Idiotic Praise

Praise For “The Idiot and the Odyssey: Walking the Mediterranean”

“From the turquoise-tinted water and zillion dollar yachts of Saint-Tropez to the intrigue of the Kasbah in Tangier, Joel Stratte-McClure takes the reader on a delightful spiritual journey around the Mediterranean that is filled with nudists and Buddhists, the obscenely chic and the exotic. The Idiot and the Odyssey is such a terrific antidote to the middle age melancholia that if Homer could do a sequel, Odysseus would probably jump ship to join Stratte-McClure’s MedTrek instead.” — Craig Unger, Vanity Fair contributing editor, author of “The Fall of the House of Bush” and Fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law

“Joel Stratte-McClure’s didactic but sensitive voice simultaneously describes and contemplates the Mediterranean landscape he traverses and the individuals who inhabit it. He combines a knowledgeable guide’s eye of historic and cultural detail with a tourist’s awe of the fascinating scenery and people. Homer would love it!” — Vince Tomasso, Classics Department, Stanford University

“Homer and Lao Tsu may be the author’s go-to guys, but as I read this enchanting book I was reminded of Cervantes. The humorous adventures, the piquant observations, the dreamlike buoyancy of memories jostled by travel -Joel Stratte-McClure is Don Quixote with his head screwed on right.” — Jeff Wheelwright, Author of “The Irritable Heart: The Medical Mystery of the Gulf War”

“Like travel writer Paul Theroux’s Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific, journalist Joel Stratte-McClure’s The Idiot and the Odyssey invites us along on a wonderfully entertaining pilgrimage around a legendary sea, undertaken by a recently-divorced middle-aged man hunting for fresh adventure, renewal and the meaning of life. The fleet-footed McClure finds his share of all three, and a dream experience of a lifetime. It’s worth every ebullient, blistering step!” — Tom Moore, editor-in-chief, Reader’s Digest Australia

“Joel Stratte-McClure’s The Idiot and the Odyssey is a wonderful book. By turns whimsical and profound – and more than occasionally laugh-out-loud funny – it defies all the conventions. It is at once an adventure story, a work of history, a philosophical treatise and an unflinchingly honest memoir.” — Harry Stein, screenwriter and author of “The Girl Watchers Club: Lessons from the Battlefields of Life”

“The whimsical author, a serial hiker in the midst of a mid-life crisis, embarks on an epic undertaking with determination, a sack full of Homeric quotes and Buddhist wisdom. You’ll be glad you came along on a journey of discovery that is both entertaining and inspirational. Onward!” — Tony Rocca, author of “Catching Fireflies”

“Stratte-McClure goes way beyond sharing an amazing personal adventure with us. He delivers an endless stream of wit and wisdom with such selfless honesty that we are compelled into self-examination. Every stressed corporate exec should read this! His creative energy is infectious and guaranteed to inspire innovation. Life changing!” — Mitch Waite, founder and creative director, IntuThink

“In this midlife ‘coming of age’ quest, we’re invited to join Stratte-McClure on his extraordinary journey – trekking the Mediterranean through each creek and cranny as he weaves his observations of the physical world with his own inner contemplations. Readers are treated to meanderings filled with encounters, adventures and mishaps amidst a backdrop of musings abundant with wit and wisdom. An amazing and amusing read!” — Elizabeth Billhardt, photographer/author of “Coastal Pleasures: Perusing the French Coastline”

“With the Mediterranean as his muse, Joel Stratte-McClure embarks on travels intended not only to broaden the mind, but also to serve as a springboard for reconnecting with the wisdom of the past. An Odyssey that meanders from Greek philosophers to personal demons, a reflective, amusing and open-minded attempt to reconstrue existential questions we ask at the age of 20, some thirty years on.” — Jill Harry, editor of New Riviera Magazine

“Contemplative and entertaining, The Idiot traverses a very contemporary Mediterranean shoreline – though Greek gods and goddesses pop up along the way. Much more than a guidebook, Stratte-McClure’s tale is saturated with history and humour. This mid-life meditation will appeal to adventurers and armchair travellers alike.” — Linda Phillips Ashour, author of “Speaking in Tongues”

“Like slow food, the Herculean hike around the Mediterranean by Joel Stratte-McClure – no idiot, for sure – seems an improbable ambition. Yet, inspired by Odysseus, Chinese philosophy and his own mid-life crises, the account of his adventures is a triumph of travel writing – entertaining, witty, perceptive and informative. An enchanting read.” — Marion Kaplan, photojournalist/author of “Focus Africa” and “The Portuguese – The Land and Its People”

“Joel Stratte-McClure maintains it would be unreasonable to think anyone can achieve Nirvana after walking less than 5000 kilometres. Wrong! I felt enlightened from the first page to the last of this inspiring and motivating book as I faithfully accompanied the author on every step and stumble of his remarkable journey. And it’s a delight to see pesky French women finally taken off their pedestal.” — Margaret Kemp, editor at large/critic of Bonjour Paris

The Idiot and the Odyssey mixes an enjoyable walk with a little Greek mythology in a breathtakingly beautiful part of Europe. It encouraged me to get off the golf course and out of the pool to explore by foot a land steeped in history and natural beauty. I even felt that Bogart, the author’s yellow Labrador, was there in spirit.” — Des Baum, low-handicap golfer, master swimmer and founder/president of Covico (Antibes, France)

“If, as the Greek physician Hippocrates said, ‘Walking is man’s best medicine,’ then Joel Stratte-McClure’s book proves it. Everyone who accompanies him will be healthier in mind and spirit. Slow down and read The Idiot and the Odyssey.” — Alex Belida, media critic, former foreign correspondent for the Voice of America and author of “Regrets Only: An Africa Journal”

“Perhaps our perception of the world does not depend on the places we visit but the gait of our travelling. I never thought that, in an era obsessed with speed and technology, somebody could thrill me with his amusing observations, experiences and ruminations while tracing on foot the same route I travelled by car in 1968 to visit my aging grandfather at the other end of the Spanish coast. This is the best guide to the Mediterranean since Homer’s The Odyssey and as informative as James Michener’s Iberia.” — Princess Beatriz de Orleans Borbón from Spain.

