To the Moon and Timbuktu is the story of my solo trek through Western Sahara, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Publication date is July 9, 2013. Order here on Amazon.



Inspired by the explorers such as Mary Kingsley, who walked through Gabon’s jungle in the 1890s in black wool skirts, and Isak Dinesen, who ran a farm in Kenya, I left Paris, packed my bags and hopped a plane to Africa in search of solitude and adventure. On my journey I encountered rough-and-tumble Chinese sailors, a disillusioned Venezuelan doctor working himself to death in the desert, indifferent French pensioners RVing along the Atlantic Coast, and a close-knit circle of Nigerien women who adopted me into their fold, showing me the promise of Africa’s future.


I saw a part of Africa rich in intersecting cultures, tolerant Islam and dramatic landscapes. A place whose stark beauties and warm inhabitants could instill wonder and gratitude in even the most experienced traveler.


Praise for To the Moon and Timbuktu:

“A deeply personal journey into an incredibly remote region. Sovich casts her polished journalistic eye on the anguish and sublime beauty she encounters while unflinchingly narrating her own intensely intimate journey.”—Publishers Weekly


“In her astute travel memoir, Sovich examines the dilemma so many women face: how to choose between a life of domesticity and one of adventure. An engaging, suspenseful, deeply philosophical anatomy of the process of making—and making peace with—life’s major choices.” —Rosemary Mahoney, MORE Magazine


“To the Moon and Timbuktu traverses the wide open expanses of the desert and the interior labyrinths of the travelling id with a lyrical, wonderful and heartfelt generosity of spirit. Nina Sovich is a new kind of travel writer: honest, open and brave. Here are the soaring vistas and the warm funny details that would draw us all to the open road and up-and-down adventures along the way. I loved every page.”—Wendell Steavenson, writer for The New Yorker and author of Stories I Stole


“Nina Sovich’s spare, uninhibited writing blasts through journalistic cliches. There are sentences that recall Andre Gide’s The Immoralist. Her soaring description of the Niger River in Mali is exactly as I experienced it. Her description of Mauritania’s utter desolation makes me want to go there.”—Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography


“In reading To the Moon and Timbuktu I constantly had to fight off the call to pack up my suitcases and book the next flight to Bhutan, Iceland or Laos. Nina Sovich’s luscious, intelligent and deeply philosophical memoir of a solo trip to the almost-mythical land of Timbuktu reminds me of my own wild side. She is the perfect companion to this faraway place—equal parts questing, compassionate, graceful and literary. She reminds us that it is in exploration that we find freedom, humanity and our true selves again.”—Alison Singh Gee, author of Where the Peacock Sings: A Palace, a Prince, and the Search for Home