Elliott Hester has gotten used to being mistaken for Samuel L. Jackson. An African-American flight attendant with a proclivity for wearing his Kangol cap backward, Hester travels to some of the world's more obscure places. And people who rarely see blacks up close just assume that he has to be the most famous one they know. ''It used to be Michael Jordan,'' says Hester, 47. As a result of the supposed resemblance, Hester even impersonated Jackson at a Czech film festival, one of dozens of over-the-top escapades in Adventures of a Continental Drifter.
The book's premise is simple: Hester ditches most of his earthly belongings and buys a one-way ticket around the world. Along the way, he inadvertently participates in a cow-poaching incident on the Pacific island of Nuku Hiva (site of Survivor 4), accidentally gets high eating coca leaves in Argentina, and barely avoids a beating from a group of Thai boxers. ''A lot of people think some of this stuff is made up,'' Hester says. ''But you go away for a year and some weird stuff is going to happen.'' His best advice to travelers? Don't be afraid of greasy street fare overseas. ''Fried foods kill any contaminants.''