard Bernstein, details the 17-year journey across Asia and back by Buddhist monk Hsuan Tsang in 629 – already a thousand years after the Buddha died. And it details Bernstein’s own journey now retracing the monk’s footsteps.
I love travel narrative, and if I had just been hungry for that, I would probably have enjoyed this book. But I was hoping to hear spiritual narrative woven in, and none of that was to be found. There was an egregious ‘love story’ – or not – thrown in. It was hard to tell if any commitment was going to be made anywhere.
So no real physical passion, no spiritual passion. Could have been a fabulous book, but it’s not. And there we are!