3 years before his death, in 2004, the polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote Travels with Herodotus, a book which was a review of all the trips he had to do because of his work as journalist. He was 72 years old when he wrote it and it was his last work, so the long career of this author is one of the most attractive elements of this book.
Herodotus, the first historian, has a capital importance in this book as we can see in the title. When Kapuscinski started traveling, he received Historiae, the most important work of Herodotus, and he started reading it in the first trip he did. Since that day, Kapuscinski took the Herodotus work as his main reference during his travels. He found that, despite all the years that separate the one from the other, both had something in common: the purpose to study, learn and understand the whole world.
Kapuscinski started working as a journalist in the Sztandar Mlodych, a nationwide newspaper. There he was sent to lots of place all over the country to inform of different facts. But Kapuscinski’s dream was crossing the border of Poland (the first chapter of the book has the name of “cross the border”) and he thought he was going to do it in 1953, when he was asked to go to Czechoslovokia. But a few days before of doing it, the trip was cancelled and it supposed a big deception for him. Kapuscinski did not desperate and his patience was rewarded with a very special trip: India.
The first border he had to cross was impressing if we consider that he was 24 years old and he had never go away from Poland. He was sent to India and there he discovered that crossing a border is not as simple as crossing a line. In the asiatic land he experienced huge cultural differences that opened his mind in the way that the world is bigger and complexer than he thought. In that point started Herodotus to have a capital importance for Kapuscinski because he lived the same thing and so the polish journalist found a relation between both. The rest of the book is an interesting comparison between Kapuscinski and Herodotus and the trips of both which does not let the reader indifferent!