Today is the day!
As of this morning, my first book - The Road Headed West - is officially on sale. I am incredibly excited, and more than a little nervous to finally share it with the world. I wrote this book because I wanted to tell the story of my journey across North America, but I honestly never expected more than a handful of friends and family to have a chance read it. The idea of publishers, marketing, book launches - those were never in my thinking. I'm delighted and amazed that there's been so much interest since those early days, and that it has now made it to this stage.
I believe very strongly in the story - that it's entertaining, and paints a detailed picture of real, small-town America as I saw it - and I certainly hope it's enjoyed by most (if not all!) who read it. Thank you to all the readers of this blog and everyone who has encouraged and helped me along on this and other journeys. Adventure is something I'm passionate about - an idea worth spreading - and more than anything I hope this book gives a hint of the rewards that lie in wait should we choose life on the road, with all it's risks and unknowns and promises.
How you can buy the book (and get a free DVD)
Signed books are available here, and regular copies through Amazon and in all good bookstores.The book costs £9.99, plus postage to wherever you are based.
As an added incentive, for anyone who buys from this site or from Amazon, I am offering a FREE copy of my film Into The Empty Quarter to anyone who buys online this week, Monday to Friday. Just forward me your e-receipt (to this address) and let me know whether you'd like a DVD* or HD digital download of the film.
I'm also giving having a few 'launch' events in various parts of the UK (including Canterbury, Bristol, London and Belfast. For details and dates of those, read more here.
* If you choose a DVD, I'm asking you to pay the postage, which for the UK is less than £1
Why you should buy the book (aside from the free DVD)
The major theme is that of a rite-of-passage journey - the adventure that happens to a naive 23-year old when he leaves behind everything he knows and sets off to learn about himself and the world at bicycle-speed.
It shows the transformations that happen, both to me and to the land around me. The book shows North America as I found it - a picture-portrait of a spot in time and space when I pedalled through. Others passing by just before or after me may have had an entirely different experience, but The Road Headed West is the story of what I found there, for better or worse. The book shows the diversity of the USA - the landscapes, yes, but even more so the people. There are a host of incredible characters in this story who I feel so lucky to have met, and even luckier to be able to include them in my book.
Finally, of course, the book is about adventure. It is about taking risks, mostly calculated ones, and showing what happens. This is a story set with the backdrop of a bicycle journey, but there are all sorts of other adventures that pop up at various points. When you do something unusual, like decide to spend 6 months riding a bicycle around America, then it's probably unsurprising that strange and wonderful things happen.
I suppose in a way it is also a book about bicycles. The bike is the catalyst for almost everything in this story - it is the vehicle that powers me westward, and it is the icebreaker in all of the conversations. It became my home, and the most reliable friend I had.
Overall, The Road Headed West is a collection of experiences, and a call-to-arms to embrace adventure in life - to buy the ticket, and take the ride.
One more thing...
At the back of my book, I've included my kit list, for those interested, and I've also written a 'How-to' section for travelling by bicycle. Touring on two wheels is a way of life I love, and pleasantly it's also a very simple one. I think though that this is not always clear to non-cyclists - certainly the idea of setting off with only a bicycle for company can be a daunting one. That's why I've added this section in the back - to dispel fears and debunk myths, and share the knowledge I learned the hard way about how to go from total novice to seasoned pro on the road.
Some sneak peaks