Bikes, Boats, Buses & Trains

Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World by Seth Stevenson follows Stevenson and his girlfriend as they quit their jobs, give up their apartment, put all their possessions in storage and circumnavigate the world-without ever leaving the ground. That is, they attempt to travel by cargo ship, ferries, boats, rickshaws, bikes — but no airplanes(read the book to see if they are successful).

Rather than flying, the fastest but least environmentally sound way to travel, they prepared their routes so they could continually hook up with land or sea transportation. This documented account of their adventures recounts their trip with vivid descriptions of some of their fellow (and sometimes annoying) travellers as well as some of the less attractive travel accommodations, including a Russian train where they ‘share’ a cabin with two foul smelling, vodka drinking locals. Their adventure begins on a container ship from Philadelphia to Antwerp and they hit such spots as Helsinki, Sydney and Darwin Australia, China, Japan and Saigon before coming back to the United States on a five star cruise ship that lands in California.

Much of the book deals with trying to make connections from place to place. In between their travels, they meet interesting people, see some awesome sites and share some memorable (and not so memorable) meals. Stevenson is an articulate, humorous writer whose experience writing travel columns for the online magazine, Slate, as well as other print publications prepared him to write this book which will appeal to anyone who has a bit of wanderlust in their soul.

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