Pedalling to Hawaii by Stevie Smith Review

pedalling to hawaii

A few months ago I became fascinated by the amazing journey that Steve and Jason took around the world. They set out to be the first people to circumnavigate the planet purely by human power. Described as “a journey of great courage and determination” by the Dalai Lama, this has to be one of the greatest adventures of the twentieth century. After thoroughly enjoying reading the eloquent words of Jason as he described the first stage of his journey, I thought it would provide a poignant view if I were to also read about the expedition through the eyes of Steve.

I was amazed just how different the tales were. Yes of course they both tell the story of two men planning and undertaking one of the greatest and toughest expeditions of our generation. However they go about the story telling in very different ways. I think this is reflective of their different personalities, and different ways of going about accomplishing tasks. As although they both get on well as good friends there are moments, especially during the first ocean crossing of the Atlantic, where their friendship is tested to the extreme.

This book was published long before Jason’s so perhaps it would have made more sense to have read it first. This book was actually published before Jason had finished his human-powered circumnavigation of the world, a journey that took him 13 years to complete. I feel that Steve’s rendition of the tale was more true to the actual events as it focuses a lot more on the times during their expedition when they weren’t travelling. In this sense it is eye opening as it shows how it is not so easy to just pack up your bags and leave everything behind. In fact Steve found that he was faced with huge debts undertaking such a large expedition. With an ever-lasting search for a sponsor they had to spend vast amounts of time raising enough funds so that they could afford to pay off their creditors and continue with the next stage of their journey. This quite understandably was not the utopian idea of a life on the road that they had envisaged. However through meeting amazing helpful people in each place they visited they were willed on to succeed. They learnt many lessons on the road, about themselves and about what they wished to do with their lives. It was truly a journey of self-discovery where the destination is not important, as it is the journey that matters.

I found this book utterly compelling as it offered a great new perspective on an expedition that I am in awe of. However although it kept me gripped from cover to cover I felt it was not as well written as Jason’s account. Unfortunately I feel I must make this comparison as not everyone will want to read both books. Although I found Steve’s book easier to read, I feel Jason was able to better re-live the expedition with the reader. Therefore I rate this book:

4/5

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