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Janapar: Love, on a Bike Paperback – 29 Jan 2013
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Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is knowing when it's over.
When twenty-three-year-old Tom Allen and his friends set off from their English village to cycle around the world, they were expecting physical hardship, extreme conditions and a serious case of culture shock. But the hours spent poring over maps could never have prepared them for the experience of life on the road: the petty squabbles, the extreme hospitality, the unexpected joys and dangers.
And then Tom meets Tenny, a feisty Iranian-Armenian girl with dreams of her own, and hits a crossroad. Should he give up his grand plan for the girl he loves, or cycle off and risk missing out on the greatest adventure of them all?
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Top Customer Reviews
I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the past year or two as he tried to turn 3 or 4 years of video footage and notes taken into a full length film and book. Despite the challenges of doing this independantly, he has managed to produce something wonderful. I love the film and still find it inspiring and funny after having seen it 3 or 4 times. But the book gives so much more. Even in the film, which is by definition limited to the footage that was taken, Tom manages to put across a very honest and personal account of his motivations. Of the joys and challenges of such a trip. Of loneliness and companionship. Of the humbling friendship of complete strangers. Of the difficulties in finding out that perhaps the plan you've been obsessing over isn't the only plan.
But in the book he is able to communicate this to a much greater degree. I've read books about cycle trips that are very much of the 'On day 97 we cycled from A to B covering 80 miles. I felt tired.' ilk. Janapar is not that book. It's about an adventure. It's about personal motivation and challenge. It's about seeking something more meaningful than the daily 9-5 that most people get sucked into. And it's about finding things you didn't expect in the places you least expected them.
Tom writes eloquently, honestly and with great self-awareness (after the event at least!). Janapar is a joy to read and will make you want to quit your job, pack a bag and cycle off on a voyage of discovery. That's what I'm going to do. Thanks Tom (I think!).
It hasn't dulled any appetite I have for attempting a similar adventure. Definitely worth reading.
I read a lot of travel books and Tom writes really well. I was quite sad to finish the book.
I found myself nodding along with so many of the situations the author describes so eloquently and it made me pine for the open road once again.
Travel books can have a tendency to fall into the, "and then we went here, and then we went here..." trap but the multiple story-arcs going on during this trip ensures that you're always engaged and wondering what will come next.
The author also came across as refreshingly honest - from the initial highs and 'arrogance of ignorance' from the preparation and early days to the inevitable team squabbles and other low points.
If you're vaguely interested in travel or adventure then check out this very English kind of story but be warned: it'll probably make you want to quit your job and hit the road on two wheels!
Great job Tom!
I finished it in less than a week, sometimes cursing slightly under my breath at Tom's habit of conjuring awkwardness from thin air. He sometimes comes across like a magician who keeps shoving the rabbit back in the hat because it's the wrong colour - everything goes well but it's not the sort of well he wanted. This dictatorial attitude to fortune, however, is whittled away, sliver by sliver, by circumstances, and the reader realizes that, just like the writer, what he thought he was getting himself into is nothing like what he will find himself coming out of.
That is the beauty of this book. Tom is nothing if not brutally honest, and never more so than with himself. His prejudices, lack of preparation and outbursts are all candidly dealt with, laying bare the vulnerable side of someone I thought I knew rather well, and this only makes the love-story narrative of the book that much more engaging. His ignorance of many of the places he visits might strike some as naïve, or even arrogant - particularly those who count themselves well-travelled, and say that they have "done" somewhere, who memorise long factoids plucked from a book, who quote what someone else said about the place and then agree with or destroy that opinion based on their own meagre experience - but Tom's unflinching lack of compromise with regard to his way of doing things is admirable, and wonderfully moving when you realize just how much the journey means to him, and how much it might mean to give it up.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is well written, but very jumbled up chronologically, which is very annoying. It jumps about all over the place from end, to middle, to beginning of the trip which is... Read morePublished 4 months ago by sos
Honest and sincere. I came across whit the blog and started it while I was traveling too. The story was appealing to me in many ways. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A story of one mans journey around the world but more importantly a journey through life, to find meaning and purpose, something we all seek but many never find. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr. S. M. Brady
Dealing with a crucial juncture in a young adventurer's life, Janapar deals brilliantly with the subjects of reflection, love, bravery and naivety. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mr DJ Brown
Interesting read... not just a statistical record of distance covered.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've read the book, watched the film, and pored over the blog. Tom's adventures speak to everyone on a personal level and this is a great read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I watched the Janapar movie a long time ago and so didn't bother with the book until now. Don't make the same mistake. Read morePublished 7 months ago by D. Dorosz
Tom Allen's bike trip is more than an accounting of the sights and sounds around the world; Tom goes into all the inner travel as well. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Erin Snow
I've read a few adventure travelogues, & lets just say some authors are better to stick to travelling rather than writing.
This isn't one of them. Read more