The Wandering #1

Huge thanks to all the brilliant individuals who have so far contributed to the birthing of my book, #TheWandering. This will be the first – out of more than a dozen publications – which I’ve actually written for ‘me’, and it’s been a rather different and intricate journey. Time-consuming, too, but I am now on the home straight for a book launch early in 2022.

Below is the #backcover blurb and a cover design, based on a #Barbershop sign from a long-ago #African trip. I asked Nicola Van Aarde to create some artwork and Elinore de Lisle then combined the various components into this striking graphic. The copy below offers a glimpse into my #WanderYears as a boerseun and (nearly) electronics engineer turned #adventure photo-journalist. I really look forward to sharing this with everyone out there 🙏👌

“It was after the fall that life rebooted. A new life, really, because as I plummeted towards the rocks below, I had made peace with my old existence ending. Death does not scare me, and whatever stage would have evolved as my afterlife (if any at all) was of little concern. In my mind, it would register as a subsequent state of being anyway, and quite possibly be a stage as basic as an organic energy shift involving worms, microscopic organisms and becoming compost” …

Marais found the alternative to death way more scary. Simple mathematics indicated that breaking his back was inevitable, and never walking again would effectively end his old life in innumerable ways. But as he thrashed through thin air, he sensed a near imperceptible glitch within the time-space fabric. Gods or angels or the magic of pure science intervened and he smashed into an insignificant patch of earth amidst the sandstone ridges. He walked away, body battered and broken and bruised, but with life undeniably intact.

Three months of impaired mobility prompted Marais to look back on his ‘Wander Years’ as an award-winning photographer and journalist, in the process engaging with the many off-beat adventures which shaped his life before the fall. THE WANDERING probes a handpicked selection of these standout stories, ending in that seminal moment where he side-stepped death.

Marais captures his travels – and travails – within some of Planet Earth’s most breathtaking and remote landscapes with eloquence, poignancy and his trademark blend of self-deprecating humour. Part memoir, part travel journal and part Gonzo escapism, his prose traces an emotionally intricate journey through six decades of living life close to the bone. Why he was lucky enough to survive – and whether this leaves him with a specific purpose to fulfil in life – is the ultimate question he must answer …