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Tale of 1950s Epic Overland Expedition Reaches Bookshelves


September 04, 2008, Press Dispensary. 'The Impossible Takes a Little Longer', an astonishing story of one man’s 40,000-mile journey from London to Australia and back, is now available from And this is no ordinary traveller’s tale – the book is being published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Edis Expedition across three continents by land rover, and his struggle for survival in deserts, snowdrifts, swamps and war-zones – long before adventure travel became a packaged experience.

Eric Edis, described as a real life Indiana Jones, set out from London on October 28 in 1957 with a team of 10 men and five women to attempt the overland journey across the world and back. Only one woman and one vehicle made it with him as far as Australia, as the harshness of the expedition took its toll. On the road for 18 months and five days, Edis finally arrived back on home ground 0n March 21, 1959, having endured and achieved more than the most intrepid Rider Haggard hero.

From the jungles of Thailand and Burma to the arid Australian desert and the frozen wastelands of Afghanistan, Edis faced a series of setbacks straight out of an adventure movie: cannibals, crooked officials, minefields and blood-sucking leeches. Crossing gruelling, often uncharted territory, he was helped on his way by an unlikely collection of characters including armed Mujahadeen fighters, a Naga head hunting tribe, the captain of an oil tanker bound for Australia and even an elephant, which pulled his Land Rover out of a swamp it had been stuck in for two days.

A quintessential world explorer, Edis employed a mix of determination, recklessness and ingenuity to complete his journey. To this day, he lays claim to being the only person who has successfully traversed Burma's famous Ledo/Stilwell Road - closed to outsiders since the end of World War II - in both directions, a route which has frustrated expeditions ever since. A legendary sign on the Ledo road, erected by the British army, was recovered by Edis and now stands in the Imperial War Museum in London.

Eric Edis says: “It may be 50 years ago, but every moment of the expedition is etched in my memory – whether it was diverting embassy officials to steal visa stamps, sucking out scorpion poison or being dragged over borders by an old British Bren-Gun carrier.

“And, on the occasions when we found ourselves with what seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle, a cry would go up to 'put the kettle on’. A cup of tea would help us think clearly and come up with an answer to whatever problem the journey had thrown at us. Writing this book has been the final frontier of my epic adventure – once again helped along the way by many a cup of tea!”

The book relays Edis’s extraordinary expedition with great enthusiasm and humour. Eminently readable, it is available and retails at £13.99 GBP. There is a colour version available too.

Black and white and colour photographs of the expedition are available to journalists and editors on request.

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Notes for editors
Eric Edis served nearly five years in the RAF and trained as an air gunner before undertaking his expedition, which was planned on scraps of paper during a long spell in hospital. He has subsequently driven to India and back on three occasions.

Eric Edis now lives in Woodford Green, Essex.

For further information, please contact:
Eric Edis, author
The Impossible Takes a Little Longer
Tel: 020 8527 1037

Media contacts

Eric Edis, author
Tel: 020 8527 1037