We are pleased to announce the recent release of a book by one of Howler’s own periodic contributors, Ben Harris.

(See the latest example in this e-magazine issue, Hope for the Humpbacks and More Endangered Whales.)

The Detour: Turning the Tide chronicles the author’s continent-spanning adventure taking the long way home to England from Thailand, where one of the worst natural disasters in modern history had changed his life forever. In the wake of that tsunami’s devastation on December 26, 2004, Harris embarked on a trek that ultimately took him through 11 countries over the course of eight months, unaided by a GPS, mobile phone or back-up plan.

The book’s overview text invites readers to follow 19-year-old Ben “through the back door of China, across the forbidden plains of Tibet, meet the opium smugglers of Afghanistan and the traders in Iran … 16,000 miles later to the White Cliffs of Dover.”

Those 16,000 miles are said to exclude the occasional detour or missed direction, all logged in his fascinating story.


Pivotal chance encounters

Book reviewer Tom Feiling, himself a published author (Short Walks in Bogotá), describes the relatable attributes of Harris’s writing. “What comes through most clearly is the sheer excitement of traveling in SE Asia when you’re young, and seeing so many amazing things for the first time. This is a great account of the traveler’s life, in which random encounters become critical junctures and you find yourself somewhere unfamiliar every day.” 

If the Howler article byline Ben Harris sounds familiar, some readers may recall his articles dating back to 2017 on eco-conscious topics, notably protecting ocean life from illegal poachers and plastic pollution. All may be found online at

Ben’s interest in ocean conservation has been informed and inspired by his diving career, in posts taking him all over the world, and in volunteer roles with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Parley for the Oceans. But his adventurous spirit goes back much further to the days when he rejected the notion of a university education or traditional profession. The desire to “get on with life as soon as possible” found him leaving school at 16 to become a stuntman, then changing his mind after doing research and opting for diving instead.

Meanwhile, the epic 2005 journey Harris writes about in The Detour: Turning the Tide reinforced for him that “happiness and contentment came from exploring new places and living free.”

Read more about Ben on the Troop page <insert page link> of this e-magazine, where he is our Featured Contributor.

Find out how to order The Detour: Turning the Tide by clicking this Barnes & Noble link.

Howler Writer Publishes Book About Life-Changing Post-Tsunami Trek

Boat on the river Ganges in India

Mules carrying goods through fields of marijuana is also taken in Nepal in lowlands

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