“An amazing read. With each step we learn more about life as we do not necessarily know it. We forget about the physical strength defined in the author’s trek and are captivated by his soul, which is defined with every step of the way.” — Tevia Celli, founder and owner, Body & Soul Workout and The Daily Core (West Hollywood, California)

“This amazing account of human stamina and daring do, where mythological references merge with the author’s experiences, creates a brilliant correspondence between past and present. Woven seamlessly in this tale are courage, curiosity and personal reflection, often against a historical or cultural context that shuns all pretence. The trek illuminates the human adventure, comprehension of the self and understanding of ‘the other’.” — Constantine Christofides, Professor at the University of Washington and the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France.

“This wonderful story of a journey through a fascinating part of the world, through time and history, is best of all a story of people. I learned much about the Mediterranean that was new to me and it gave me a new vision of the coast of France that I thought I knew so well.” —Russ Collins, founder and editor,

“I always knew Joel could tell a good story, but this is a real feat (although I don’t quite remember the Moroccan incident in 1970 as he does). As a bookseller, I’m already looking forward to the next volume.” — Henrietta Dax, owner of Clarke’s Bookshop (Cape Town, South Africa)

“A remarkable book that is equal parts travel guide, history book and charming memoir. Beautifully written, The Idiot and the Odyssey is a siren song to our peripatetic Australian psyche. Heracles would be ever so proud!” — Susie Dobson, president, Australians in Film (Hollywood, California)

“Reminiscent of The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux but on foot, this is a book you can savour, take to bed and roll around in your mind to learn about life’s journey. Packed with information, loaded with humorous encounters, stuffed with life-changing revelations, this meandering walk is worth living vicariously. A great gift to inspire employees, friends and wives.” — Charles Eisenhour, commercial director, Pepe Jeans (London)

“Having revelled in the sun, storms and special characters of the Mediterranean, I can attest to Stratte-McClure’s insightful clarity. Without being tedious or sanctimonious, he introduces people and places as stereotypical, fantastic and ridiculous as could only be true in the Mediterranean. From one audacious and adventurous minga to another, I compliment him on his stable stride in an unstable but captivating region.” — Ethan Gelber, Lonely Planet author and president of BikeAbout the Mediterranean

“A great book. Concept clearly explained, curiosity quickly alerted, classical mythology very effectively utilised with a clarity that will hold the ignorant as well as the cognoscenti. And light of touch as well as erudite.” — Michael Knipe, former foreign correspondent of The Times of London

“A brave and unique story from a naturally talented writer, weaving with commendable, self-deprecating humour hard-won lessons drawn from the author’s colourful life, with those gained on this amazing hike around the Mediterranean, all of it laced with erudite seams of wisdom from Homer’s The Odyssey. This deserves a prize for originality and sheer daring.” — Francis O’Hara, author of “Be My Guest”

“Reading The Idiot and the Odyssey provides a hugely entertaining perspective of the world’s oldest and greatest journey, conjured millennia ago by Homer.The book is a reminder that the Mediterranean, even today, is a wild and fascinating place.” — Tony Perrottet, author of “Route 66 AD: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists”

“Reading The Idiot and the Odyssey made my feet hurt but my imagination soar. It sparked a long-dormant wanderlust that inspired me to hastily stuff a backpack and head for the Mediterranean. Then practicality set in and I realised the task is far too Herculean for a mere mortal. Luckily Joel Stratte- McClure, who must have been infused with the power of the gods, was up to the challenge and let me vicariously feel like an adventurer through his aweinspiring exploits.” — Adam Rifkin, writer/director, (Look, Detroit Rock City, Mousehunt)

“This book puts the soul into walking, capturing the spirit of place and enabling you to feel that you are on every step of this adventurous journey. It provides real insights to the people, the culture and lifestyle found around the shores of the Mediterranean. Inspiring as it makes travel fun.” —Peter Robinson, radio personality and editor of San Francisco Books & Travel

“The brazen tale of this eccentric author smacks of attitude both audacious and foolhardy, yet he emerges, through his hilarity and touching humanness, wiser and more virtuous. A marvellous narration, one breathing ancient literature into a modern and real theatre, it connects myth with geography, history with legend and life-affirming purpose with the old bugaboo, the concept of impossible Quest. I’m so confident that The Idiot and the Odyssey will become a classic that it’s already required reading for my advance placement students.” — Gerald Rodgers, English curriculum coordinator, Santa Maria High School District (California)

“A delightful, soulful memoir-cum-guide of the birthplace of modern civilisation. Veteran journalist Stratte-McClure takes readers along the sometimes rugged and often-urban coastline of the Mediterranean and, with his well-honed reporting skills, peppers the adventure with wise words from our greatest philosophers, history lessons of coastline sites, colourful descriptions of the characters he meets and tales of his own rugged life. It makes you want to put on your hiking boots and hit the path yourself. In search of what? As Stratte- McClure understands more clearly with each day of his years long trek, that is the eternal question.” — Dana Thomas, former Newsweek correspondent and author of “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster”

“Joel’s fascinating account of his trek round the Mediterranean foreshores from Monaco to Morocco is part wry observation, part history, and part rumination and reflection. It makes you wish you could have been with him as he walked.” — Lucienne Joy, former radio announcer and author of “Ulterior Motives”