Guest Author Savannah Grace

Please welcome Savannah Grace author of Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China, a book which follows to experiences of a 14 year old who went backpacking with her family.

Sihpromatum - I Grew My Boobs in China

You can read my review of this book here.

Sihpromatum is available on and Amazon .com

I spent a delightful Friday evening with friends discussing travelling around the world in a gap year or as backpackers. Savannah’s book came up in our conversation, so it was a delight when she contacted me, in reply to a universal request for authors to interview.

Savannah Grace Author

1) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in North and West Vancouver, Canada. It’s a beautiful place with the city settled between the sea and mountains.

2) Had you travelled much before you set off backpacking?

I’d never been out of North America before we embarked on our round-the-world trip. I wouldn’t say my family was ever typical though. When I was in elementary school I skipped a few weeks of class here and there to go on family camping trips across the U.S. By the age of 7 I’d already visited about 35 U.S. states. We also did yearly road trips down to California to enjoy all the amusement parks. Before leaving we had a small family-run tour company for ESL (English as a Second Language) students doing local adventure tours river rafting, sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing, etc. But the only flight I’d ever taken before, aside from skydiving, was to Hawaii for my sister’s gymnastics competition.

Cheetah interaction at Casela Park in Mauritius

Cheetah interaction at Casela Park in Mauritius

3) Can you remind the readers of your initial thoughts about the trip and being uprooted from family and friends.

The news that we were going traveling came completely unexpectedly. The idea had never been discussed or considered prior so it came as a total shock. My parents had just separated (which inspired mom’s decision to do it) so just when I’d thought my whole world had fallen apart, it got worse. One day she simply announced that we were going to pack up everything, live out of backpacks and travel for a year. I was terrified by the concept of backpacking. I was the most terrified about the food, missing home and having to use a squatty toilet.

4) How far into the trip were you when you finally began to appreciate the adventure? What changed you?

A definite a-ha! moment was coming into Yangshuo on my first sleeper bus, only 5 days into the trip. Looking out the window at the sunrise revealing the bizarre scenery really opened my eyes to the beauty of being abroad. It revealed the excitement travel could bring. Being on the top of a hill in Mongolia at White Lake looking out over the world was another awe inspiring moment, that was about 2.5 months in. Although I certainly had many similar moments that made me stop and think about the unbelievable experience I was being given, I was still trapped within on a rollercoaster of female, teenage emotions. The entire trip was a process of learning and discovery for me and I’m thankful now to have had that opportunity.

Chicken in undercarriage on 24 hour bus, Western China

Chicken in undercarriage on 24 hour bus, Western China

5) Can you list 5 essential items for anyone embarking on a similar adventure.

I would say, of course, a passport, vaccinations, visas and camera as those are the basic necessities. A note pad and journal are a MUST in my opinion, along with mosquito repellent and a deck of cards if you’re not travelling solo. We always had a small daypack to carry around during day trips and to carry more important items.

6) Can you think of 5 items that first time backpackers believe they need which they soon discover are useless or a waste of time and space.

Hair dryer, sleeping bag, tent, hiking boots and extra clothes. I know that some backpackers carry around tents and heavy hiking boots. Unless you’re really planning a full time camping trip, these often become nothing but dead weight. Traveling in Asia is so cheap you can stay in hostels and guest houses and not worry about camping to save money. Africa is a pretty difficult place to camp unless you have your own transport. Europe would be a realistic place to use a tent, but during summer time would be best.  I personally never used my sleeping bag and instead slept in the dirty ones the hostels/hotels/guest houses provided. If you are in warm weather places I would suggest packing a sheet, which is light in both temperature and weight.  People generally pack too many clothes on a long term trip. I consider things like a hairdryer useless as reliable electricity was frequently unavailable in many countries.

Uyghur hat shop in Kashgar market in Western China

Uyghur hat shop in Kashgar market in Western China

7) Toilets would be a big issue for me on any such trip, how did you overcome the western world sanitary comforts?

Oh, you just have to live with it. As far as overcoming, there comes a point where you literally don’t have any choice. It’s either having an accident in your pants, or using the toilets that are provided. It’s amazing what you can and will do in a situation with no escape.  I suppose in the end you learn what you are comfortable with and travel within that comfort zone.  If you really need the western sanitary comforts, you’ll be paying more and staying in expensive hotels all the time.

The family waiting for longest train in the world in Mauritania

The family waiting for longest train in the world in Mauritania

8) When I travel I feel it is important to be able to speak a few words in the local language for courtesy and practical purposes. Do you agree? How can travellers avoid being rude and upsetting the local people?

Yes, definitely. We were never in a place long enough to conquer a language, and I can’t say I’m a particular linguistic master. Learning “please” “thank you” “goodbye” “hello” are the bare minimum basics every traveler should make the effort to learn to show that they respect where they are. Avoid upsetting locals by being patient and very open minded. One girl I know, a fellow traveller blogger Bex, says she once helped a local in Greece and in return got spat on three times. “WHAT?!” you say. Yeah, spat on. Anyone of us would think this was a big insult, but in Greece it apparently means, a compliment: to ward off the evil eye of jealousy to such a beautiful person. Being open minded and patient is essential to avoid being rude.

Sisters in The Maldives

Sisters in The Maldives

9) Since the first trip which your book is about, you continued to travel, can you briefly tell the readers where you went on to next and how long for.

