Friday, May 24, 2024

Crossed off the Map: Travels in Bolivia

Blending travel writing, history and reportage, Crossed off the Map journeys from the Andes to the Amazon to explore Bolivia’s turbulent past and contemporary challenges.

It tells the story of the country’s profound and unexpected influence on the wider world over the last 500 years – fragments of history largely forgotten beyond its borders. Once home to one of the wealthiest cities on Earth, Bolivia kickstarted globalisation, helped to power Europe’s economic growth and trigger dynastic collapse in China, and played host to everyone from Che Guevara to Butch Cassidy.

The book also explores how ordinary Bolivians in and around the world’s highest city, largest salt flat, richest silver mine and most biodiverse national park are coping with some of the touchstone issues of the 21st century: the climate emergency, populism, mass migration, indigenous rights, national identity, rapid urbanisation, and the ‘war on drugs’.

In its pages, award-winning journalist and travel writer Shafik Meghji illuminates the dramatic landscapes, distinct cultures and diverse peoples of a country that – in the words of one interviewee – ‘was the building block of the modern world, but is now lost in time’.

Monisha Crossed Off The Map Travels in Bolivia Shafik Meghji

Praise for 'Crossed off the Map'

‘Meghji skilfully unveils the layers of this complex society with candour and a warm curiosity. It makes you want to get on the next flight to Bolivia.’
– Noo Saro-Wiwa, author of Looking for Transwonderland

‘Shafik Meghji is a natural travel writer with a ready mastery of history, anecdote and atmosphere, and Crossed off the Map is the best sort of travel book – an informed and informative portrait of Bolivia that doubles as a vicarious journey for readers on an epic scale, through high mountains, across the altiplano and into deep tropical forests.’
– Tim Hannigan, author of The Travel Writing Tribe

‘A thoroughly engrossing and informative look at a clearly underappreciated part of the world. I now want to read it all again… and explore Bolivia for myself.’
– Lyn Hughes, founding editor of Wanderlust

Crossed off the Map is an amazing book. I’ve discovered so much more of my own country through it. It makes you realise the wonder of Bolivia.’
– Sergio Mendoza, journalist for La Nube and Bloomberg News

About the author

Shafik Meghji

Shafik Meghji is an award-winning travel writer, journalist and author based in South London. Specialising in Latin America and South Asia, he has co-authored more than 40 guidebooks for Rough Guides and DK Eyewitness, and writes for BBC Travel, Wanderlust and Lonely Planet, among others. He is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Who is the project for?

  • Students and academics working in disciplines such as geography, development studies, anthropology, Latin American Studies, and others.
  • Journalists, NGOs, and businesses doing work in the region, particularly on mining and other extractive industries.
  • Activists, campaigners, and members of social movements everywhere who wish to learn from the Latin American experience.
  • Investors concerned with understanding what their money is used for.
  • Social movements and activists in Latin America, so they can link up and share their experiences.

Launch event

Shafik will be giving a talk about Crossed off the Map at Stanfords Travel bookshop in London on 17 May. 

Crossed Off The Map in the press

The i | ‘Visit as soon as you can’: Why the world’s biggest salt flat in Bolivia will be peppered with change

While the Salar’s lithium reserves are worth billions of dollars, many fear that extracting them will threaten the region’s fragile ecosystems and communities

National Geographic | Nine of the best travel books for 2022

We round up the top titles hitting the shelves this season, from travel memoirs and guidebooks to nature writing and fiction with a firm sense of place.

The Washington Post | Eight new travel books to read on vacation this summer

A great travel read is an ideal companion for warm-weather vacation time, whether you’re beach-bound or staying home. After all, books are fellow travelers on demand: In their company, you can catch vicarious thrills without budging from your preferred mix of sun and shade. And this year has brought a fresh crop of travel writing worth exploring, tales that include illustrated Siberian journeys, brooding mysteries and continent-hopping memoirs.

Geographical Magazine | Old and new in El Alto, Bolivia’s highest city

Situated above La Paz, El Alto is Bolivia’s youngest and highest city, a place where the past and the future collide.

Wanderlust | The best travel books of 2022 (so far)

We may only be a few months into the year, but there is plenty of travel inspiration to be soaked up from the pages of these latest releases...

Pilgrim House | Crossed Off The Map review

In ten enthralling chapters, Shafik Meghji puts Bolivia back on the map and guides the reader through its historical, cultural, and geographical terrain.


From the biggest myth in travel writing to the dream destination he hasn’t yet seen, author Shafik Meghji tells us about the travel that changed him.

LatinoLife | Crossed Off the Map: A Writer Beguiled by Bolivia

Since leaving a desk job at the Evening Standard 15 years ago, Shafik Meghji has authored and co-authored over 40 guidebooks and visited all seven continents, but when it came to his first full-length travel narrative it was Bolivia that offered him "a story that was too good not to tell". Russell Maddicks talks to the award-winning travel writer about a book that blends his personal experiences as he journeys from the Andes to the Amazon with key events from more than 1,000 years of Bolivia's tumultuous story.

Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Where to Go Podcast | Bolivia, India and Antarctica

In an episode certain to inspire your inner adventurer, travel writer Shafik Meghji returns to the podcast to talk about Bolivia – the subject of his new book – as well as his adventures in India and Antarctica. Tune in for incredible landscapes and high-altitude football pitches in Bolivia, remote Buddhist monasteries and erotic carvings in India, plus polar plunges and penguin surveys in Antarctica!

Armchair Explorer | Crossed Off the Map: Bolivia from the Andes to the Amazon with Travel Writer Shafik Meghji

Follow travel writer Shafik Meghji from the Andes to the Amazon on a journey across one of Latin America’s most spectacular countries – Bolivia.

Destination Eat Drink | Crossed Off The Map: Travels In Bolivia with Shafik Meghji

We’re back in Bolivia with Shafik Meghji, author of Crossed Off The Map: Travels In Bolivia. Shafik tells me about messy donuts doused in syrup, winemaking nuns, and a twist on empanadas. And, Shafik talks about all the great street food in Bolivia. Plus, we broach the controversial subject of coca.

#FiveDesiFaves: Shafik Meghji shares the desi books that have influenced his travel writing

Today, in the #FiveDesiFaves segment, we have Shafik Meghji, who has a new book out: Crossed off the Map: Travels in Bolivia. He discusses the five desi books that have influenced and inspired his work. Spanning travel, science writing, and fiction, these are by Pico Iyer, Sonia Shah, Monisha Rajesh, Tharik Hussain, and Arundhati Roy.

Wanderlust reader event: From the Andes to the Amazon: Travels in Bolivia

Wanderlust's Lyn Hughes speaks to award-winning writer and author Shafik Meghji about his book Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia.

Deskbound Traveller | New for 2022: forthcoming books on travel and place.

Journeys of explorers, exiles and refugees; portraits of Jerusalem, Berlin and the Shetland Islands: these are some of the books on travel and place coming in 2022…

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The plunder of Bolivian gold

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Voz crossed off the map shafik meghji latin america bureau
Blending travel writing, history and reportage, Crossed Off The Map journeys from the Andes to the Amazon to explore Bolivia’s turbulent past and contemporary challenges.

70s Cuba and Bolivia on film

The 1960s and ‘70s were a period of revolution, anti-imperialist struggle, and nation-building. Two films which represent and analyse this period in Latin America are Yawar Mallku (Blood of the Condor) and De cierta manera (One Way or Another).

Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia

Blending travel writing, history and reportage, Shafik Meghji's Crossed Off The Map journeys from the Andes to the Amazon to explore Bolivia’s turbulent past and contemporary challenges.

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