"Through Dust And Dreams" Following An Imperfect Journey Through Africa

§ I received an copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. §

At the beginning for this century Valea took a holiday in Namibia. This is where her love story with Africa starts, when she returns to hectic Europe her heart yearns to return to Africa, to return to the state of mind she found there and discover more about life and this strange world. On a whim she answers an ad; Peter is looking for travelers to join his adventure: to drive from the North of Africa, down to South Africa. Add another travel companion: Richard and the journey starts in 2002.

Overall, Valea's journey takes almost a year and the sailing is anything but smoothly. The road - and sometimes no road - is littered with many misfortunes, mishaps but also good memories and moments of kindness.

Through Dust and Dreams: The Story of an African Adventure  by Roxana Valea
"Through Dust And Dreams" reads less like a travel book but rather like a travel journal. The stories are all told from Valea's perspective, her impressions, feelings, and thoughts. There is little to know statistics about the countries that The Gang visit in. This makes the book into a very personal read, and you won't find traditional travel stories in it either. Instead Valea shares countless mishaps she has had with mosquito nets, driving experiences, the different cuisine, as well as with her travel companions.

The latter provided to be the most entertaining for me. Valea was born in Romania, and has lived most of her prior life in Latin influenced countries. Meanwhile, Peter and Richard are both British, and British dry humour is ... an acquired taste and as such confused Valea more than it did not.

"What was that strange noise in the bathroom?" Peter asked from under the blanket.
"My epilator", I answered, not feeling quite sure if I had to share with my travel mate my intimate activities in the bathroom.
"I was wondering what it was. I thought you'd brought along a vibrator," he added in a dry voice, and turned on to his other side to continue his sleep, leaving me speechless and furious.
Another one of his jokes. Sometimes I simply hated him. 
Chapter 4: The Slave of the Merciful  

While those are strong words to finish this quote with, the development between this uneven group is one of the sweetest aspects. Through half of the book, Richard and Roxana travel on their own without the Jeep, while Peter presses on with the car. Then they are a team, and despite the fact that chaos should be insured, they managed to band together.

It all goes so far, that by the end of the book, they understand each others moods and you can tell that they became three people who did not only learn to travel together and accept each other as they come but that they also cherish each other.

In the end, it remains a story that does not follow their shared adventure through Africa but Valea's and as such she also tries to answer the question "what do I want from life?" during this journey. However, the answer she finds, is that there is no answer ... and the mumbo jumbo is left to another book. While yes, Valea's story can definitely inspire someone to roughen it up for a while and travel through the heart of Africa by car, she does not go as far as saying that it is going to help you find you "who you are."

Even though the book tries to stay away from statics, hard and factual history and thus is not a lexicon on Africa, I still feel that some of the info must be outdated. After all the journey took place almost 20 years ago, and some things might have changed - while others might have stayed the same.

Furthermore, at times "Through Dust And Dreams" reads a little slower. This might be due to the "capture the moment" story telling that Valea uses. By this you get momentary snips of the whole story, like reading different travel related stories of the same trip. While this skips over boring bits, it also put me out of the pacing from time to time. On top of this, the journey of a lifetime took almost a year, so of course, it is not going to be a short book either.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't let that stop me from reading this book. Valea manages to capture all the soul and heart that a trip has in store, with the mishaps, ups and downs, and the humour. So if you are interested in either Africa, road trips, roughening it for a bit, or just going on a journey that you yourself don't dare to take (yet), then "Through Dust And Dreams" is perfect for you!

Through Dust and Dreams: The Story of an African Adventureby Roxana Valea
Published2014by RV Publications
Goodreads:Add to shelf


  1. I love books that involve travel. I’m interested. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome. It was a fun read, hope you enjoy :)

  2. This sounds tasty, I can't believe I missed this one

  3. Her book sounds very exciting. Great review.

    1. Thank you. I hope you get a chance to read it

  4. This look goods, thanks for sharing! I love exploring other parts of the world through reading so it's great to come across books in which the characters travel :)

  5. This seems like a very interesting book.

  6. Excellent review although the book wouldn’t be when I would pick to read.

  7. This sounds good and intriguing. Great review

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

  8. Not one of my usual reads, but your review is tempting

  9. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.


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