We’re pleased to welcome Mark Swain, one of our Helpline Advisors, to MoneyAware. He’s written this guest blogpost reviewing One Year Lived by Adam Shepard.
For a limited time only: Want to download the book One Year Lived by Adam Shepard for free? Scroll down! Otherwise, you can buy the paperbook/Kindle version from Amazon.
One Year Lived by Adam Shepherd is effectively a travel log, recording his year travelling around the world on less money than it would have cost for him to stay at home.
Throughout the year Shepard visits 17 countries relying on only his savings, bartering and whatever odd jobs came along.
Living the dream
It’s a dream for many people – ditch the day job and go off to see the world. However there’s always that overriding sense of responsibility that you need to pay the bills, work hard and not get into debt (or not get into further debt).
We tend to think of holidays and trips abroad as luxuries and a chance to let one’s hair down. These things cost money and take a lot of budgeting. How can we see the world when even a trip down the pub costs a lot?
Rather than go for the luxurious blowout, Adam Shepard adopts the premise that he’ll spend very little, working and bartering for goods along the way, aiming to spend as little as possible but still see the world.
Having saved a sum of money, which Adam estimates would have been the same he would have spent by spending a year at home, he undertook an ambitious and thought-provoking journey across the world, fully embracing the people and cultures of the places he visited.
People and places jump off the page
This book is most certainly a personal account of his expedition rather than being a Lonely Planet-style travel guide and is an account of the people he meets and the experiences he has along the way. With books of this type it’s important that the people and places jump off the page and that you, the reader, go with Shepard on this journey.
If that was the intention of the book I would say it mostly succeeds; his descriptions of the people he meets are always heartfelt and while it’s sometimes difficult to describe some of the amazingly beautiful scenery that he saw I’d say he’s done a good job of putting these down into words.
When writing a book like this the easy trap to fall into is to come across as arrogant or preachy about having undertaken this journey but Shepard never falls into that trap. The book is written in an easy to follow style and, at 288 pages, is by no means a slog.
However I did experience one niggle with Shepherd’s writing style, this being the use of ‘Americanisms’ throughout the novel. The author is from North Carolina and you have to take that into consideration; as a non-American it did sometimes get in the way of me enjoying the book.
One example of this is when Shepherd describes a football (well, soccer) game he attended in Guatemala. During this section he uses American terminology to describe the action: the game ends in a “tie” not a draw and the opposing team “advance” rather than attack. Given Shepherd is describing a sport being played in Latin America I expected the correct terminology to be used so as to better reflect the local culture. But that’s a small irritation.
Brings us along for the ride
However, ultimately the question is ‘Is this book worth reading?’ and on that point I have to say a resounding yes. It’s empowering but never condescending, uplifting while never being too sickly sweet. The man lived his dream and has brought us along for the ride, for that alone it deserves your attention.
Sound good? Click on the link below to get
One Year Lived by Adam Shepard (PDF, 289pp) for free
Not sure? Click to get a 4-page sample of
One Year Lived: A Penny Saved Yields a Journey Yearned
(Got a Kindle? Instructions on how to add a PDF to your Kindle are here).