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  • 12
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • Tortillas to Totems

  • Every Day an Adventure, Book 4
  • By: Sam Manicom, Birgit Schunemann
  • Narrated by: Sam Manicom
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

Sam Manicom's dynamic fourth book is an enticing yet frequently challenging motorcycle journey across the dramatic landscapes of Mexico, the United States and Canada. Sam's partner Birgit is no longer a novice motorcyclist - riding through southern Africa and South America turned her into a rider capable of facing any challenge. But Sam was worried. As they arrived into North America they had been travelling around the world by motorcycle for six years and he was beginning to think that North America was going to be easy; too easy in fact.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Tanya on 05-04-17

Made me appreciate are reevaluate the sights out m

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-25-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Sam is perhaps the best motorcycle adventure writer of the modern era and one of the better travel writers in general. He does a great job with narration. I am a big proponent of having the author read his/her own work and same does an impeccable job. His enthusiasm draws you in and keep you interested throughout. The recording is also of a very high quality.

What did you like best about this story?

I own all four of his audiobooks as well as print copies of ""Into Africa" and "Under Asian Skies". I was worried that this, his last book, would be somehow lesser because half of it takes place in familiar, highly developed, and easy to tour countries (America and Canada). Let me say that is not the case. It does have a different feel but makes a good bookend for the series. The first half takes place south of the American border, and is a wonderful adventure in the traditional sense, and will surely appease any fan. Surprising to me is that the adventures in America and Canada were compelling as well. There isnt the sense of the unknown one feels in developing countries but there are still great tales to tell. He made me appreciate many of the sights and experiences I often take for granted.

What about Sam Manicom’s performance did you like?

Sam's performances are excellent, surprising since he is not a professional narrator by trade. But generally I prefer an author over a narrator any day. He maintains his enthusiasm throughout and has a voice that doesn't wear on you even after a marathon listening session.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were not standout moments in this book, as there were in his past three books. For me it was more of an overall lesson. There is adventure and something to appreciate everywhere, even in developed places. I can't always get away for months at a time, but I could do several shorter trips. I will surely take more long weekend trips because of this book.

Any additional comments?

All of his books are great. My personal favorite continues to be "Under Asian Skies" but they are all worthwhile reads/listens.

  • Distant Suns

  • Every Day an Adventure, Book 3
  • By: Sam Manicom
  • Narrated by: Sam Manicom
  • Length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 42

Sam Manicom's dynamic third book transports you to Southern Africa, South and Central America. Sam has a gift for describing the vibrancy of people and places, and you are led effortlessly through three very different parts of the world by his enthusiasm and his acute observations. Human behavior, drama, passion, disaster, humor, and the pure adrenaline buzz of overlanding such far-flung, wild and exotic places are all here.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another fascinating journey!

  • By Jim Foreman on 05-31-16

One of the best adventures on Audible

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-13-16

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would, and do, recommend Sam Manicom's books to my friends. His book "Under Asian Skies" is my favorite but all of his books are incredible.

He takes you to the destinations, he doesn't just tell you about them. Many books in the genre are about covering miles or written only with a motorcyclist in mind, his books are for the traveler regardless of mode of transport. Its about having experiences, making connections, and forming memories that will last a lifetime. He weaves a great tale that will keep even armchair travelers enthralled yet also includes valuable info for those that may really attempt a similar journey (via bus/car/bike/motorcycle).

What other book might you compare Distant Suns to and why?

I grew up reading Jack Kerouac and Hemingway and there is a bit of that sense of adventure and experience in Mr Manicom's writing.

What about Sam Manicom’s performance did you like?

The English accent is pleasing to American ears but the recording is also of a very high quality. No pops, hiccups, or irregularities. Since it is his own work, and he is passionate about it, you feel a great energy in the narration.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's his first book traveling full time with his partner Birgit. I think having her along added a lot to the dynamic. I am a long time fan of his books and saw him go places and experience things he wouldn't have done had he ridden alone. It reminded me how much my wife ads to my life.

He also challenges our preconceived notions about a country or even a continent. A great number of people judge a country by a few random news articles or stereotypes. While he occasionally experiences troubles, the vast majority of people he meets are warm, welcoming, and helpful (even in "war torn" countries and those with "drug lords").

Any additional comments?

His books, all of them, are perhaps the best in the genre. Sam isn't a guy checking off countries and borders, he is a man living a full and rich life. He reminds us all to slow down and experience the places, people, food, and sights. If you have a Audible credit BUY THIS BOOK.

  • Indonesia, Etc.

