Touching the World: A Blind Woman, Two Wheels and 25,000 Miles

Picture of the book front cover

Occasionally a truly inspirational event challenges people to question their own boundaries. In a story never before told one such case involves Cathy Birchall who set out on a motorcycle adventure to circle the world with her companion Bernard Smith. However, what makes this event truly extraordinary and totally unique is the fact that Cathy Birchall was completely blind.

The subsequent story of their voyage – now available in print, ebook, and audio book formats – has been widely critically acclaimed as ‘a literary jewel’ (Family Book Review) involving a heart warming, humorous, and emotionally honest tale. Other writer’s and reviews have said:

….an incredible and inspirational story.” Ted Simon, author of Jupiter’s Travels

….terrific, inherently interesting. Dan Walsh, author of Endless Horizon

An incredible undertaking, narrated with fantastic honesty, illustrating the emotional heights and depths overlanding can occasion. Overland Magazine

You can read further literary reviews by following this link.

Motorcycle Adventure and courage all the way…

From riding through India to mounting elephants in Nepal and being the first blind person to climb Huayna Picchu in Peru, Touching the World will take you on a journey of extraordinary beauty and interest. As one literary review noted “There can only be one first and this is it”, involving a journey never before attempted, one considered by many to be too dangerous to even attempt.

“Men do not want you if you are blind. Why would you want to be with a blind woman?” Bernard is asked at the Centre for Blind Women in Delhi as heart wrenching cultural differences are discovered where a blind woman is considered to be doubly afflicted and worthless.

Meanwhile across the miles their old BMW motorcycle keeps breaking down as it grinds to a halt again and again but with the help and unwavering kindness from strangers the journey continues onwards. From border guards guiding Cathy’s hand to the bike to anchor her in a strange place, to a trucker called Glen helping repair the motorcycle in the Australian desert, the natural generosity of people across the world is vividly portrayed in this wonderful tale of humanity

The resulting story told in Touching The World challenges perceptions and prejudices in a profoundly moving and unfolding love story between two people merely trying to survive against the odds.

Orders - You can find Touching the World through all the major suppliers (AmazonWH Smith and Waterstones) and independent suppliers, and it is available in print, e-book and in Audio Book versions. Within the UK you can order postage free signed print copies by using the following link.
Please note personalised Gift Message section.


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Extract from Press Release dated February 2013.

“Six weeks after returning to the UK Cathy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite a long period of medical intervention her illness sadly progressed to become terminal. Cathy and Bernard were eventually married on the 20th August 2012, one day after her palliative treatment was completed. 

They remained inseparable until Cathy passed away 165 days later at 4.55pm on 31st January 2013.”

Bernard is currently writing ‘Chasing Demons: 189 days to say goodbye’, the tale of their final days together and his subsequent motorcycle flight of 14 months. It is the tale of the hardest journey of them all, involving looking for a person still lost within the trauma of those 189 days; himself. 

And yes.

He still rides Bertha.