#Travel #Books #MemoirMadness Big Sale Feature #TuesdayBookBlog

Today I’m featuring the work of 11 travel authors who are taking part in a #MemoirMadness book sale April 4th – 10th

As winter turns to Spring many of us think about future holiday plans, perhaps these books can inspire you.




George Mahood author of “Free Country: A Pennyless Adventure the Length of Britain”

Victoria Twead author of “Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools”

Tony James Slater author of “That Bear Ate My Pants! Adventures of a Real Idiot Abroad”

Sarah Jane Butfield author of “Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure” 

Frank Kusy author of “Too Young To Be Old: From Clapham to Kathmandu”

Susan Joyce author of “Lullaby Illusions: A Journey of Awakening”

Joe Cawley author of “More Ketchup Than Salsa”

Beth Haslam author of “Fat Dogs and French Estates” 

Shawn Inmon author of “Feels Like The First Time: A True Love Story” 

Alan Parks author of “Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca?”

Savannah Grace author of “I Grew My Boobs in China”

There will be live Twitter and FB interviews led by Sezoni Whitfield on April 5th from 2:30-3:30pm EDT. She will open a FB event for this and ask all of us questions and invite others to ask any of us Qs.

Snake in Kathmandu

Snake in Kathmandu

Savannah also co-founded one of the most popular travel chats on Twitter, “The Road Less Travelled” AKA #TRLT which is held every single Tuesday at 1pm ET.

The Road Less Travelled (#TRLT) is a lively and inspiring Twitter chat that commenced on Tuesday 5 November 2013.  The first session exceeded our expectations and we were trending during the chat.  The following chats also trended and attracted even more activity.

#TRLT regularly ranks as one of the top 5 busiest Twitter travel chats in the world, and we have the highest response rate per question of any Twitter travel chat.

#TRLT discusses destinations overlooked on Twitter travel chats, such as Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Central America.  These are places that deserve to be considered as holiday options by more travellers and #TRLT is one way to generate discussion and interest in these destinations.

Founded by Shane, Ariana and Savannah, we all possess personal experience in places infrequently travelled by others, with Afghanistan being a particular favourite for each of us.

If you are a novice or seasoned traveller on such rarely trodden paths, or even if you are seeking to place your first foot on #TRLT then join us on the following times each Tuesday:

US PT: 1000 US ET: 1300 (1 pm)

UTC:  1800 (6 pm)

West Europe: 1900 (7 pm)

United Arab Emirates: 2100 (9pm)

What is a Twitter Chat? A brief explanation on how our twitter chat works. Five questions are asked on a chosen theme at approximately 10-12 minute intervals, and these are prefaced with Q1, Q2 and so on.  You answer each question with the relevant answer (A1, A2 etc.) and interact with others.  It is important to include #TRLT hashtag so your tweets can be followed by the hosts and other participants.#TRLT is a busy chat, and the best way to follow is to open a separate window for #TRLT and one for Interactions so you can follow the chat and who is chatting directly with you.

BackPacks and Bra Straps by Savannah Grace

Backpacks and Bra Straps (Sihpromatum #2)Backpacks and Bra Straps by Savannah Grace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Backpacks and Bra Straps is the second book following Savannah and her family as they spend a year Backpacking. They are a family group; Mum, older brother Ammon (a seasoned traveller), 18 year old Bree and 15 year old Savannah. They started their journey in China and the first book “I Grew My Boobs In China” tells of the way they adapted to the people and the cultures of the countries they began to travel through. Not on any big tourist trails, they have a small daily budget and travel on buses and trains as the locals do.

This second book has them crossing into Russia with a 7 hour delay whilst the train and all its occupants are searched, making their journey from Mongolia a whacking 37 hours. You get up close and personal accounts of their travels going to amazing places like Lake Baikal, the deepest, oldest and cleanest lake in the world. Along the way they meet people who so often go out of their way to help them find accommodation, buy tickets and deal with language barriers. It returns your faith in mankind.

Their journey doesn’t go without challenges and fears, sometimes the journeys were really dangerous as mad drivers raced on roads up and down mountain sides and crossing border controls was often painstakingly slow with the need to work their way around officialdom on a number of occasions.

What is great about these books, is meeting the real people and seeing places that few others experience because of the way the have chosen to travel. Living in close proximity does have it’s own challenges which they learn to overcome, and the life lessons that Savannah has more than makes up for being taken out of her Canadian school and leaving her friends thousands of miles away.

This part of their journey ends with Bree’s friend Steph joining them for a two week hike to base camp mount Everest, a most memorable journey and I felt I travelled with them every step of the way, it meant different things to each of them when they conquered the climb and as they left the area in a helicopter for their next adventure Savannah reflects on her new word “Sihpromatum” a curse that turns into a blessing which sums up how she feels about much of this experience.

I really do recommend these books to anyone with even a slight interest in travel and the rest of the world.

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Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

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 Amazon.co.uk 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 :




BOOK: I would love readers to take the time to review my book on Amazon.com 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. 

August Issue Of Fleet Life

Fleet Life have kindly once again featured “Rosie’s Good Reads”, where I review several books every month.

August Fleet Life

This magazine can be accessed via it’s on-line version at www.fleetlife.org.uk click on the on-line directory and this month you can find my reviews on page 18.

These are the featured books for August;

Saving Jackie K by LDC Fitzgerald,  see the book here

After The Fall by Charity Norman, see the book here

The Unicorn Girl by Melissa LeGette, see the book here

The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching, see the book here, free on kindle

Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace, see the book here

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.