Posted by : Ruby Escalona Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nowadays, traveling is an essential part of life. It is a chance to explore new places, learn more about yourself and the culture of the place you are going to and is an adventure, in itself. A chance to know that you are just one tiny being in the huge world we are moving in.

Very few people do get a chance to travel, and very few people get an opportunity to take a few years off and just discover what's out there. In this book, Trent Newcomer decides to leave his corporate job and the safety of his routine life back at home and just backpack to different countries. He traveled for over a year and a half, and this book is his memoir, so to speak, of those travels: the places he visited, and the people he met along the way. With every new place, he did not have a set itinerary, only a goal: to continuously strive to expand the  boundaries of his comfort zone.

This book is biographical so I cannot comment much on characters, settings, and the like, so this review is also non-traditional in a sense. I admire Trent for having the guts to do this. I know it isn't easy to leave the comfort of your life back home, with a steady-paying job, your friends, and just go off on your own over yonder. I admire him for not having a steady itinerary and not jumping in to some of the tourist traps that the countries he had went to offered. As you read through the book, you'll have a feeling of wanting to go to the places he went as well. He described his adventures so vividly and provided information on the places he stayed in and areas that few travelers would ever think of going, which are hidden gems of the area, so to speak.  His feelings are clear in the book: there are no holds barred, like his fears of entering a mountain bike race when he is physically unprepared, and how customs officials may single you out for not exactly having the best appearance whilst on the border.

The book is an enjoyable read, it is informative for future travelers like me who intend to follow in the example that Trent has led. He and so many others have proven to the world, that yes, it can be done, and you just need to take the first step to reach the goals that you want. And well, yes, lots of planning beforehand [the places, how much it would cost, and maybe contact long-lost friends along the way]. However, I feel as if the chapters and the narratives on the countries he visited were a bit too short. I feel it left me hanging and gives me the thought "that's it??" Perhaps Trent should have presented the book by continent, to provide more information on what he did in a particular country, but that's just me. I know it must have been hard for him to trim down his memoirs from his 4000++ page journal into the 300+ page book that he has presented now. Fellow readers, please also keep an open mind as you read the book. Not all the situations Trent has found himself on his travels may happen to you, after all, it has been 15 years since he has embarked on this trip and things may have changed since then. And within those 15 years, we have been blessed with budget airlines, fast trains, mobile internet, GPS-enabled phones, so we have it easier right now compared to what he has encountered before.

This book is a light read, and will definitely inspire you to see more of the world and just step out of your comfort zone, however hard it may prove to be. All you need is to take that first step and you are on your way!

And so, on to the rating & information:
Published: 2009
Publisher:  iUniverse
Available from: Barnes & Noble and the iUniverse bookstore.
Final Rating:  4/5 [I liked it, it is very inspiring, as I have said again and again in my post above]
Read it if: You want to discover new places to go to and want to be inspired in people's travel stories.

**Many, many thanks to Trent Newcomer for sending this book over. **

4 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly the kind of thing I fantasize about. I would have to leave so many obligations and people behind. I'm always excited for other people who have been brave enough to do it, though.

  2. ibeeeg says:

    What an incredible experience it would be to able to travel for an extended period of time. This book sounds fascinating. I am going to read this one, not only for my desire of travel ( a dream at the moment), but also for my 14 yo's desire to travel ( a distinct possibility for her).

  3. *sigh*

    it feels really really good to travel! there's just something about leaving your worries behind, isn't it? just came from a two-day holiday and it was brilliant [although expensive]

    @ibeeg - go encourage your child to travel :) he or she will get to learn more!

    @stephanie - i too am excited about the prospect of traveling for long periods of time, i just think that my bank account isn't ready for it :p

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