• We Came, We Saw, We Left

  • A Family Gap Year
  • By: Charles Wheelan
  • Narrated by: P.J. Ochlan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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We Came, We Saw, We Left  By  cover art

We Came, We Saw, We Left

By: Charles Wheelan
Narrated by: P.J. Ochlan
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Publisher's Summary

Charlie Wheelan and his family do what others dream of: They take a year off to travel the world. This is their story.

What would happen if you quit your life for a year? In a pre-COVID-19 world, the Wheelan family decided to find out; leaving behind work, school, and even the family dogs to travel the world on a modest budget. Equal parts "how-to" and "how-not-to" - and with an eye toward a world emerging from a pandemic - We Came, We Saw, We Left is the insightful and often hilarious account of one family's gap-year experiment.

Wheelan paints a picture of adventure and connectivity, juggling themes of local politics, global economics, and family dynamics while exploring answers to questions like: How do you sneak out of a Peruvian town that has been barricaded by the local army? And where can you get treatment for a flesh-eating bacteria your daughter picked up two continents ago? From Colombia to Cambodia, We Came, We Saw, We Left chronicles nine months across six continents with three teenagers. What could go wrong?

©2021 Charles Wheelan (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about We Came, We Saw, We Left

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  • Overall
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  • TM
  • 03-18-21

Can’t Do It

Narration: detached, irritatingly upbeat, think radio commercial

Story: rich family, have some mildly interesting stories to tell after pretending to be low income all over the world - with REAL people. Unlistenable (for me). It’s great that you are in a position to arrange for your daughter to have lunch with a famous economist, but that does not make for an entertaining book!!

4 people found this helpful

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Can’t listen to person reading

Maybe a good story but can’t listen to the person reading… weird inflections while reading

1 person found this helpful

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Narration woes

This is a great story and I really wish a different narrator would have been chosen.

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Great read. Loved it.

I started this book after listening to Jessica Nabongo's, "The Catch Me If You Can, one woman's journey to every country in the world. I love these travel venture stories. I'm a traveler myself and have some of these places on my bucket list.

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Hard to empathize with, hard to listen to

I really tried to like it. I have been fortunate enough to travel overseas with my wife and small children, and was hoping for a kindred spirit. I understand that the author is a brilliant academic and gifted writer, but neither this book nor the narration does him credit.

First, the narration sounds like a game show host, almost audibly smirking as he intones his way through the Wheelan family adventures. Friends declared it unlistenable, but I soldiered on, trying to listen past that, to empathize with the text itself.

But the author seems to delight in tormenting his children, insisting on giving them unwanted nicknames ("She reacted poorly to this, so of course, from then on I insisted on calling her "Scoop"), trying to publicly embarrass them (Whispering loudly in a clinic, "Don't tell them you have a venereal disease"), or tormenting them in private (convincing the diving instructor to tell his 13-year-old son that if he surfaces too quickly with an erection, his penis will explode. Then forgetting to ever tell his son that it was a joke).

And the stories themselves felt disconnected: (paraphrasing here) "It was heartbreaking to contemplate the statue of those chained women that so movingly captured the depravity of the Zanzibar slave trade. Then we went on to the resort to play on the beach and scuba dive." It felt like there was no emotional follow-through, no lessons learned in place. Later in the book they go to India, where the son CJ (Charles junior, I presume) becomes obsessed with environmental destruction. Then to Dubai, where they ogle the immense mall and indoor ski area, with nary a remark on the cognitive dissonance between the two.

It just felt like so many missed opportunities.

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This Book is Terrific!

I enjoyed this audiobookso much that I bought the print version to enjoy again (then I bought another book by the same author). Funny. Sarcastic. Insightful. Clever. A delightful read, simply put. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys traveling or, even if you don't, you can live vicariously through "Team Wheelan" and their numerous misadventures!

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Great story, bad narration

The story, humor, and flow of the book was great. I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the Wheelan family travels. I wish the narration had been by the author or someone who would sound more conversational and less like a radio DJ or game show host - his vocal inflection was cringy.

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Delightful entertainment

But not so light that you don’t come away feeling that you learned something about the numerous places this delightful family visited. I was jealous upon thinking about what a good time was had by everyone in the family. Perhaps this book is also a lesson on how to travel on the cheap but with the family and you all get along at least enough to make the trip feel good.

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A trip you won’t forget!

This book is pretty cool. I would have loved to tour the world with my family but never had the means to do it. Some of the experiences would be exactly what would have happened to me.
Thank you for sharing.
Josh