QUESTS by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (Malaysia)



Quests: Searching for Heroes, Scoundrels, Star-Gazers, and a Mermaid
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (Malaysia 1969-71)
Explorer’s Eyes Press
May 2024
276 pages
$17.95 (Paperback)



Quests are the backbone of all the great fables. And they are key elements in leading a satisfying and enriching life.

This volume of 24 quests — at times audacious, touching, and ridiculous — are some highlights of Paul Spencer Sochaczewski’s purposeful investigative travel.

  • seeks out, and meets, a female vampire ghost in Borneo who wants to follow him home
  • is invited on a date by the Mermaid Queen of Java
  • interviews the last elephant hunter of Vietnam
  • travels to meet the humble villager in Laos who captured a precious white elephant that was then hijacked by the country’s First Lady
  • visits the purported “lost Jews” of an isolated Indonesian island
  • meets a homeless Hawaiian-wannabe Chinese emperor
  • conducts the first comparative taste test of civet-dung coffee
  • investigates his own family’s history and finds one aunt from Transylvania who told bold, self-serving, perfectly understandable lies about her background

“Within each of us lies the power to transcend our limitations and shape our own destiny. It is not the size or scope of the quest that matters, but the courage and conviction with which we embark upon it. This is why Quests, the new book by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, is so vital, important, and inspirational.”

— Richard Bangs, co-founder of Sobek Expeditions, author of The Art of Living Dangerously


Paul Spencer Sochaczewsk (Malaysia 1969-71)

Paul Sochaczewski’s highly acclaimed nonfiction books of personal travel include the five-volume Curious Encounters of the Human Kind series, An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles, The Sultan and the Mermaid Queen, Soul of the Tiger (with Jeff McNeely), and Searching for Ganesha.

Gary Braver, bestselling author of Tunnel Vision, said Paul’s work is “in the great tradition of Asian reporting. The humanity of Somerset Maugham, the adventure of Joseph Conrad, the perception of Paul Theroux, and a self-effacing voice uniquely his own.” Paul’s handbook for people who want to write their personal stories, Share Your Journey, is based on the personal writing workshops he runs in more than 20 countries. Redheads and EarthLove are his eco-thrillers, set in the rainforest of a mythical sultanate in Borneo.

Paul is an American writer (born in Brooklyn, New York), writing coach, conservationist, and communications advisor to international non-governmental organizations. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland, and has lived and worked in more than 80 countries, including long stints in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Paul served in the United States Peace Corps from 1969 to 1971, working as an education advisor in Sarawak, Malaysia. This exposure to Asia informed his writing, and as a result most of his work has a Southeast Asian theme. He was also founding creative director of J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Indonesia and Singapore.

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