  • Exploring the Improbable Nation
  • By: Elizabeth Pisani
  • Narrated by: Jan Cramer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 87

Bewitched by Indonesia for twenty-five years, Elizabeth Pisani recently traveled 26,000 miles around the archipelago in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation. Fearless and funny, Pisani shares her deck space with pigs and cows, bunks down in a sulfurous volcano, and takes tea with a corpse. Along the way, she observes Big Men with child brides, debates corruption and cannibalism, and ponders "sticky" traditions that cannot be erased.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bill Bryson channels Margaret Mead

  • By John S. on 09-01-14

Capturing the essence of Indonesia

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-16

What made the experience of listening to Indonesia, Etc. the most enjoyable?

If you want to know, I mean really start to know Indonesia this book is a great place to start. It wont tell you everything, no book can. What it does do is give you a varied and in-depth information about the people, politics, and culture of Indonesia. I dare say no other book provides such an accurate snapshot of Indonesian culture. The author is informed, non-judgmental, and has the years of experience necessary to explain some of the nuances of the culture.

What does Jan Cramer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A good narrator that fits ones impressions and expectations of the the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Into Africa

  • Africa by Motorcycle - Every Day an Adventure
  • By: Sam Manicom
  • Narrated by: Sam Manicom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168

A liberating motorcycle journey through Africa with descriptions of the amazing people and places, the joy of big skies and the open road, and the sometimes harrowing events that would shape destiny. Into Africa tells the story of a novice motorcyclist who takes on the challenge of riding the length of the continent just because, 'it seemed like a great idea’.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Living a Dream

  • By Paul V Hoffman on 05-31-17

Another great travelogue by Sam Manicom

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-26-14

Would you listen to Into Africa again? Why?

I have listened to, read, and watched most books, audiobooks, and videos on long distance motorcycle riding. Mr. Manicom's books rate as some of the best, possibly the best, in the genre. They are definitely the best on Audible. So, yes, I would listen to them again.

I listened to his books our of order, that is to say I listened to his second book first, then this one which is his first. This book was excellent as well but I found the second one "Under Asian Skies" to be more entertaining. I feel he matured as a writer and as a rider, but again both are superb.

This story is very compelling and, had I not read so many other books covering long distance riding in Africa, I would give it 5 stars. Its still better than the other books as a story. Mr Manicom is very good and telling the story of the lands he is in and seems genuinely curious about the cultures and people he meets. His descriptions are typically more vivid than others in the genre. One comes away with a sense of the beauty, smells, and feel of a place. He also comes across as a very likable chap, not cocky like some riders/authors and not rushing to the finish line like others. He is honest about his abilities and skills and the listener sees him grow in many ways as the journey progresses.

He is also a superb narrator so one doesn't get "ear tired" from listening to the story. He is as good as a professional narrator.

What does Sam Manicom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is sort of a likeable everyman. Some long distance riders try to portray themselves as some globe trotting adventurous supermen just one step down from James Bond. Mr. Manicom humanizes the journey and is a sympathetic figure. He also makes better use of adjectives and you walk away with a better feel of the places he visits when compared to other travelogues.

Any additional comments?

To be quite honest the Africa route has been done to death. Its an amazing, huge, and diverse continent but I have found the books to be very similar. It is easily the #1 route to write about for long distance riders. This is my 7th book I have read/listened to that covers long distance riding in Africa and almost all have taken the same route. That on top of the countless blogs that cover the subject. That is not to say it isn't a HUGE accomplishment or worth doing, but as a listener/reader I appreciated his second book much more as the route was far less common to read about.

He has written 2 other travelogues "Distant Suns" and "Tortillas to Totems" which I hope come to Audible.

  • Billy Connolly's Route 66

  • The Big Yin on the Ultimate American Road Trip
  • By: Billy Connolly
  • Narrated by: James McPherson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Billy Connolly, music-lover, biker, and scourge of the beige and bland the world over, has dreamed about taking a trip on the legendary Route 66 since he first heard Chuck Berry belting out one of the greatest rock 'n' roll records of all time. And now he's finally had the chance to do it, heading out on his custom-made trike in search of the real America that can still be found beyond the nation's freeways.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A well performed, good story + some nonsense

  • By Brad Safranski on 03-20-18

Rediscovering America.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-21-14

Where does Billy Connolly's Route 66 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would like to give this book 3.5 stars but since Audible doesn't allow that I will bump it up to 4. I am a huge Billy Connolly fan and was quite let down that he wasn't the narrator. His accent and trademark infectious enthusiasm would have bolstered this book quite a bit. The narrator wasn't bad, I was just left thinking Mr Connolly would have been better......nay perfect!

