As this journey was about so much more than motorcycles there has been a great deal of interest in many aspects of Catherine and Bernard’s 26,385 miles. You see, in many ways, they set out to show show how many things are truly possible if people only have enough belief. Encompassing a tale involving heartache, love, breakdowns, wonderful people, motorcycles and culture, their story works on so many different levels in terms of human interest. Simply put, many reviewers have understood the story is fundamentally about two people and their unique relationship. Indeed when people came across them on their journey the word ‘inspirational’ was used to describe what they had achieved alone and ‘out there’.
In its telling people have been moved on hearing of many of the things they encountered in an intimate story of surviving what many people termed an impossible and dangerous journey.
Even on their return little did they know how life was then going to throw them another curved ball to begin another long journey into the unknown………………..
5.0 out of 5 stars “Not your usual “Went there, did that” slant on travel….”
If you only ever want to read ONE motorcycle travel book, then this is that book….. it is …. a fabulous account of motorcycle travel written by someone who knows how to describe the nuances of daily life ……. I’m only sorry that I’m in the last few pages of the book, as I never want their journey to end!
5.0 out of 5 stars You just have to read it
Truly inspirational. You will have a preconceived idea what this book will be like – a blind woman traveling around the world pillion on a motorbike. Let me tell you that idea will be wrong. I was exhausted after reading about India, inspired after border crossings, frustrated when waiting on parts, excited and proud when Kathy make it to the top of Machu Picchu. I cherish this book and am doubly inspired to explore outside my comfort zone.
5.0 out of 5 stars “Fantastic and real”
This is a fantastic travel book – I loved the fact that both Cathy and Bernard were so real and open in their feelings which made the book for me……one of the best travel books I’ve read in a long time….I couldn’t put it down.
5.0 out of 5 stars “Touching the World”
At first glance of the cover, I have to ashamedly admit, I was not expecting this book to take a place on my bookshelf as the second favourite book that I have read in the last ten years…… (with) vivid descriptions of …. experiences ……. this book (is) inspirational, entertaining and a pleasurable read. ……. the honesty and detail of their story certainly touched my world. I am an avid reader of motorcycle travel books reading at least one a month but this is one of those rare publications where you are drawn into their private world and are taken along with them in their adventure. I don’t think a paragraph was read where I did not both laugh and cry.
5.0 out of 5 stars “As good as Ted Simon”
Touching the World is a very well-written book, having read, and enjoyed, all of Ted Simon’s books I can honestly say that this one is as good as his, indeed he encouraged Cathy and Bernard and endorses their book on the front cover. It works as a bike travel book,it works as the story of 2 people and their relationship and it works as a travel book whether or not you’re a bike fan……… An excellent read that might well become a surprise mainstream hit given the right exposure.
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of those reads which you can’t leave – always wanted to know what happened at the “next place” on their trip. Finished it quickly but was sorry it ended! Wonderful story.
5.0 out of 5 stars
What a fantastic read………entertaining and engrossing……… The reader can share the journey, the highlights and frustrations in a well written account that is told with humour, emotion and honesty,and you don’t have to have an interest in motorcycles to enjoy this book……. If possible, I would give this book 10 stars…….
I’ve read this one and can only say that it far, far, beyond a motorcycle travel book. I’ve read so many books of this genre and it is way beyond them in terms of writing, feeling, and emotion. I was ‘with them’ on the bike in a way I’ve never before experienced. In many ways it’s a beautiful book about a relationship and a journey across the world. Having read the immortal ‘Sir Ted’ (Simon) I would say this is as good – in many ways it is better. High praise perhaps but I never laughed or cried in any other book like I did in this one. I busted a gut with the humour and I felt the sadness. Truly my favourite book as it is contains so much more than a motorcycle journey. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one surpassed the narrow category of ‘motorcycle travel book’.
It certainly deserves to.
The Reader’s Digest (September 2012)
“…….rueful, irreverent…….always incredibly vivid. It’s also unfailingly honest……………becom(ing) a powerful love story……..in a book crammed with astonishing achievements.”
Ian Kerr – Inter-bike
“None can equal this latest work from Panther Publishing, because not only is it well written, it is totally unique and the tale is unlikely ever to be reprised….read this book or you will have sadly missed out on not only 344 pages of inspiration, as well as a rattling good read and be poorer for your loss!’”
The Book Bag
………..essentially, and brilliantly, one is almost forced to become a third person on the bike.
By the end of the first couple of chapters I felt as if I knew Cathy and Bernard. By the end of the book I liked and admired two people I’ve never met. They tell a great story well and discuss bigger issues along the way without being preachy or trying to force their views on the reader. I’ve read, and enjoyed, all of Ted Simon’s books and touching the World is as good. It follows the same ……….. openness and willingness to accept people as they are, and embrace their differences rather than feeling threatened by them or feeling superior.
I’ve deliberately not made this review a list of events and anecdotes from the book. For that you’ll have to read it yourself. If you enjoy Ted Simon’s books then you’ll love it. It’s insightful, informative, entertaining and in places very moving; funny and sometimes a combination of both. It deserves a wider audience than it will probably get as a ‘bike travel book.’
It really is much more than that.
Much more than a simple tale of motorcycle adventuring…… From the first day and the first mile ……..Birchall and Smith’s journey is remarkable, their shared experiences told with humility and compassion……………..
For his part, Smith appears satisfied to be cast simply as pilot and mechanic. Yet if he takes something of a back seat to Birchall in Touching the World, he does so only to ensure Birchall’s story is shared. As Smith told one interviewer prior to the trip, “For me, the story will always be about a truly inspirational woman who got on with living, despite being knocked down so many times. In this shallow world of wannabe celebrities, fast food stories and sound bites, it is true that inspirational people do exist.”
Emotionally tender, humorous, sometimes depressing and always insightful, Touching the World proves that life is, indeed, what you make of it.
………an incredible undertaking, narrated with fantastic honesty, illustrating the emotional heights and depths overlanding can occasion. ‘Touching the World’ ticks all the boxes for those who dream of overland travel and is a joy for those who have previously embarked on a challenging trip. If you’ve read many overland books or none, you’ll be hooked by this one from the start. Remember, you don’t need eyes to see; you need vision.
You can find Touching the World through all the major suppliers (Amazon, WH 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.