Dom Joly was born in Beirut and lived there until he was eighteen. He lived through the civil war, went to school with Osama Bin Laden, and learned to ski and speak French and Arabic. At the age of seven he was sent to an English boarding school, where he would spend term times before returning to his war-torn home. It was a schizophrenic existence. Dom’s parents divorced when he was eighteen and he moved permanently to the UK, becoming a diplomat, a political journalist and then famous as a man who dressed as a giant squirrel. He has only been back to Lebanon twice since.
Then he read about an attempt to encourage tourism in this long-suffering country. The Lebanon Mountain Trail. This is a hiking trail that runs from the Syrian border in the north of Lebanon, along the spine of the country’s mountain range all the way to the Israeli border in the south. The trail takes thirty days to complete.
Dom immediately decided that he must hike the trail in 2018, the year of his fiftieth birthday, and invited two friends along. Essentially this is a bonding adventure that just so happens to take place right in the middle of the most important geopolitical region of our times.
The Hezbollah Hiking Club is a funny, heart-warming travel book full of insight into the Middle East, religion, friendship and growing old disgracefully . . .
It’s three men on a camel . . . without the camel.