Damien has been following adventure blogs and writers for a few years. One such writer and life adventurer is Francis Tapon.
A couple years ago our family listened to Francis' first book Hike Your Own Hike. Listening to that book came at a very important time in our family life. We had made the decision to leave the familiarity and security of our home and steady employment in the United States to return to Canada, to have the freedom to pursue our family dreams.
It was a lonely time in our lives. The decision to leave what you know and head into the unknown. To pull back from relationships and community ties to start over again.
Francis' book encouraged us that this is our life and we get to choose how we want to live it. We're "allowed" to pursue our dreams (yes, even with three growing children we need to feed) and walk our own path. By the way, so are you.
The Hidden Europe takes a different turn from Hike Your Own Hike. The best way I can describe it is as an intimate travel memoir with personal growth lessons and application. The Hidden Europe is not just a "I went to Romania and this is what I saw" travel book. It's jam packed with the history, geography and linguistic details of eastern Europe. In short, it's a book about the about culture of eastern Europe. And the lessons that culture can teach us.
I found this fascinating. Eastern Europe is not hidden to me the way it is to many people. Our family roots, on both sides, are in parts of eastern Europe so I'm not completely ignorant of the area. But the communist influence during the second half of the 20th century certainly hid large parts of this culturally-rich area from most of the world's attention.
With communism no longer the dominant influence in eastern Europe, the world is re-discovering this region. Francis' book is a great place to start.
If you decide to discover eastern Europe for yourself with Francis' book you should know it's not your typical travel book. Remember how I described it as an "intimate travel memoir", I mean intimate. Whereas we listened to Francis' first book, Hike Your Own Hike as a family, The Hidden Europe will not be reading material for our kids till they are, well, not kids. I found some of it too revealing for my tastes in a non-fiction travel book. But this is Francis' style - humorous, honest and forthright. I appreciate that about his writing. I just wish he wouldn't take that candor into the bedroom.
Reading The Hidden Europe did something unexpected to me - it made me want to visit eastern Europe. I think that may have been Francis' intent.
The Hidden Europe expanded my understanding of the world. I love learning and I love it when you can study culture and history is such an engaging manner. This is not a dry text book or travelogue.
You can buy an inexpensive Kindle version of the book on Amazon or you can visit Francis' site to download free chapters, watch videos, etc.
Or even better, on Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) you can get both of Francis' books free on Kindle. Yep, both books free. Seriously folks if you're reading this post the day it's published - go download both the books for your Kindle. Don't have a Kindle? I think those might on sale today also.All images © Francis Tapon