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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 9 September 2012
What a great read! This was the fascinating, `couldn't put it down' story of a family of five travelling around the world together in the close quarters of a VW camper van and the adventures they had on the way. I have read everything ever written by Bill Bryson and love travel stories, and this was easily in the same class as a humorous and educational tale, but also managed to be extremely moving and thought-provoking at the same time. I took this book into every room in the house with me in case I had the chance to read a few more pages and was very sad when I came to the end. I am hoping there will be more books by this author.
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on 30 January 2013
There are not many books that keep me up till the early hours of the morning but this is one. A truly inspiring story that takes you on an incredible journey around the world in a camper van. There is a a real need to see what sort of adventure would face the family next as they traversed the globe on nothing but wit and charm. Full of great stories of the people they meet on the way as well as many scary encounters. If you want a book to read that will inspire you to do something that you wouldnt have thought about doing, no matter how big or small, then this is the book for you! Read it! You will not be disappointed!!
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on 6 August 2012
The only problem I had reading this book was making sure that I took it with me wherever I went. It is very hard to put down.

Simeon's writing style is free-flowing, honest and very funny.

I had to explain to my family what I had just read after laughing out loud on several occasions.

I thoroughly recommend you follow the fab six ( the vw camper van included) on their journey across the globe. You will not regret it.

The only way I can think of thanking the author is to make a personal donation to the work of UNICEF - that inspired their trip.
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on 24 October 2016
Over the past couple of weeks I began, got bored with and gave up on three books written by non-professional travel writers and this was my last attempt before going back to the safety and security of the ultimate travel books, science-fiction.

Simeon Courtie restored my faith in non-fiction. I have driven across Europe and, back when it wasn't quite as dangerous as now, through Iran and Afghanistan to India. What Mister Courtie did was tell it like it really is in countries like Turkey and India. None of the usual PC - let's -not-say-anything-that-might-be-considered-racist - nonsense that we normally get. India is a fascinating country, but the constant corruption, medieval split between rich and poor, noise, smell and lack of understanding of personal space can be tiring and that is how he told it.

Australia was a little ragged in places, granted, but he discussed the aboriginal situation (problem?) as it is and how it impacts on the non-indigenous population. Having lived in Australia I think he got it right, especially when he said that nobody really knows the answer. That he said that puts him ahead of most of the pack who find it easier and more PC to just blame the white population totally, rather than largely.

I've only just started on America and still enjoying the book immensely.

My only questions are; A VW? Really? Why? OK, they are cute, iconic and have a certain reputation generated by VW but other than that?

You are paying for the badge on the front, they aren't actually that reliable, they are gutless, nothing from any other vehicle fits them, (I once took a Transit into a garage in Greece for a new clutch and with a bit of machining they fitted a BMW clutch. A busted radiator from a Ford bus was replaced with a Tata radiator in India.) VW main dealers hate them, they are too small, the engine is in the wrong place and there are so many vehicles out there that are cheaper, more reliable, more powerful, adaptable, you don't need main dealers (after Istanbul the guy beside the road is better anyway), larger and the engine is in the right end.

Even so, loved the book. Write more.

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on 22 February 2013
If I still wore a hat, I would take it off to this family who were adventurous enough to grab life and emerge at the end even closer than they may have been at the start.
As someone who can look back on holidays abroad with two youngsters in a VW motor caravan I know what demands can be placed on relationships in a combined space.
A great read and I am sure that the children will look back on their experience with many happy memories. Interesting, too, to learn of the support received from the teaching staff at the children's school and that the children's education had not suffered as a result of the time away from formal schooling.
Liked the contribution in the form of the video at the end of the read acknowledging the assistance provided by those who had supported the family in various ways.
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on 16 September 2012
Probably the most unputdownable book in the world!

Fabulously easy to read, fascinating, funny and inspiring. As a VW camper owner it was all I could do to stop myself bundling the family up and disappearing on our own adventure.
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on 30 June 2013
I think you have to be a certain type of family to endure a trip such as this one. I can't imagine spending more than twenty minutes in a tin container with my one teenage daughter and husband without wanting to murder the pair of them. So this sabbatical ('it's NOT a holiday') was very, very brave indeed and I admire the family's gumption. They drove through Syria in a yellow VW, for goodness' sake.
I've read hundreds of travel books but there is a warmth at the heart of this one which is irresistible without being at all schmaltzy. You desperately want the family to have a good time and curse the gods when Penny splutters or the weather intervenes. You're really there with them - envious of their amazing Goan beach experience one minute, thanking the Lord that you aren't in Alessandria, Italy with them the next. That there are incredible, generous people the world over - and not just in the Western or English-speaking world - is evident, as are the planet's seemingly unfixable problems.
It's an endlessly engaging book, with a good message at its heart and I still can't believe those girls endured so much and stayed so upbeat and pleasant. Maybe I should take mine to India for a couple of months - no straighteners, no mobile and no One Direction. It's a plan.
Read this book if you want to catch the travel bug - it will give you a proper itch.
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on 8 September 2014
What a brave or foolhardy man I cannot decide but what a adventure this family had some may not approve of taking children out of school and taking them around the world but I think it was educational and enlightening for them and they certain seemed to enjoy it I recommend you read this book about this charitable and happy family as the squash they're was around the world in a camper van this book made me laugh out loud which is a rare thing
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An astonishing book. It takes a huge amount of courage and determination to undertake such an adventure, and this story is written in such a lovely way. It is a truly entertaining book written in a wonderful, natural writing style, there is little wonder it is an award winning book. A treat.
Jonathan Nicholas, Crime & Travel writer.
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on 20 August 2014
A well written and entertaining book. I'm very jealous of their adventure around the world in a VW Beatle. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to take themselves out their own life for a while. It has left me with a new sense of adventure. Maybe it's my time to plan something like this. Brilliant !!
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