As a self-confessed 'full-time citizen of nowhere', Pico Iyer can perhaps take a more objective view of the world than most. Born of Indian parents and educated in England, he pursued his writing career in the US and now lives in rural Nara with a Japanese girlfriend who speaks little English. In his The Global Soul (Alfed R Knopf $170), Iyer has misgivings about the hi-tech invasion and its aim to turn the world into a global village ('more and more 'connections' . . . fewer and fewer in the classic human sense') but he admits he must use the very innovations he distrusts to keep in touch with his publishers. As a much travelled 'Global Soul', having grown up in three cultures, none of them fully his own, he takes us on a thought-provoking journey. In Hong Kong, a friend gives him so many numbers where he can be contacted, 'they left no room in my address book for his name'. On to Canada, Britain and Japan. In India, his parents' generation imagined England a land of poets and civil servants of Mountbatten's calibre. To Iyer, 'it was union strikes and fish and chips and the sound of broken glass when the pubs closed . . .' Patrick Symmes, in Chasing Che (Vintage Books $104) adopts the 'in the footsteps of . . .' genre. His subject is people's champion Che Guevara, a legend for his role in the Cuban revolution of 1959, who died fighting with the peasants in Bolivia in 1967. Long before his rise to fame as a Marxist revolutionary, in 1952 Che started to quench his thirst for adventure by taking a gruelling motor bike journey through South America. Symmes sets off from Buenos Aires on his own bike intending to follow Che's trail. But more than 40 years on, that trail has almost disappeared. 'The maps showed more roads, on straighter routes, in better conditions and everything . . . had improved,' writes Symmes. Wasn't this journey doomed then, before it started? He takes his motorbike through Patagonia, up the coast of Chile, into Peru and on to Bolivia, often making references to Che's diary of that 1952 journey. It's hardly a memorable journey, and you'd have to be a Che fanatic to find this book interesting. Paul Theroux has a new book on the shelves, Fresh-Air Fiend (Hamish Hamilton $145). Theroux has not undertaken another epic journey; this is a selection of short recollections from his travels worldwide over two decades. I'm an avid reader of Theroux, but have always found that while he tells us a lot about others, we are left knowing virtually nothing about him. In Fresh-Air Fiend, Theroux at last lets us peep into his personal life and shares some of his private thoughts, though admittedly he only holds the door ajar. He split up from his wife after they had lived together for 20 years, and describes the emotional trauma he went through; he goes back to his childhood and tells how he became sexually aroused by a friend's mother; how in the Peace Corps in Africa he smoked hashish for the first time. Theroux explains why he became a travel writer, what qualities he believes a good travel writer must have, and demonstrates his own unquestionable ability in a series of reminiscences that includes Hong Kong.