Introducing David Gordon, CEO of The Book Bus

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with registered charity, The Book Bus. 

Founded in 2008 by publisher Tom Maschler, and now run by former overland travel expert David Gordon, The Book Bus operates a fleet of buses in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador, providing reading schemes for schools in these countries. The charity provides reading material for children of all ages and has both local and international volunteers to help support reading sessions and library workshops with schools in regions where literacy is not the forefront. Each bus is named after a famous children’s book character and is designed by famed illustrator and patron to the charity, Quentin Blake. 

Read more about David below: 

I grew up in Belfast where I developed a passion for adventure from boyhood trips to the Mountains of Mourne and the beaches of Donegal, the inevitable bite from the travel bug came from family holidays to France in a rusty old campervan and when Exodus Expeditions offered me a job driving their overland truck in Peru I was up and gone within 2 weeks. That was 1986, back then the roads weren’t great, communications were poor and keeping your truck roadworthy meant picking up Spanish as quickly as picking up spanners. 

My first overlanding expedition took me and 25 others over the Andes, across Patagonia and through the Amazon in a rattling old Bedford truck – a massive six-month circuit of South America which served as a great apprenticeship in the art of travel; it took us off the tourist trail and exposed us to some of the harsh realities of life in those far off countries. I subsequently explored Asia in similar style on an expedition from Kathmandu to London and then returned to South America for a further mix of lofty mountains, Inca trails, Patagonian ice and lazy days on Amazon ferries. Operating under my own banner as “Overland Latin America” I continued to explore the hidden gems of the continent and eke out a living sharing them with those brave enough to join me. In 2001 and 15 years after my first taste of overlanding I brought my final expedition across South America and trundled into my base in Quito for the last time.

After all those years on the road, I now consider travel as a huge privilege, it provides a great education through priceless insights into life from a huge variety of perspectives. Travel is truly mind-broadening stuff. Having hung up my steering wheel, I was keen to explore how adventure travel could benefit host communities in the countries where people like me had spent years in the pursuit of adventure. Working with VentureCo Worldwide I set up a series of community projects and partnerships first in Ecuador and then in Peru, India, Cambodia, Belize and East Africa. The idea was to channel the energy and enthusiasm of adventure travellers in such a way to create positive relationships between visitors and hosts. From these experiences came the opportunity to deliver an old bus packed with books from London to Zambia. The Book Bus Foundation had been set up by retired publisher Tom Maschler in 2006 to bring the joy of reading to children in Africa and he needed someone to set up the project in Lusaka. Mixing trucks with books to spread knowledge and education soon became my new driving force in life and now, more than 10 years later the Book Bus has a fleet of 5 vehicles working with schools and libraries across Zambia. In 2020 our mobile literacy project will be supporting 40 schools by providing classroom libraries, teacher training and reading sessions for over 6,000 children.

David Gordon of The Book Bus

Discover more about The Book Bus here.

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