Book review: Falling Uphill
Part 1: Causes for the ride, warm up across the USA
Some individuals sip from the well-spring of life. A few dip their toes into life’s waters to test the temperature. Others tip the entire world into their lives while gulping every last drop of adventure into their beings.
For most of us humans, great tragedy causes us to change course in life: death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, loss of a best friend and war.
Scott Stoll, author of Falling Uphill, lost his job and lady within moments of each other. Like many of us, he ran the corporate ladder, drove the nice car and enjoyed a steady income. But when that scenario hit the bricks, he hit the road.
J.K Rowling, author of Harry Potter, said, “Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
Falling Uphill rivets you to your own bicycle seat on a 25,742 mile, 50 country, four year trip across six continents. When Scott sweats, you sweat. When he fears for his life along the savannahs of Africa, you feel a chill run up your spine as a rogue elephant chases you through the bush. When he meets a gentle woman along the way, you meet her, too. And, the characters, good grief, you cannot forget the characters you meet along the highway.
Like anyone on an adventure, you confront self-doubt, loneliness and questions about your existence. On Scott’s expedition, he engages four moments of enlightenment. Additionally, he pursues the tale with a unique presentation, which of course, rendered the title of the book. Not only will you travel the world, but you will appreciate some unique emotional moments of understanding.
“During my long years of meditative cycling, despite moments of agony, months of chronic pain, illness, injury and overexposure, I realized my journey was many times more joyful than painful,” said Stoll. “Ironically, I discovered it was my misadventures that forged my character and revealed my truer self, like suffering from heat exhaustion and realizing everything I own was worth one glass of water, and if I had one wish before I died, it would be to say goodbye to the ones I loved. And like standing on mountain tops, I realized my entire knowledge and belief system didn’t work anymore. I discovered it was possible to survive with a totally different concept of reality.”
Why might this book review be unique? First of all, I have cycled across six continents, too. I felt the same things and suffered, too. I visited the same places and realized what Stoll realized—very much with a similar pattern of understanding. We share a kindred spirit for the “Zen of the Crank.”
That’s why I feel this bicycle adventure book represents one of the best I have ever read. Stoll sucker punches you with humor when you least expect it. Subtle, dry, funny! You’re sure to relate the tale to your office mates the next day.
Right off the front page, you see one devil of a beleaguered bicycle loaded with gear and spare tires, so much so, it looks like an overloaded donkey left on a rocky trail. Strangers asked Stoll, “Why are you riding a bicycle around the world?”
From that point, you discover why he decided to launch on his improbable journey into foreign cultures, languages, extreme temperatures and the unknown.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
Stoll discovers a fellow touring rider on his test ride coast to coast while pedaling through the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
“Scott, were you serious when you said you wanted to bicycle around the world,” asked Dennis, the touring cyclist.
“Of course, I’m serious,” replied Scott.
A friend named Vilma said, “Why don’t you guys just go sit on a beach in Mexico and have the cabana girls bring you umbrella drinks everyday for four years?”
As it happened, Dennis spurred Scott to make the ride around the world.
They worked, saved money, planned the route, made preparations, purchased needed panniers and added their camping gear.
The first section of the book deals with “Survival.” El Sadat said, “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.”
No question about life: you must make a decision to live it fully or slobber through it. Most folks, 9 to 5, stagger through it with a promise to travel the world when they retire. Harsh reality: the average retiree dies within five years of finishing his last day at work after a 40 year working trudge.
Stoll said to a question as to why he bicycled around the world, “To do something never done before. To see the world. A spiritual journey. A coming of age quest. Because I can’t stand being a rat in a cubicle maze, and I had nothing better to do.”
Stoll offers you an opportunity to discover your own quest whatever it might entail. You might quest to become an artist, singer, parent or athlete. Choose it and put every cell of your body into it. Create your passion. Live it!
Part 2: Questing
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America. His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com