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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
35

on 6 April 2014
Cathy's and Bernard's book is a must read for anybody, you don't need to be an avid motorcyclist to enjoy this one, it is written from the heart. I have read many of the motorcycle travel books that are about and this one is up there with the best.

Keith.
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on 3 August 2013
Great what you can do when you put your mind to it, a lot of planning and head scratching really enjoyed the experiences she had.
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on 3 August 2016
Wonderful book. Feel as though you are with them on their journey
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on 18 January 2013
Brought as a present, so haven't read it myself. But the feedback so far is that it is a 'Good read'.
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on 29 March 2017
a fantastic read,
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on 5 August 2014
Excellent.Thoroughly recommend this book not just for the amazing travel but for the insights into a very special relationship between Cathy and Bernard.
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on 16 January 2015
Inspiring and beautifully and honestly written, thoroughly recommend.....
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on 19 August 2012
I was sent a pre-launch copy of this book to do a review for a motorcycle website a few weeks before it went on general sale.
Touching the World is the story of Cathy Birchall and her partner Bernard Smith's round the world motorcycle trip.Inspired by Ted Simon's classic "Jupiter's Travels it had long been Bernard's dream to do a similar trip.When he met Cathy,a fellow Teacher of the visually impaired they "clicked" the dream was first shared then became reality. There's a short introduction at the beginning of the book telling Cathy's story up until the time her and Bernard met which shows just what an amazing person she is...............Cathy is blind.
Efforts to raise sponsorship for the trip proved to be all but impossible,with the honourable exception of a couple of companies without whose equipment the trip would have been impossible.Because of this the bike of choice was an 18 year-old BMW road bike that needed a complete overhaul before it was ready to attempt the trip rather than the multi-thousand pound fully prepped GS BMWs used by the likes of McGregor and Boorman.
After heading off on their old bike with zero fanfare and a handful of friends and family to see them off Cathy and Bernard begin their year-long journey through 31 countries and just over 26,000 miles,26,385 to be precise though oddly the book cover only claims 25,000. Bernard keeps up a running commentary for Cathy using the Autocom communications equipment provided by one of the 2 sponsors to have faith in the couple,in effect he is her eyes.
The couple's adventures in Europe,Asia,Australia,Central America,and the U.S.A. before flying the bike and themselves home from Canada are entertaining,moving,insightful and told eloquently and honestly.They tell us of their rare dark moments as well as the more positive side of things that both prefer to emphasise.
Touching the World is a very well-written book,having read,and enjoyed, all of Ted Simon's books I can honestly say that this one is as good as his,indeed he encouraged Cathy and Bernard and endorses their book on the front cover.
It works as a bike travel book,it works as the story of 2 people and their relationship and it works as a travel book whether or not you're a bike fan.
If there is a fault it's that the last few countries in Central America and the U.S.A.don't rate many pages,having said that the pair had to rush through those a lot quicker than they'd have liked due to time constraints so there wasn't a lot to write about.
An excellent read that might well become a suprise mainstream hit given the right exposure.
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on 19 June 2014
Reading ”Touching the World” by Cathy Birchall and Bernard Smith is a wonderful experience. On the face of it, the book is a travel diary by the first blind woman to go around the world on a motorcycle (as a passenger, obviously!). However, it ends up being far more than that. The book is written with such warmth and openness that reading it feels like listening to close friends telling you about their travels in a living room. Ms. Birchall also reflects often on what it is like to experience the world as a blind person, showing that despite her lack of sight she could experience every bit as much of the world as the rest of us, if not more in cases due to her perceptiveness and interest in her surroundings. I also got to see some of the prejudices and unnecessary difficulties faced by the disabled, but more importantly, the common compassion of people in general that make all these problems surmountable.

Reading this book was an absolute pleasure, and I recommend it to anyone, even those with no particular interest in travel accounts or motorcycling.
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on 27 August 2012
After Ted Simon sets a seed in Bernard's head for motorbike travel, as he has for many, years later and after two years of planning, Bernard Smith takes his partner Cathy Birchall, who happens to be blind, on a 25000 mile adventure to circle the world.

At first glance of the cover, I have to ashamedly admit, I was not expecting this book to take a place on my bookshelf as the second favourite book that I have read in the last ten years. Not knowing anyone who is blind I did not see how I would connect with the writer but as it was about travel and motorbikes I thought I would give it a go. How wrong could I be? Cathy's vivid descriptions of her experiences interspersed with Bernard's observations make this book, inspirational, entertaining and pleasurable read.

Such an apt title for this book as even though I have never met Cathy or Bernard the honesty and detail of their story certainly touched my world. I am an avid reader of motorcycle travel books reading at least one a month but this is one of those rare publications where you are drawn into their private world and are taken along with them in their adventure. I don't think a paragraph was read where I did not both laugh and cry.

Thank you Cathy and Bernard for writing this book and allowing us a window into your life while completing your journey / adventure.
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