One Year Lived - Adam Shepard Book Review

Apr 17, 2013 -

One Year Lived - Book Review

Maybe I need a year to live a little.

About the Adam Shepard, Author
Attending Merrimack College in North Andover, MA on a basketball scholarship, Adam Shepard graduated with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. Serving as a Resident Advisor during his upperclassmen years, he began to take particular interest in the social issues of our nation. Shortly after graduation—with almost literally $25 to his name—Shepard departed his home state for Charleston, SC, embarking on the journey that became his successful first book, Scratch Beginnings.
After a whirlwind journey that took his self-published book to the Today Show, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, he sold Scratch Beginnings to HarperCollins and made appearances on the Dave Ramsey Show and 20/20. He was likewise featured in the The New York Times, the New York Post, The Atlantic, and The Christian Science Monitor, and Scratch Beginnings has now been used on the curriculum or as a First Year Common Read at over 90 colleges and universities in the United States and translated across the world.

What is it about?

A few years back, a North Carolina native left his comfortable home and embarked on an amazing adventure. Not only did he get to see the world, but also brought back countless priceless memories. Having spent just $19,420.68, Adam Shepard visited visited seventeen countries on four continents in just under one year.

He didn't hate his job. He didn't have disdain for capitalism. No, he wasn't looking to escape emptiness nor was he searching for "meaning". Prior to the trip, his life was relatively normal. He wanted to see things and create a few memories before working the rest of his life in a career, getting married, and having kids. 

Shepard's journey took him to Antigua in the Caribbean, Honduras, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Spain, and finally Slovakia.

Throughout the book, the author provides insight into his life prior to the trip and how be became the person he was on the trip. He goes into his family life and his past as a basketball player. In addition, throughout his trip, he offers historical insight on the different countries he was at.

What is great about it?

Shepard inspires the reader to broaden his or her horizon and perspective on life. Through his excellent descriptive writing, the author makes you feel as if you were with him on his journey. Not only did he meet interesting people, but he also shares his greater appreciation for those around him. Although he came back with no money, he came back with a boat load of memories and extraordinary experiences. 

Shepard shares with the audience a number of his experiences including how he got robbed, survived a bull in Nicaragua and a pregnancy scare in Australia; went to the Rigoletto in Prague, danced in a cage at a gay club in Barcelona, got a tattoo in Thailand, rode an elephant, and so much more.

Embedded in this great travel story that started off as a trip volunteering in Central America, is him meeting "The girl", Ivana. He and her embark on the second leg of the trip beginning in Granada.

Here is an excerpt:

As I stepped out of baggage claim, I spotted the shuttle driver standing off to the side. He held a sign with my name on it and, as I approached, tucked it under one arm in order to shake my hand.
“Welcome!” he said in Spanish. “Welcome!” I said, returning the greeting.
He drove me out of Guatemala City in a rusty van that hacked and coughed its way from side street to main artery, bound for Antigua. It wasn’t the dark of the night or the wheezing of the truck that raised my eyebrows. It was the grunginess of this world surrounding me.
Something isn’t right. How did I get here?
I had committed to the trip, to a year that I’d never have back, and I’d bragged to my friends and family: “I can’t be dissuaded. Get out of my way.” I couldn’t back out. I didn’t want to become like everybody else who says they’re going to take a trip like this.
Then came the question: “Where to?”
I bought a world map, spread it on the wall, and peppered the drywall with the pinholes of notes posted and removed. I read this book and that blog post and—oh, my, it says right here in this magazine that I absolutely shouldn’t skip hiking through Patagonia. I quizzed well-traveled friends about their favorite spots; I posted on Facebook, where I got thirty-eight varying responses from twenty-seven people.

This book really makes you want to jump out of your seat and plan your next travel trip.

What is the not so great about it?

Shepard does touch upon the history of each country he travels to, which provides background behind his activities. Quite frankly, the "history lessons" within the book were bland. If I wanted to read about the Aborigine in Australia and what happened in 1869 or the history of the Mayans, I probably would've just opened up my old history textbook. However, to his credit, they were brief and for most readers might be necessary, personally, I didn't care for them as much.

What is your final recommendation?

Not only is Adam's book inspirational, it actually makes you want to go out there and travel. He does a great job detailing his experiences. Even if you aren't an international traveler or don't see yourself as one, a weekend local trip or out of state trip can broaden your perspective. The point is get out there and get the book now!

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