Long Road, Hard Lessons: Ireland to Japan by Bicycle - A Gruelling Test of a Father and Son's Relationship Paperback – Illustrated, 18 Jun 2012
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If you want to understand the point of adventure and the way it can glue families together, listen to Mark Swain describing his hellish night of suffering half-way through an extraordinary 10,000-mile bike ride to Japan. --Nicholas Roe, The Telegraph (UK) --Nicholas Roe - The Telegraph
The story of a great journey, packed with vivid descriptions of landscapes and the ups and downs of life experienced from the saddle. --Christopher J A Smith (author)
About the Author
Mark Swain was born in Singapore in 1958, where his father was stationed in the RAF. He has lived in many countries, and as a young man found it hard to break the habit of a nomadic life, spending a great deal of his youth hitchhiking around Europe. With a low boredom threshold, Mark has had dozens of jobs and quite a few careers, but only one wife. Studying Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art, he ran off and joined the Army in search of adventure. Later he found himself travelling the world on the QE2 as a silver-service waiter and going to the Falklands war. As a TEFL teacher, 1984 saw him land in Tokyo, where he met his wife Lorna. Between then and now, Mark has run a language business in Barcelona, customised VW Beetles, trained and worked as a systems analyst and completed a degree in 3D design. Eventually he stood still long enough to set up a risk management and business training company. At 54, when not writing, he works as a management consultant and trainer. He sleeps little, yet there are never enough hours in his day. Mark and his wife Lorna have three grown-up children and live in Canterbury, Kent. He plans to repeat this cycle trip with his grandchildren, when they arrive.
Top customer reviews
The journey that these to made is nothing short of incredible, to spend so long on the road living in the manner they did is quite remarkable and I'm incredibly jealous of their experience.
The book is a mixed bag. I liked it, it only took me a couple of days to fly through it and there was enough to keep me interested. However it could have been so much more. There is a lot of emotional stuff that could have been kept out.
I appreciate the book is partly about the father/son relationship, I just felt that it wasn't particularly insightful (teens are grumpy and don't appreciate their parents, successful businessmen are hard-headed and think their kids are ungrateful).
As a travel book it doesn't really stand out either, I've visited a lot of the places they cycled through and didn't feel that there was anywhere near enough description. Having kept travel diaries myself I know how easy it is to resort to constantly describing what you eat, but they mustt have seen and experienced so much more than is written in the book; encounters with others, misadventures etc.
Having said all of that, it is a worthwhile read and is inspirational and I congratulate the guys on their epic achievement, I know I couldn't do the same.
One of the messages I have taken from this book so far, is that if you're a successful businessperson with a loving family; who `says' you can't take some time out for a journey like this, it's what life is all about.
It's fascinating to read what goes thru' the minds of a dad and his son during the long hours on the road and to read about how they deal with all sorts of challenges on route, it's as interesting to read about how they deal with all the `good stuff' that happens too.
It's extremely well written and has a nice helping of humour along the way, I feel like I'm on the journey with them, both physically and mentally, I'm looking forward to the next country!
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Recomend anyone who loves traveling in a different level or by different means.Read more
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