In 2008, journalist Carl Hoffman embarked on a five-month trip using modes of transportation that most leisure travelers would avoid at all costs but that many people around the planet board every day, for his new book "The Lunatic Express."
Hoffman recently talked with CNN.com about his quest. The following is an excerpt of that interview.
CNN: Did you ever fear for your life?
Hoffman: Never directly. In Afghanistan, I was kind of nervous, [but] the longer I was there, the less scared of it I got, because you start to understand what the situation is.
CNN: How do you book a hotel in Kabul? Do you just go online?
Hoffman: You sure can.
The security is very tight; there are multiple walls and gates and people with machine guns guarding you. It was expensive and a big target. I actually moved to a much smaller local hotel that had much less security but was also much less of a target and much cheaper.
CNN: In Kabul, you met a French woman who has been traveling to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen by herself. How does she do that?
Hoffman: She just does it. The world is more available than we like to think it is here. She pulls on an abaya. She dresses in black and a head scarf and puts a knife in her bag. In Yemen, she said, she carried a little pistol.