Mr. Connolly has an interesting way of looking at things. His viewpoint and the fact that he is coming from another land and background really sheds some unique light on the American road trip experience. It made me look and think about my country in a different way, at least for a moment.

What three words best describe James McPherson’s performance?

It was a good performance, but the author is a famous comedian with a wonderful accent and intonation. It would have been nice to hear his words in his voice. I would listen to other books by this narrator.

Any additional comments?

Its an interesting listen. The book has humor and levity. He meets a wide variety of people and has experiences to match. I think the book could have been/should have been longer. I would be interested in more travel book written from his point of view.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Life, on the Line

  • A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat
  • By: Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 286

In 2007 chef Grant Achatz seemingly had it made. He had been named one of the best new chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2002, received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 2003, and in 2005 he and Nick Kokonas opened the conceptually radical restaurant Alinea, which was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine. Then, Achatz was diagnosed with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma - tongue cancer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Tasteless World?

  • By Exec. Chef 'Special K' on 03-18-14

Amazing Chef, book less so.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would take out most of the Nick Kokonas parts and delve more into Chef Achatz motivations and experiences. There is a lot of story there and I felt like the reader didnt get as much as they could have. Nick's story is pretty standard and other than being quite a self promoter, it was unremarkable and relatively uninteresting. The interesting parts of Mr. Kokonas' story could be covered in half a chapter or as a footnote.

Which scene was your favorite?

Chapters 7-9 are absolutely brilliant. You see Chef Achatz growing and have his "aha" moment. It gives some insight into Chef Keller's way of running a kitchen and you see what Grant learned from him.

Any additional comments?

Considering what Chef Achatz has been through I expected the book to be just his story, a true autobiography. I bought it without reading the reviews or jackat based purely on his reputation and skill. Truth be told the book is about 60% Chef Achatz autobiography and 40% Mr. Kokonas vanity project.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Tune In Tokyo

  • The Gaijin Diaries
  • By: Tim Anderson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 177

Everyone wants to escape their boring, stagnant lives full of inertia and regret. But so few people actually have the bravery to run - run away from everything and selflessly seek out personal fulfillment on the other side of the world where they don’t understand anything and won’t be expected to. The world is full of cowards. Tim Anderson was pushing 30 and working a string of dead-end jobs when he made the spontaneous decision to pack his bags and move to Japan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tune In Tokyo- a very enjoyable memior

  • By JOSEPH on 10-18-12

Accurate description s of living/teaching abroad

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-14

Where does Tune In Tokyo rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The book started a bit slow but really built into something fascinating. Interesting as a travel book but more interesting to those that have lived and taught abroad or have aspirations to do so. There are great descriptions of teaching both in suburban and urban areas, The logistics of living in Japan, the nightlife, the people, and the types of students one encounters. There are also many interesting social interactions outside of class from bars, to music lessons, to bands, and more.

What did you like best about this story?

100% accurate descriptions of the type of people and often odd personalities that are attracted to teaching in Japan. I was laughing at loud and groaning at many of the descriptions as they matched perfectly with people I have experienced in Japan. The author doesn't pull any punches with the social misfits, losers, drunks, and _________ that think Japan will be the answer to their lack of social skills in their home country.

What about MacLeod Andrews’s performance did you like?

The author had a slight southern accent which matches the authors southern roots. One felt it could have been the author reading the book.

  • The Backpacker

  • By: John Harris
  • Narrated by: Tom Lawrence
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

John’s trip to India starts badly when he finds himself looking at the sharp end of a knife in a train station cubicle. His life is saved by the enigmatic Rick, who persuades John to abandon his mundane plans for the future for much, much more. Fast forward to the Thai island of Koh Pha-Ngan where they pose as millionaire aristocrats in a hedonistic Eden of beautiful girls, free drugs and wild beach parties. Soon pursued by Thai Mafia, they escape to Indonesia, Australia, and Hong Kong, facing danger at every turn.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Gave up

  • By bionichands on 01-18-12

"A Million Little Pieces" of travel books.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-14

Would you try another book from John Harris and/or Tom Lawrence?

The narrator Tom Lawrence was very good, I would easily listen to another performance. The author John Harris is better at fiction/semi-fiction than reality.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The book is a retelling of a story in that age old pub fashion/fishing story. A small little adventure blossomed into a grand story with the retelling. The teller may think it really happened that way but the reality is likely much more sedate. Much like James Frey and his "A Million Little Pieces", there is a lot of embellishment in a story branded as non-fiction. It is an entertaining read though, just not true to the non fiction travel genre.

