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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

Borders, Bandits, And Baby Wipes – The New Book

I told you it was coming.

It seems like it’s been forever in the making, but my next book is almost here.

I’m really proud of it. I squeezed out every ounce of grit that I could into those pages to bring you along on a kind of journey we all said we’d have one day but never do. 

In this post I’m going to share with you book details, the launch date, and give you a first look at the intro of the book.

Title: Borders, Bandits, And Baby Wipes: A Big Adventure In A Tiny Car

Description: Crammed into a decrepit car completely unfit for the task, three friends inched across Europe, through the ‘Stans, and into the emptiness of the Mongol steppe, searching for adventure and a finish line. As reflective as it is informative and as white-knuckled as it is unwinding, Borders, Bandits, And Baby Wipes is not just an account of a world beyond expectations, but a discovery of our place in it.

Launch Date: January 9, 2018

Book Website: You can sign up there to get more in depth info about the book all the way up to the launch. You’ll get access to never before seen photos and videos, and you’ll also receive the “Ode To The Explorer” World Map, a traveler’s manifesto of sorts.

Instagram Campaign: If you don’t follow me on Instagram yet, do so. Leading up to the book launch I’m going to be posting a photo a day (from the journey) with a quote from the book to go with it.

It’s fitting that the book is about a long expedition because I feel like my 2017 has been a metaphorical Mongolian quest. Life has been anything but routine: got married, left a job of 10 years, moved to Portland, Oregon.

In this year of change, I realize that we’re all dancing in the dark, trying to find a life that falls in step with who we are at any given moment (more on this in a future post).

What does this mean moving forward? 

My writing is going to be branching out to more things than just the “getting things done/entrepreneur” umbrella. I want to dive into leadership, personal development, exploration and all that. I want to look at what it means to be human and have a deep, interesting life. Of course, accountability and vulnerability will always be part of my sauce.

Oh and, I own the undoubtedly catchy and fitting It would be terrible for that to go to waste. It’s only a matter of time.

But for now, enjoy the intro to the book. I hope to have you along for the rest of the ride. The world is more fascinating than you can possibly imagine.

Intro – Borders, Bandits, And Baby Wipes – Bassam Tarazi (Post Hill Press)

2:32 p.m., Kazakh – Russian Border near Shemonaika, Kazakhstan, August 11, 2014

“Are you a spy?” he repeated, without a crumb of sarcasm.

I looked down, pursed my lips, and snuck a laugh out of my nostrils. It wasn’t that I didn’t take him seriously; it was that I’d never been held to such international acclaim. I looked up at the 6-foot-2-inch, square-jawed Russian colonel flanked by two guards who, thankfully, had their machine guns pointed at the ground. The upper reaches of my unkempt beard crept far too high on my cheekbones for any modern sense of grooming, the mane on my head looked like a forgotten mangrove forest, and in between these oceans of hair was the patch of face I peered out from. The only weapon I toted was exhausted endurance.

If I were a secret agent, I had not been allocated the same wardrobe perks as James Bond. I wore Caribbean-blue, tattered flip-flops. A portion of my right big toenail was severed, and the rest of my nails were in dire need of a clipping. There were so many layers of dirt caked on my legs, insects could have fossilized in the fur. I had been wearing the same pair of hiking shorts for twenty-two days. My obnoxiously bright red shirt displayed an obscure illustration of a Mongolian warlord—perhaps Genghis Khan—with two Westerners in leather hats and the kind of goggles Chuck Yeager must have worn trying to break a land speed record, and the words “Mongol Rally” written in big letters.

I guess the colonel’s question was a fair one since at that moment, my similarly attired cohorts Brooke and Greg were standing with us over an open silver box the size of a carry-on bag that could fit into a plane’s overhead compartment. The box looked like a nuclear football, or something else a high-ranking cartel member might handcuff to his wrist while escorted by armed guards. Inside, cradled in black Styrofoam and surrounded by wires, giant batteries, a tiny camera, and a joystick, was a drone. This box had been confiscated from the back of our bumper sticker-plastered midget car—a 1997 Daihatsu Move. Its rear door remained open, displaying an assortment of duffels, packs, clothing, and goodness knows what else, looking more like a vagrant’s overflowing shopping cart than a vehicle that had transported us from London to this inhospitable Russian border.

I might as well mention that the drone was indeed mine, and that for reasons separate from that fact, Brooke and Greg were not on speaking terms with each other. They’d had a heated spat regarding driving tactics as we were leaving Kazakhstan two hours earlier. You know—the kind of drama that can erupt after 7,000 miles together, cooped up in a 42-horsepower coffin-on-wheels, with functional attributes so limited they didn’t even include basic air conditioning.

I looked around at the scenery for a minute. If I hadn’t known where I was, I would have guessed New England: soft rolling hills, lush green trees shadowing us on every side, and sunflowers earning their name in the summer splendor.


The Russian-accented query reminded me of my actual whereabouts despite the visual parallels with the northeastern United States. Once again, we were going to need some border wizardry to slalom out of this mess.

Exactly how did we end up filthy, famished, frightened, and detained at the Russian border in the middle of a vehicular odyssey taking us one-third of the way around the planet?

I’ll take responsibility for that.

Let’s start from the beginning…


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