I'm not so good with writing reviews (not good with words) but had to write one for this book, its an inspiration, its amusing, its gripping and it keeps you wondering what will happen next. I got into this book right from the start, as a woman who dreams of traveling one day I always worry about how I will travel alone and whether it is safe, this book put me somewhat at ease and although you have to always be on your guard, maybe the world isn't the scarey place people make out it is, and this book made me realize this. Having always wanted to go to Africa it gives you an insight of what to expect and the people and culture you will be going into.
I couldn't put this book down always wanting to know the next adventure, where the next place would be and what Helen would encounter there, every time i thought i would stop reading and get something done I would have to read a little bit more. Loved the part about the parrot had me laughing for ages.
A brilliant book from start to finish. What an inspirational lady. Looking forward to the next book.
I am an `armchair adventurer'. I have read so many books about hiking long distance paths, climbing challenging mountains and cycling across exotic lands that I feel I have an expert knowledge in all of these things (but in reality my knowledge is woefully lacking!). When I saw Helen's book on Kindle I thought it would probably be ideal to provide me with my `adventure book' fix: and I was right.
Desert Snow is an eminently readable book. I almost felt as if Helen were here, sitting on my sofa, recounting all her tales just for me. Her writing style is not that of a literary master, but it is very personal and consequently I found it very engaging. I also really like the link to the photographs on Flickr; it was great to see the places and the faces; the dusty train journey, the pirogue, Lars, the wild camp sites, the rutted, dirt tracks and so on.
There were a couple of places, however, towards the beginning of the book, where I got a little confused about where the author was and where she was headed (especially around West Africa!). I also would have liked more - more information about the places, the people, the camp sites, the hotels and hostels, the food - just more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have spoken about it often in class (a teacher), which is a good indication of the impact it has had on me. I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is interested in Africa, adventure and humanity. Of simply to anyone at all, no matter your interests!
A wonderful account of a young woman's cycle from Morocco to South Africa. You can't help but admire her tenacity in undertaking such a daunting journey. Her philosophy of living "in the moment" is inspiring. You get an insight into places that, like me, you probably know so little about, such as Mauritania, Guinea and the Congo. Unfortunately some parts are covered rather briefly or missed, including a trip into Dogon country in Mali which would have been fascinating to read about. I am now looking forward to reading her account of cycling across Siberia.
A truly gripping story of Helen's bike ride down the west coast of Africa. A remarkably brave girl who coped with some dreadful weather, awful roads, poor food, and refused to pay any bribes to officials. She has a remarkable knack of meeting people and making friends of locals and other travellers. Unusually for a writer she tells us practically nothing about herself, her family, her emotional feelings or even her age. Some of the people she met (particularly Charles, in the Congo) seem to have been mesmerised by her but her only comment was 'I liked him'. Throughout her journey she seemed to be searching for something; I do hope she finds it, she's a wonderful woman. And it's such a relief to find a non-professional travel writer who doesn't pepper her story with exclamation marks.
I absolutely loved this utterly amazing, wonderful book. It was a page turner for me. When I shut my kindle I couldn't wait to go back and read more about this fantastic journey. Helen Lloyd you are a truly amazing woman! x
I was disappointed to see that the words 'sitting' and 'standing' seem to have disappeared from the English language,(although I recall 'standing' being used once!) they are continually substituted by 'sat' and 'stood'. Okay I am a bit picky but it really annoys me and as this is my review, I don't care! Having had a moan, I thought this book was beautifully written and Helen's courage and determination shine through.
An extremely well written account of her journey through Africa. Helen manages to tell her story in an informative and often amusing way. She talks about her frustrations with the bribery ridden border system in northern parts of Africa but still has a good rapport and empathy with the people. She has the ability to always look on the bright side. A brilliant book.
Not a "how to" manual...or a straightforward diary..one truly remarkable woman's selection from a million memories of her ride through Africa..the people she met...places she saw..the beer that she drank...A wonderful read...can't wait to get my hands on her account of cycling across Siberia ..which I believe is in the pipeline..
I'd just met Elvis Munis (of Chile to Kili) in Botswana 2009, and was soon after on the lookout for other cycle adventurists. Helen filled that criterion.
I started following Helen while she was half-way down through Africa. In this time I also started planning for a new way of life cycle touring. Taking inspiration from Helen's great blog and photos, along with a few others (Toms Bike Trips, Travelling Two).
I thoroughly enjoyed `Desert Snow', and always looked forward to picking it up (Kindle!). Easy, pleasant reading.
Only thing I'd liked to have seen would've been a few photos. That's my only gripe. Otherwise, spot on Helen.