What does Tom Lawrence bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Its an all around great performance. His voice matched the mental picture of the protagonist in the story. He is properly emphatic when the story calls for it.

  • Under Asian Skies

  • Australia to Europe by Motorcycle - an Enthralling Journey Through One of the World's Most Colourful and Diverse Regions
  • By: Sam Manicom
  • Narrated by: Sam Manicom
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

In Sam’s second book, Under Asian Skies, you'll find yourself immersed in an enchanting mix of drama, majesty, laughter, mystery, love, and his usual disasters. Sometimes a traveller's plans simply don't work out as intended, but for Sam every mishap is the beginning of a unique adventure; silver linings do exist. You'll travel on a journey across the vastness of Australia, through the twists and turns of New Zealand, and on up into the exotic lands of Southeast Asia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Bridge Between Humanity and Adventure.

  • By Jim Foreman on 07-21-14

A suprise, well written and engrossing travel bio.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-14

Where does Under Asian Skies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I chose this book out of boredom and past interests. Because I have listened to or read most other modern travel narratives, this popped up on my recommended list. I am certainly glad it did as it is a real sleeper.

I have read the other motorcycle distance travel books from Ted Simon, Helge Pedersen, Glen Heggstad, Allen Noren and of course the ubiquitous Long Way Down/Round (among others). Ted Simon set the bar for me but this book is in second place. Distance riders can get too caught up in the task of riding and forget or gloss over the experiences, people, and food they encounter. Mr. Manicom is more about the experiences than the journey and will often hop off his bike, even for weeks at a time, to experience things. Many other writers instill a sense of urgency, like they must keep the bike pointed at the end of the journey, not so here. He does a very good job of describing the things you see and the reader is often sucked in and experiences it with the author. There are great descriptions of sights, smells, people, social mores and customs. The food descriptions are the only thing lacking but, as a chef, food is more important to me than many others so its a small niggle.

What did you like best about this story?

Its a bit different than other motorcycle books. The majority of the other narratives take place in Africa, so one feels like that route has been done to death. I realize Africa is a fascinating and diverse continent but I have literally read 6 motorcycle adventure travel books based there. The Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, etc journey was a nice twist not seen in other books of the genre. Its nice to see variety.

Have you listened to any of Sam Manicom’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He does a great job with the performance, I was actually surprised the author was such a good narrator. He has a pleasant voice and was very professional in his performance.

  • One More Day Everywhere

  • Crossing Fifty Borders on the Road to Global Understanding
  • By: Glen Heggstad
  • Narrated by: John Morgan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65

In 2001, martial arts-trained biker Glen Heggstad began a journey from California to the tip of South America on his motorcycle and made it as far as Colombia, where he was kidnapped by local rebels and held captive. Undeterred by more than a month of traumatic incarceration, the 'Striking Viking' finished his trip after being released. Three years later he set out into the world on his bike again, this time searching for truth on his own terms in a world that had become strangled by a climate of fear.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A 'true' adventurer

  • By Mallik Kovuri on 10-29-16

A must read for someone attempting a distance ride

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-14

What made the experience of listening to One More Day Everywhere the most enjoyable?

As someone who has ridden across borders, although not nearly to the same extent, I found his descriptions of the process, and of cycling very accurate.

Would you recommend One More Day Everywhere to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommend it highly to someone that REALLY is going to do/ has done a long distance ride. It is superb prep for the hassles and paperwork you will experience. I would not necessarily recommend it to someone just looking for a travel book to take you away. There are not many descriptions of the people, culture, and foods. This book is more about the journey as an accomplishment. As a travel narrative it is 2 stars, as a distance motorcycle guide it is 5 stars.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are some good descriptions of his experiences in parts of Africa.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen, 2 hours at a time, when riding my bicycle ion the mornings.

Any additional comments?

Mr Heggstad is the real deal when it comes to motorcycle riding. A few of his martial arts analogies make one roll their eyes like that one friend we have that is into martial arts and talks too much about it. That being said he gives a superb and accurate glimpse into what to expect with your bike, what happens at border crossings, and the bureaucracy of it all. He is not a food lover and says as much and there aren't many vivid descriptions of people and the cultures he rides through. Its about a rider conquering and accomplishing a hard task. How to get from point a to point b. It is absolutely a must read for anyone thinking of doing the same.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful