• The Wonder Trail

  • True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World
  • By: Steve Hely
  • Narrated by: Steve Hely
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-14-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

Regular price: $24.50

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Publisher's Summary

Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make listeners want to reach for their backpacks and hiking boots.

The Wonder Trail is the story of Steve's trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of South America, presented in 102 short chapters. The trip was ambitious - Steve traveled through Mexico City, ancient Mayan ruins, and the jungles, coffee plantations, and remote beaches of Central America; across the Panama Canal; by sea to Colombia; to the wild Easter celebration of Popayán; to the Amazon rainforest, the Inca sites of Cuzco and Machu Picchu; to the Galápagos Islands and the Atacama Desert of Chile; and down to the jagged and wind-worn land of Patagonia at the very end of the Western Hemisphere.

Steve's plan was to discover the weird, wonderful, and absurd in Central and South America, to seek and find the incredible, delightful people and experiences that came his way. And the book that resulted is just as fun. A blend of travel writing, history, and comic memoir, The Wonder Trail will inspire, inform, and delight.

©2016 Steve Hely (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"With an authentic and self-effacing voice, author and narrator Steve Hely brings his sharp sense of humor to the task of describing his trip from Los Angeles to Punta Arenas.... He also does clever impressions of his guides and fellow travelers. He has read widely and does a good job pronouncing Spanish names and interpreting sites. Overall, his insights are entertaining, his audiobook whimsical and fun." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    64
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    38
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    21
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    3
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    7

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    80
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    21
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    14
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    3
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    6

Story

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

Got me excited to hear more

the way it was told and written always had me excited to keep listening. I would listen to it again and go on the trip to experience even a tenth of the tales.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Very well told Adventure

This is a book that may be even better told by the author than read by myself because of his humor. I enjoyed it beginning to end, although the history of places became a bit in depth and confusing at times. This was a very funny, entertaining and informative book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Enjoyable Story

His voice sounds like the guy that does the ads for Trader Joe's that you always hear on Pandora.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Doing too many drugs ???

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not very enthusiastically.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Humorous travel.

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

Speed.

Could you see The Wonder Trail being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Anyone willing to be on the screen for four minutes and abruptly the thought / scene is over.

Any additional comments?

With 120 chapters, most being 2- 5 minutes long and way too much time spent discussing the drug fueled partying, it was mostly gravy without the meat and potatoes, a meal but not fulfilling. Stops here and there with out the routes, travel, views, impressions and anything to make me feel I had taken a trip without having to wait in airports and lug a suitcase, and feeling smug that I traveled without the aches and pains and having to looking out for bedbugs.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

More of a history lesson than a travel book.

I really wanted to like this book. I tried and tried to continue to listen to it. When the author speaks about his own adventures it's good. Unfortunately that is a small small part of the book. He is mostly talking about other people's books and what they wrote about the areas he is visiting. If I wanted to know what someone else wrote I would read their book. It all just seems like filler to me. Maybe his book was to short so he had to add something to make it longer. At any rate it bogs down and takes away from his own adventure.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nichole
  • Elk Grove, CA, United States
  • 11-30-16

Hard to finish

I liked the author's laid back style. He seemed to know a lot about where he was going, but not sure how much of it was true. I wanted to like this book, but was hard to finish.

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

Excellent Writer

If you could sum up The Wonder Trail in three words, what would they be?

Well-written, interesting, informative

What about Steve Hely’s performance did you like?

Good pace kept story moving did not go too fast.

Any additional comments?

Want to read more of his books. Only downside of this book is he takes a long time to get to the actual trip spends a great deal of time talking about LA Boston and other things before actually getting to the trip.

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

A well researched and funny story

I was surprised how much history and back story was included in the book. Steve Hely comes of as incredibly invested in the world around him and they possible ways it has shaped the people and places he is visiting. This is not a backpackers story, he jumps from place to place in planes, but he takes the time to set up why he is going to each place. Steven explains what drew him there, which author or historic event sparked his interest, or how he met the person he is visiting. I enjoyed this because while educational it was also very entertaining.

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

I LOVED this book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wonder Trail to be better than the print version?

I love when the author reads the audio version of their own books because they know where to put the emphasis, know where to pause, and know where the punch line is supposed to go. So for that reason, I would say yes, the audio version is better than the print. Steve Hely did a fantastic job with this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it until the end.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wonder Trail?

I am American born, raised in Central America, so going through this journey with him, I could relate soo much to what he was seeing, experiencing, and it was so realistic and exact that I could imagine myself actually on this journey.

What about Steve Hely’s performance did you like?

He's a funny writer! And a great story teller too. As soon as I finished listening to The Wonder Trail, I came straight to audible.com to see what else he had done because he simply left me wanting more.

Any additional comments?

Great book, and listening to Steve's rendition of his own adventures made it so incredibly enjoyable. Would recommend to anyone!

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

Wondrous Wonder Trail

Maybe overboard on the five stars for overall, performance AND story. No, it's not. A book read by the author is a gift. And Hely has a great delivery. THat he had to likely rehearse how to get through some of his long sentences in one breath is just poetic justice. This book would be super on a road trip - but actually I listened while organizing my son's sock and tshirt drawers, canning tomatoes and doing other mundane house chores! This book ramped up our wanderlust and opened a whole new trove of historical interest that I'm embarrassed that I didn't know I didn't know. Shame on me for not being a better student of the Americas. This book helped. Enjoy it!