Neil Peart cycles his way through West Africa and brings us along with him, dysentery and all.
The Masked Rider details his physical and spiritual journey with photographs, journal entries, and tales of adventure.
Peart's "masks" are the masks that we wear — civilization, psychology, labels, expectations — and his book reveals how traveling in a very foreign land allows us to peer beneath them.
Within a ten-month period, Neil Peart suffered family losses so devastating that they left him a ghost -- physically a man but with nothing.
No hope, meaning, faith, or desire to keep living. One year after the first tragedy, Neil was choosing between life and his own death. Finally, all he could decide upon was motion. He got on his BMW R1100GS motorcycle, and over the next 14 months, rode 55,000 miles, in search of a reason to live. On a journey of escape, exile, and exploration, he traveled from Quebec to Alaska, down the Canadian and American coasts and western regions, to Mexico and Belize, and finally back to Quebec. While riding "the Healing Road," Neil recorded in his journals his progress and setbacks in the grieving/healing process, and the pain of constantly reliving his losses.
He also recorded with dazzling, colorful, entertaining, and moving artistry, the enormous range of his travel adventures, from the mountains to the sea, from the deserts to Arctic tundra, and the dozens of memorable people, characters, friends, and relatives he met along the way, and who increasingly contributed to his healing and sense of meaning and purpose. He began the journey with nothing, "the Ghost Rider." What he finally attains is joy, love, and indelible memories of the most extraordinary journey of his life.
"Neil lets us ride with him along the backroads of North America, Europe, and South America, sharing his experiences in personal reflections and full-color photos. Spanning almost four years, these twenty-two stories are open letters that recount adventures both personal and universal—from the challenges and accomplishments in the professional life of an artist to the birth of a child. These popular stories, originally posted on Neil’s website, are now collected and contextualized with a new introduction and conclusion in this beautifully designed volume."
Roadshow illuminates the daunting rigors of a major international concert tour, as well as Peart's exploration of the scenic byways and country towns along the way. His evocative and entertaining prose carries the reader through every performance and every journey, sharing the bittersweet reflections triggered by the endlessly unfolding landscape. Observations and reflections range from the poignantly, achingly personal to the wickedly irreverent.
Part behind-the-scenes memoir, part existential travelogue, Roadshow winds through nineteen countries on both sides of the Atlantic, in search of the perfect show, the perfect meal, the perfect road, and an elusive inner satisfaction that comes only with the recognition that the journey itself is the ultimate destination.
Described as "The Soundtrack To My Life And Times" by Neil, this is book number three in his series of autobiographical travel writings. The setting is "the road" for this story, and Neil set out on a 2500 mile round-trip journey to Texas, where he listened to "traveling music" all the way, by artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Linkin Park, Miles Davis to Radiohead, Patsy Cline to Madonna.
As he drove and listened, he experienced the traveling essence of music itself, and the songs took him on voyages of memory, imagination, emotion, sensation - and when he reached Big Bend Park on the third day, creative inspiration: " A story could be written just around the music I've listened to on this trip." And so he did write a story, now here for us to enjoy.