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Only Eight Thousand More Miles To Ride

In 2009 my teenage son Sam and I set off to cycle from the west of Ireland to Japan. It had been Sam’s boyhood dream. We’ll train on the way, we said. This photo was taken in Eastern Turkey early one morning. It rained and we’d slept badly overnight in a hovel above a chai cafe that was as dark and filthy as a ship’s boiler room. Leaving Caldiran I snapped this photo of Sam ahead of me as we headed nervously into the wilds of Kurdistan. Used for the cover of our book “Long Road, Hard Lessons”.


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Mark Swain was born in Singapore in 1958, where his father was stationed in the RAF. He has lived in many countries, and as a young man found it hard to break the habit of a nomadic life, spending a great deal of his youth hitchhiking around Europe.With a low boredom threshold, Mark has had dozens of jobs and quite a few careers, but only one wife. Studying Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art, he ran off and joined the Army in search of adventure. Later he found himself travelling the world on the QE2 as a silver-service waiter and caught up in a war. This life has given him plenty of source material and inspiration for writing.Mark particularly enjoys the Short Story form, admiring American short story writers such as Raymond Carver, Richard Brautigan and Richard Ford as well as classic short story writers Franz Kafka and Anton Chekov. He is also a great admirer of George Orwell, John Steinbeck, Norman Maclean, Albert Camus and Jonathan Raban. Two collections of Mark's own short stories - including the award winning story 'Special Treatment' - have been released by his UK publisher, Tinderbox Publishing Ltd along with the bestselling "Long Road, Hard Lessons" a non-fiction book with photographs and maps about a 10,000-mile life-changing cycle journey he made with his teenage son from Ireland to Japan.Shoehorned into his busy life, Mark enjoys film, motorcycling, long-board surfing, cycle touring, English micro-pubs, growing vegetables, travelling in his VW Camper-van, drawing, painting and sculpture. He is at home in England, but is constantly travels.



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