Miles From Nowhere-Travel

I just finished the travel book Miles From Nowhere by Barbara Savage. I think it is one of the best travel books I have ever read and I have read quite a few. Barbara and her husband Larry decide to ride their bicycles around the world in 1978 and 1979. They begin from their home in Santa Barbara, California and head north to Victoria Island in Canada. They ride across Canada, down the east coast of the USA then leave for Europe. From Europe they head to Egypt, India, Malaysia and finally New Zealand before going home again

In the end they travelled 22,000 miles. What is so interesting about this book is that it was written 40 years ago. Long before the internet and looking everything up on google. They describe hardship, joy and weather as if the reader is right beside them experiencing everything.

They don’t shy away from their extremely difficult experiences travelling, especially in Egypt at the time. They go days with little food at times, get incredibly sick; they camp out most of the time unless it wasn’t safe. They ride through extreme heat, cold and even snow.

The fact they stayed together as a married couple and actually survived this trip was admirable. Several times they were in very dangerous circumstances. They shared their joy at travelling in New Zealand.

The reader is introduced to many people, places and the most interesting owners of accommodation and cafes.

It is a book that is hard to put down but the most moving part of this book (and this is not a spoiler as it was stated at the very beginning) is when, once home again, after all their experiences, Barbara is training for a marathon on her bicycle, is hit by a car and dies of a head injury. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

She wrote her book once home and sent it to the publisher just before 1983, then was killed and never saw it published. Her husband Larry made sure it was published and I later learned he remarried again in 1985. This couple went through so much together I couldn’t believe it once I finished and reflected on her death.

I would give this book a 5 star rating. There is enough history but not too much, enough suspense, enough joy balanced throughout. If you like travel writing I cannot recommend this book enough.

20 thoughts on “Miles From Nowhere-Travel

  1. I have to track this one down, I guess it just shows you should live life to the full while you can.


  2. i’ll read this book: i’m a fan of round the world bike trips and i never heard of this one… it sounds amazing… cars are the very pits for cyclists. i ride a lot, about fifty miles a week, and have had some close calls. some drivers, when they get behind the wheel, seem to lose all sense of otherness. the bike rider has to keep his eyes open and know what’s happening for 360 degrees around him… how tragic she died that way. i’ve often fantasized and dreamed about a future in which cars are eliminated and every one pedals!


  3. An extraordinary achievement both physically and emotionally. This couple must have been remarkable to cope with both. Planning such a trip now would be hard even with the internet but at the time they did it, they wouldn’t know if there was trouble in any of the countries to which they were heading .

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      1. they remind me of the couple in a book called The Salt Path – they were made homeless and decided to walk a long distance coastal path even though the husband had just been diagnosed with a serious brain condition

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