I HAVE just been with Jan Morris in Trieste and Laurens van der Post in the Kalahari. I have been consorting with Freya Stark, Rosita Forbes and Geoffrey Moorhouse while motoring up and down the F3 from Sydney to my weekender. The Spoken Word: Travel Writers (BBC/Inbooks, $29.95) is a fantastic set of two CDs produced by the British Library and includes recordings from 12 great adventurers. Some tracks are excerpts from talks, others are from radio or public readings; but one (Laurie Lee in Spain, 1955) was never broadcast as the author was ‘‘not very happy with the result’’. Almost all have been sourced from the BBC Sound Archives and it’s amusing to see Eric Newby (pictured) and Wilfred Thesiger all but rubbing shoulders in this collection. The former, and companion Hugh Carless, were dismissed by Thesiger as ‘‘a couple of pansies’’ during an encounter on the journey Newby wrote of in A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. One hundred and fifty minutes of total escapism.