Why read a book written by a blind woman about a year long journey around the world might be a question one would ask? Why read any book written about motorcycle travel ? For me and many others a large reason to read a motorcycle travel book is in some way to imagine ourselves undertaking this journey, to in some way hover along with the writer as they travel and see and feel what they see and feel. For some reason at first I thought the book would be written by the seeing member of this duo, i.e. Bernard Smith who holds the bars and steers the bike, after all if Cathy rode the bike it would have been a very short trip indeed. However it is Cathy who writes the book and my oh my does she do a great job of writing. There seems to be a perfect combination of some sorts here, with Bernard relaying to Cathy what he sees as they travel through the people and landscapes of the countries they cross. Cathy in turn has her other senses highly tuned in to the nuances of what is also about them, the sounds, the smells and the other intangibles in between. The reader is treated to the full kaleidoscopic experience of travel as the author ties all of their senses together into the written word adding an extra depth to the experience leading to a book that is hard to put down. I finished the read full of admiration for what they had achieved but also for their warm human qualities and ability to inspire others to set forth on their own adventures. Funnily enough I hadn't intended buying this book, but while selecting another book that had been recommended to me by Sam Manicom the ever helpful amazon suggested I might like this book too, how right they were-spot on.
Such an amazing story and wonderfully told. I've read a lot of these kinds of books as it sparks my imagination no end with a journey that I would like to do. Most however, fail to hit the right note, either the author comes across as reckless o plain dumb in light of hat they are experiencing and seeing. This author though hits the nail on the head perfectly. I wasn't sure how the book would read as with many of us I let the descriptive paint the picture for me but Cathy paints the pictures with so much zest and ability that it's hard not to be drawn in and wanting to read more and more. All in all this is a fantastic book and a real inspiration to anyone whether they want to ride a bike around the world or if they are just interested in reading about travel in general. What a wonderful book. If you only read one motorcycling book, make it this one.
A well written travel book that puts the reader onto the pillion seat for the trip.It also gives an insight (no pun intended!) into the problems that blindness can lead to.Sure made me happy to be a sighted rider.
Like most of these overland by motorbike travel books it always surprises me the routes riders take. Isn't life hard enough nowadays without putting yourself through the well documented miseries of riding through Countries where their Governments don't want Brit. travellers? Why bother? Every time I read of the total ball ache it produces I wonder why anyone would submit themselves to such experiences? There are so many pleasanter routes to take that wont put you under such awful strain,stress and duress.Still an "adventure" without the nerve shredding!
I finished reading this book last night with tears running down my face and I had to write this review as soon as possible. If ever there was a book to really inspire everyone, here it is. What an amazing, gutsy, courageous journey!
Cathy and Bernard's adventure is described with an emotional narrative that is honest, sobering, humorous, inspirational, humbling and truthful. Within their words is a strength of human spirit, an unbreakable friendship and love for the open road and the adventure it brings. This is a book to make anyone reassess their life, ask the question: am I really living, making the most of life?
The world can be a big, scary place, but Cathy and Bernard's mantra of "what you see depends mainly on what you look for" encourages the reader to seek out their own adventures and step out of their comfort zone to really live in the moment.
This story is a five star adventure, highly recommended to anyone who needs a gentle nudge out of the armchair to fulfil their dreams...
I am an experienced long distance motorcyclist (google andy mongolia) and I've read, usually in preparation for a big trip, lots of motorcycle travel books. IF you only ever want to read ONE motorcycle travel book, then this is that book. It makes you understand more about visual impairment, how other cultures "see" blindness and most of all how one man became a saint-in-my-eyes by taking his friend around the World and explaining what he was seeing to her. It is also a fabulous account of motorcycle travel written by someone who knows how to describe the nuances of daily life that we "sighted" people take for granted and wouldn't bother talking about. It also saves you from "Death & Dismemberment" by persuading you that perhaps India is best seen from the windows of a troop carrier! I'm only sorry that I'm in the last few pages of the book, as I never want their journey to end!
If you read one book in your life please make it this one.It might just give you the courage to make that one step and change everything you thought that you could not achieve.Its a book of travel,courage and a growing realization that the world is what you want to see and not the expected.it will be a constant companion with me and on days when i think i cant do something i will pick it up and read a small section.A wonderfull bond of friendship and trust that grows as the journey passes.It will also i hope make people more willing to accept and approach people with a disability and not shy away from interaction with someone just like you and me.I cant praise the achievement that these two people have made highly enough.They did things that we wish we had done or still can?
I've read this one and can only say that it far, far, beyond a motorcycle travel book. I read it after my husband finished it, loved it, and then told me I would like it as a none biker.....
I've read so many books (mainly novels although some travel books) and it is beyond the other travel books I've read in terms of writing, feeling, and emotion. I was 'with them' on their old motorbike in a way I've never before experienced. In many ways it's a beautiful book about a relationship and a journey across the world, with all the trials and tribulations involved.
Having read other travel writers I would say this is as good as any of them - in many ways it is way better. High praise perhaps but I never laughed or cried in any other book like I did in this one. It is truly my favourite book as it is contains such a unique tale of a very special relationship between two people. It is one like I've never read about before. And this aspect, I think, forms the core of the story.
I wouldn't be surprised if this one surpassed the narrow category of 'motorcycle travel book'. In so many ways the book is so much broader than that, involving so many distinctive strands to the tale. It certainly deserves to be a major success.
Perhaps the only thing that will hold it back will be some form of unconscious perception of many people re. buying a book involving a blind woman travelling around the world on a motorbike.
But in that let me tell you, they will be wrong in thinking that. Once you read it, you will understand. It will move you unless you have no heart.
From the 'Being a blind person' side of the tale, the book takes a lot of getting into. If you are sighted here is a good start. The story opens up a whole story of sheer guts and determination of both Cathy and Bernard as they visit countries where blind people are not seen, and seldom heard. Cathy is a tough one, and takes to opportunities sighted people would be worried about, whilst Bernard just does it. Charming moments, tense situations and an insight into how people across the globe are helpful interested and intrigued. By the end you will admire, sigh, and cry at least once. You will laugh and be inspired. Stick with it and see the world through the eyes of a woman that couldn't. 10/10
What a fantastic read. The story of Cathy and Bernard's trip around the World is entertaining and engrossing. What an achievement and made with virtually no support from sponsors. The reader can share the journey,the highlights and frustrations in a well written account that is told with humour,emotion and honesty,and you don't have to have an interest in motorcycles to enjoy this book. For Bernard it shows that dreams can come true. You can only admire Cathy for undertaking the journey and being able to see the world in a different way. As for why a blind person would want to go around the world on a motorcycle - you'll get the answer and more in the book! If possible, I would give this book 10 stars and thoroughly recommend Touching The World to everyone.
A wonderful book and adventure. It will build up a fire in you to get started on your dreams if you are so inclined to motorcycle adventure. The story brought me in like I haven't experienced before and made me feel like I was a part of Bernard and Cathy's adventure. Cathy's perspective on accomplishing such an adventure while being blind was informative. I now feel like I have a much better perspective on the struggles a blind person goes through in daily life in addition to how overcoming other's perceived hindrances can sometimes be simple, but yet so incredible. The emotions and thoughts shared by Cathy and Bernard's narratives really show how a long journey can tear you down and build you back up, but the huge accomplishment of a round the world journey is something that can really make you change and grow.
This is a beautiful book, give it a go, you will not regret it. By the way, this is now my favorite motorcycle travel book.