I often receive email from cyclists on the road who tell me about their adventures. About two months ago I received a message from Tim Travis with some interesting tidbits about his travels in Mongolia with his wife Cindie. Along with the note came an invitation to review his new book called "The Road That Has No End".
I agreed to review the book with the understanding up front that if I liked the book then I would purchase it as well.
Tim has written a book that in many ways is unique compared to many of the other bicycle touring adventure books that you can find today. Most books start with day one of the journey while Tim's starts off far in advance of the actual tour itself. He visualized a world tour lasting for years but before he could get started he needed to save up some money. He also managed to meet the love of his life and of course that led to a need to help her to see how the world tour could work in her future as well.
The first twenty-three pages of the book covers their pretour background, how they met and married and finally how they created a five year plan that allowed them to leave their "civilized" life behind them in exchange for the fun, excitement and mystery of the open road. Like most tourers they ended up staying up late the last night before the beginning of the tour and their first few days of riding had them recalculating exactly how much stuff they REALLY needed to take along as they worked on getting more weight off the bike.
As the pages turn the story turns away from the equipment and their struggles to get started and begins to really focus on what it's like to be out there living the free life. Their adventures with the people they meet really begin to become the primary focus of the book. You will hear about their adventures at border crossings, fears of being mugged or robbed as well as learn about acts of kindness from complete strangers.
During this first leg of their world tour they travel from their starting point in the United States south through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. They initially struggled with language issues until they biked to Mexico City and enrolled in a three week language school. Their efforts to learn the language seem to be repaid with numerous fun, interesting and unique experiences with locals.
In the book they discuss the many benefits that they've gained by leaving their "normal" life behind and trading it for the open road. Most of the time they seem to really enjoy themselves but one of the funniest sections of the book dealt with their visit to a grocery store in Honduras. In this store they saw many of the items that they used to love eating when in the US. Six grocery bags of special items accompanied them when they left the store.
Tim also relates an experience with a border guard in Guatemala. Tim and Cindie wanted to see as much of the country as possible. From their research they knew that most travel visas were of thirty days duration. Longer sixty and ninety day versions were theoretically possible but in practical terms seldom issued. When they arrived at the border station Tim was patient, explained his tour including the places they had been and where they still hoped to go. He provided the border guard with a printed flyer explaining the tour and then politely asked if it would be possible for them to have a ninety day visa so that the couple could explore the country properly. After several minutes of careful thought the border guard went into a back room and retrieved a 90 day stamp that appeared brand new it had been used so little. On one level the story shows how Tim was able to persuade a border guard to allow them to stay longer but in a more real way it shows that they were beginning to relate to the locals on a much more personal level.
The book ends with their arrival in Panama. Tim describes their impressions of the country and then finishes the book off with a summary of their experiences to date. Thoughout the book you see references to their wonderful online web site that you can visit to purchase the book and to take a peek at their current location.
I started off this review by mentioning that I would review the book and if I liked it then I would also purchase it. From reading the words I've written above it should come as no surprise that I am adding this book to my collection. It's well written, contains many facts complete with humerous accounts. Reading the book told me of their experiences at border crossings and with the people that they met along the way. This isn't a book that tells only the things that people like to read. It also tells the story as they lived complete with the good and bad experiences that occured along the way.
If you are someone who is planning a long tour then I strongly urge you to purchase the book. The initial twenty three pages alone will give you numerous pointers to help you make a long tour a reality. The rest of the book will be an excellent bonous for you.
If you are someone who likes to read about a couple on a wonderful bicycle touring adventure then this is a book that should have a place in your home.
If you are reading this review hoping to find a gift for a cyclist then you are very unlikely to go wrong with this book.
As with all reviews on this site I receive nothing in return for the review other then the enjoyment of reading the book in the first place. As I mentioned I will be adding the book to my collection at the same price that everyone else pays!
|Title:||The Road That Has No End|
Direct link to the book on Tim's web site (An excerpt from his book and numerous pages are available further down this page)
|I paid:||$21.95 US + shipping|
I've placed the reference to Tim's web site here for two reasons.
The first is so that you can go to the site and check out his excellent pictures as well as read some excerpts from his book and decide for yourself.
The second reason is that I've heard from other authors that often the author makes more money from direct sales than when it's purchased through third parties. Since I enjoyed reading his book I would like him to be sufficiently rewarded so that he can write some more! :)
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