Crossing the Date Line

Adventures of a Traveling Geologist

Non-Fiction - Travel
265 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2015
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Author Biography

John Sollo (1945 - still kicking) was born in Kankakee, Illinois. His parents owned and operated a small café on the south side of town that was a favorite of the local businessmen. As a kid, he was a Little League All-Star and enjoyed golfing with his cousins, aunts and uncles. After getting a degree in geology from St. Joseph’s College in Indiana he studied engineering geology at Northern Illinois University. He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, including a year at Suwon Air Base in South Korea. After receiving an honorable discharge, he went to San Francisco where he worked as an engineering geologist for an international engineering and construction firm. For thirty-six years, he worked on a variety of projects throughout the U.S. and overseas. His first and only book, Crossing the Date Line, recounts his adventures in 15 countries.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite

Crossing the Date Line: Adventures of a Traveling Geologist by John Sollo is the true story of one man’s amazing career travelling the world as a geologist. From Algeria to Alaska and New Zealand to Papua New Guinea, his incredible experiences in fifteen countries are told in this book that is far more than a travelogue. The author, John Sollo, relates his travels with a wry sense of humour that makes the characters he meets and the experiences he goes through almost seem fictional, except they really could not be imagined. Whilst his job might have seemed exotic and enviable, he manages to convey a lot more as he recounts his various journeys. The descriptions of the people, the cultures, the countries, and the landscapes – with a little bit of geology thrown in – are captivating. The author has included some photographs which give credence to his incredible journeys.

From huge snakes to grizzly bears to a pack of wild dogs, it seems his life and career were far from boring and perhaps might have been a job many would dream of, and so I read avidly to share his experiences. John Sollo writes well and fluently, and this book is definitely a page-turner. Having breathlessly read through one chapter, I couldn’t wait to start the next. For anyone with a desire to travel, this book is a must-read. It will either encourage you to take the first step, or convince you to sit in front of the fire and read about other people’s experiences. Crossing the Date Line is exciting and awe-inspiring, but in a way it also makes you thankful you know who you are going to be meeting when you go to work the next day.

Jack Magnus

Crossing the Date Line: Adventures of a Traveling Geologist is a memoir written by John Sollo. Sollo's good marks in his introductory historical geology class in college fired up a growing interest in the subject. He later graduated with a degree in engineering geology. His career choice gave him the opportunities to travel around the world while working on assessment and evaluation assignments for dams, tunnels and other projects. While he spent some time in South America, namely Chile, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela, the bulk of his projects took him to various parts of Asia, including Nepal, New Zealand and Africa. Sollo worked as a traveling geologist for 36 years.

John Sollo's memoir, Crossing the Date Line: Adventures of a Traveling Geologist, is a unique and esoteric collection of travel essays. Unlike the typical travel journal, Sollo's stays in foreign climes are well off the beaten track. The hotels were often dingy, dank and lacking the amenities most tourists take for granted, and the food offerings sometimes had the author dreaming of a Big Mac. I love travel memoirs and travelogues, and was fascinated by Sollo's tales of his various travel adventures. I especially enjoyed the chapters covering his Peruvian and South American assignments, the time he and his wife spent in Nepal, and his experiences in Laos. The photographs Sollo concludes each chapter with are marvelous and help the reader get even more involved with the places visited and the lives Sollo touched during his travels. While he sometimes seems to complain about the primitive conditions and drab airports, the author's exuberance, curiosity and love of adventure shine through in each of these tales. Crossing the Date Line: Adventures of a Traveling Geologist will delight armchair adventurers, and it is highly recommended.

Jessyca Garcia

At first glance I was not sure I would enjoy Crossing the Date Line: Adventures of a Traveling Geologist by John Sollo. I thought the book might be a little boring, and only about what Sollo’s job function was around the world. I was wrong because this book was actually very good. I never knew that geologists lead such an adventurous life.

John Sollo brings his book Crossing the Date Line to life with his descriptive details and facts about the places he has been. The book is beautifully laid out. Each chapter is a different country or state that Sollo has worked in as a geologist. The chapter is then filled with details about his adventures and facts involving that place. My favorite experience of Sollo’s was when, in Alaska, he woke up next to a black bear that happened to be in his cabin. At the end of each chapter, Sollo includes a few pictures showing what and who he has talked about. The book is also educational. I learned that the country with the most languages spoken in it is Papua New Guinea.

After reading Crossing the Date Line, I definitely have more respect for geologists. I knew their job was important, but I never realized that they get to travel everywhere and lead an adventurous life. I personally could never deal with the slimy creatures Sollo has encountered, not to mention the numerous bugs. I like that Sollo got to know the locals in the countries and saw how they really live. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to travel.