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 year-long 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 is completely blind. The subsequent story of their voyage – now available in print, ebook, and audio book formats – has been widely critically acclaimed as being heart warming, humorous, and emotionally honest.

Cathy’s courage has been truly inspirational.”  Stephen Remington, CEO, Action for Blind People.

….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

Motorcycle Adventure and courage all the way…

From riding through Indian cities, mounting elephants in Nepal, to 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 which is full of surprises. In fact, it is a totally unique book as there can only be one first involving a journey never before attempted, a journey many considered too dangerous to even be attempted.

“Men do not want you if you are blind, why would you want to be with a blind woman?” asks Neena at the Centre for Blind Women in Delhi as Cathy and Bernard experience some heart wrenching cultural differences where a blind woman is considered doubly afflicted and worthless. Across the miles their old BMW motorcycle keeps breaking down and you feel for Bernard as the bike grinds to a halt again and again. But somehow he manages to keep the bike going and in this they were often helped by the unwavering kindness of strangers. 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 Nullarbor desert, the natural generosity of people across the world is vividly portrayed.

The resulting story told in Touching The World challenges the perceptions of boundaries and vividly portrays the ability of the human spirit to transcend almost any difficulty in a profoundly moving and unfolding love story between two people trying to survive.

You can read reviews by following this link.

Orders - You can find Touching the World through all the major suppliers (AmazonWH Smith and Waterstones) along with independent suppliers. It is currently available in print, e-book and in Audio Book versions. You can also order signed print copies direct from Panther Publishing.

Published 20th August 2012

Extract from Press Release dated February 2013.

“Six weeks after returning to the UK Cathy Birchall 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, as always, inseparable until Cathy passed away 165 days later in Warrington at 4.55pm on 31st January 2013.”

Bernard is currently writing a second book entitled ‘Chasing Demons: 189 days to say goodbye’ which recounts his 14 months road journey across another 25,000 miles following Cathy’s death.

He still rides old Bertha and, no doubt, will be somewhere on the road even as you read this …..