That is really difficult to sum up. The next installment in the series covers our overland journey through Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Western China, Tibet, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. That is a time frame of five months. From there we travelled west overland through Pakistan, Afghanistan, across the Caspian and Black Seas and finally entered Europe. After Europe we took a crazy turn and nearly circumnavigated the entire African continent, hitting 36 of 54 African countries. That is where I continued alone, ultimately moving to Holland at the age of 18.  The rest of the family continued on for another 6 months in SE Asia. The family journey lasted nearly 4 years.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

10) Are you hoping to write more books about your adventures?

Most definitely! There will be a few more books in the series to come. I’m currently working on #2. It would be impossible for me to wrap up nearly 4 years and 80 countries in one book. The characters will continue to grow and develop, with the group dynamic ever evolving and fluctuating. New characters are introduced because a few friends from home flew out to join us for a few weeks each at different times. In Sihpromatum #2 readers will experience parts of the silk road, Tibetan monasteries, the strength of Nepali sherpas in the incredible Himalayas then live in the colors and chaos of India and then contrast this with the relaxing beauty of the Maldives. And of course there will be the adventure, humour and excitement that was found in my first book too.

Kassa Island in Guinea, West Africa

Kassa Island in Guinea, West Africa


Savannah Grace was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada.  Youngest member of a very adventurous family, she’d visited 30 U.S. states by the age of 7 on various camping trips. At 14 she was pulled out of school to travel the world before returning home 4 years later to graduate from high school. Now 22, she’s traveled to nearly 100 countries and completed her first book “Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China”. She is currently living with her Dutch partner in The Netherlands, where she continues to write and travel

 Elephants at sunset in Namibia

Elephants at sunset in Namibia




Twitter: @Sihpromatum : 


FB page :!/pages/Sihpromatum-I-Grew-my-Boobs-in-China/367565703312088?fref=ts


BOOK: I would love readers to take the time to review my book on once they’ve finished reading it:

All pictures courtesy of Savannah Grace.

I adored this book and Savannah’s wonderful experience which she has shared with us all, thank you for being our guest today and Good luck with the second book, do come back and tell us all about it when it comes out. 

Good Deeds week 21st July – 27th July

Welcome to my weekly updates on my challenge to do at least one Good Deed a day for a year. This has been inspired by Judith O’Reilly and her book “A Year of Doing Good”

If this interests you it was half price when I checked on the 20th July. Catch up on my journey so far from the Home page.

Good deeds

21st July – Today I took my son to the park and we played some tennis, then I picked up litter before we went home.

22nd July – I’ve been so busy that my only Good Deeds have been posting a book review and retweeting interesting tweeps.

23rd July – Yay! School is finally out for my son for the next 6 weeks. Lie-ins what Bliss! (this means I can stay up later at night reading my books!) Bought a book from a Charity shop today. Busy planning a competition that I’m hoping to run on the blog with a book related prize. Got my paper copy of the August Issue of Fleet Life with my latest book reviews. The following authors have their books reviewed this month; LDC Fitzgerald – Saving Jackie K, Charity Norman – After the Fall, Melissa LeGette – The Unicorn Girl, GP Ching – The Soulkeepers and Savannah Grace – Sihpromatum – I Grew my Boobs in China.

24th July – Just been checking out a prize for a competition that I’m going to run for my UK readers soon. Baked cookies to take with me to my friend who invited me to dinner.

25th July – We had a wonderful lazy day and didn’t go anywhere. I took on board another book to review for an author who contacted me and I set up my draft for my competition which is going to start on Monday, here on the blog.

26th July – Sent off a birthday card for a friend whom I’ve not seen for many years but she is not forgotten. Posted a book review from my second teenage book reviewer who is another keen reader.

27th July – Off to the lovely Cotswolds today to visit my husbands Aunt. So I’m taking her flowers and goodies etc. Got a busy start planned for next week with my competition launch on Monday, a guest author Tuesday, 2 book launches for authors on Wednesday and the August online Issue of Fleet Life out on Thursday. Phew!

Have my Good Deeds touched your hearts and you heads yet? Are you aware of the Good deeds that you do for others in your daily life? What good deeds have others done for you? Let me know in the comments below.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Good EarthThe Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a best seller in 1931/32 and has been made into a film. The author was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Treated as a classic book it deals with life in rural China before the revolution. It shows the levels of respect given to individuals in this society. The book begins with the wedding preparations of a poor farmer and ends with his final return to the earth that he loved. In between is a story of family life around the precious earth.

Find the book here on Amazon

View all my reviews

Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

Sihpromatum - I Grew My Boobs in ChinaSihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Savannah reacted like most 14 year old western girls would when her mother told her that they were selling up and going travelling for the next year. She was stubborn, grumpy and really didn’t want to go. 1 back pack, 5 sets of clothes, books and a pack of cards became her family’s prized possessions as they started in Hong Kong, headed to rural China then Mongolia. Leaving the western habits behind they embrace the wonders of life as a backpacker. A delightful story to read.

View all my reviews

Completed The Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

The Concubine's SecretThe Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A deep inside tale of Communism inside Russia, twisted around a tale of a brother and sister searching for their father who was taken away by the authorities. There is an interesting link with the rise of Communism in China. Lots of details about the daily lives of people as their lives change under the new regimes.

View all my reviews

The Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

I’m on page 353 out of 515 pages of this book. It looks at Communism across Russia during the 1930’s and the Communism rising in China at the same time. Amongst the harsh conditions, the poverty, the suffering and the changes in the way the people must think, there is romance. The story looks at the early principles of Communism and how it’s leaders hoped to make change, and compared them to the reality that the masses endured. It is a shocking and eye-opening book full of sights, sounds and atmosphere of the time.