For me, life without adventure is not life at all. As I near my 70th year, I seek even more exhilarating experiences, whether backpacking the long-distance trails of Europe or exploring the trails and bikeways of the USA while traveling in a small travel trailer.
When I can’t get out there, I pursue adventure through reading about others’ experiences. Bicycle Odyssey took me on the trip of a lifetime. Consider what author Carla Fountain and her husband Dermot accomplished in a year. Planes, trains and buses transported them and their bicycles to the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Kenya, Uganda, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Bali, and many more places. They rode in weather and situations that would keep most of us indoors.
The American couple quit their teaching jobs so they could spend the night in a tent while hippos shook the ground around them. They snorkeled off the Kenyan coast. They survived the dangerous roads of India, where truck drivers honked rather than move over. They confronted their fears with courage.
Fountain uses her journal to recreate the 1991 journey and her story comes from her heart. Her account feels fresh, brought to life through recreated conversations and fascinating details about cultural experiences. Her adventure causes Fountain to re-evaluate her life, including her marriage. She is introspective in a relatable way.
As much as I feel compelled to tackle risky experiences, I doubt I will come close to an adventure like Fountain’s. However, her story inspires me to stretch the boundaries of my life.
Are you impressed by those who thru-hike thousands of miles? Then, what do you think about these adventurers? Click on each name to see a brief review of their books, which are so much more than inspiring.
Wearing just underwear emblazoned with the British flag, George Mahood and his buddy left Land’s End in southwest England without a penny, determined to bicycle to the northern tip of Great Britain. They would rely on the generosity and good hearts of the people, from pub owners and accommodation hosts to the police.
They would not solicit cash, but would accept meals, rooms, clothes, old bicycles and whatever else they needed. They would offer to wash dishes and do other work. They were out to prove that people are good.
If you have not read a book by George Mahood, you are in for a treat. His writing in Free Countryis even more entertaining than his story’s premise and is powered by humor and down-to-earth human touches.
I doubt it will be the last George Mahood book you read.
Get out your drum and give it a roll; my blog has a new name, Books and My Backpack. I offer you spoiler-free reviews of books that will take you on adventures around the world. Selections include the Pacific Crest Trail, Costa Rica, the Silk Road, and Mont Blanc.
If journeys of the mind are your thing, authors include the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Hesse, and Seneca. See the drop-down menu for a list of book titles (and quick links to each review).
There’s much more coming from the trails and pages ahead, so stay tuned.
Where am I in my wife Sue’s photo? In the Alps, taking a break from the Tour du Mont Blanc, which will be part of my next book. My first book is Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.
I hope you like my blog’s new name. Have a suggestion for a book or a trail? Please send it along.