Wednesday, 3 June 2015

BLOG TOUR: The Amazing Journey by Grady Hicks with contributions by Austin Hicks


True story of a Father and Son's Odyssey Around the World


My thanks to Wisdom House books for sending me a review copy and inviting me onto the blog tour.



 






Synopsis

The Amazing Journey is a fast-paced, true story of Grady and Austin Hicks, a father and son who travel the world for twenty-eight days before Austin attends college. Austin is the first of three Hicks children who embark on this globetrotting tradition with their father.

In the spirit of adventure, their route and activities are kept secret even from family. They complete daily, self-imposed Journey Tasks that deliberately immerse them into cultural authenticity, and far outside their comfort zones. As the journey unfolds, it becomes clear that these travellers are in store for much more than unfamiliar landscapes. From foreign militaries to spiritual clairvoyance, from serious illness to unnerving dares, The Amazing Journey reminds us to connect with people—be it those closest to you or those across the world—to test your limits, and to trust the Journey.


My Thoughts


I love books about travel. The ability to experience places you never thought possible, without even leaving home. This however is so much more than a travel book. It is the true story of a Father and a Son and the once in a lifetime trip they took together around the World. In some senses it is also a coming of age story.

Of the places Grady and Austin visited, I have only been to Paris and obviously London. It was magical to get a very real glimpse of places such as China, India, Nepal, etc. I also found it interesting and educational to read about certain countries political issues. I must admit to being a little naive about that and also History has never been my strong point, so I feel as if I really engaged with this book and even learnt things along the way.

This story also made some interesting points about being accepting of others, and aware of how fortunate we are in the Western world. Things that we take for granted and indeed often moan about, would be considered such a privilege to people in other countries and cultures.

A very interesting and educational read, that was entertaining and exciting. It really was a non stop trip. I still don't know how they managed to fit such a packed schedule into 28days.







Grady Hicks







Grady is a native Texan whose family has lived and worked in North Texas since the 1850s. He is an avid traveller who has made his home base in Arlington, TX, where he returns to relax in the backyard with his family and to plan his next destination. He lives with his wife of 27 years, Belinda. Their three children now attend university, majoring in mechanical engineering, business communication, and elementary education. Grady is currently writing the second book in The Amazing Journey series and planning the global adventure that will become the third book.

My earliest dreams were of travelling; I wanted to see every country on the map. Throughout my years as a teenager, my grandmother took me on international excursions, which instilled in me a lasting hunger for intercultural experiences. My grandmother and other strong females in my family influenced me to act independently of the crowd, to attempt the improbable, and to be undaunted by the thought of being unsuccessful. These qualities have led me to many feats in my life, including starting my own business in 1999 and campaigning for the 2012 Olympics to be held in Dallas, TX. The Olympic campaign ran for five years and, while we fell short, the regional cooperation continues to be a success. My business, Hurricane Waste Systems, is a family-owned company that is now one of Texas’ largest independent waste and recycling transporters. I always set big goals and high expectations for myself, not only in my career but also in
my personal pursuits, including travel.


As a father, I have included my family in my dreams of travel. Our earliest vacations included diversions into daily life; simply visiting a local grocery unveiled truer perspectives of a country far beyond touristy markets most travellers pass through. We have also enjoyed cruises and resorts, but not as much as tasting a day in the life of someone outside of our own realm of experience. Then my wife Belinda and I began to discuss our eldest son Austin’s high school graduation gift taking the form of a journey, which seemed to be the best gift for a person who is making their debut in the real world: a gift of experience. Austin’s and my trip inspired the gift of a journey to my two other children upon their high school graduations. It has become inherently clear as they draw their own maps for college careers and life beyond that my independence and
freethinking have been passed on to them along the way.


The Amazing Journey books are the result of wanting to share the mental, physical, and spiritual experiences of travelling. Writing a book has always been on my bucket list, even though my life as a writer began recently. I had stories to tell that I wanted to share with people in my family, in my immediate community, and in all the communities across that world that I have been privileged to experience. So, I began to compile notes from before, during, and after the first journey. When the pages began to resemble a book, I continued to refine them until I had a completed manuscript. Writing The Amazing Journey has been a journey in itself. The process took much longer than I originally anticipated, but it was all for the best. I enlisted the help of several creative thinkers, mentors, and editors in order to polish the book. Then I found Wisdom House Books, an independent publisher, and self-published the first of three of The Amazing Journey books in the spring of 2015.


Although the first two journeys are father-son stories and the third a father-daughter journey, the messages within The Amazing Journey books transcend these relationships, reminding us to pause the convenient—if impersonal—texting and emailing and to spend quality time with people. The characters we met, whether visiting a nearby town or a faraway village, convey the importance of human connection no matter how temporary or geographically distant. The Amazing Journey books are fast-paced but insightful, escorting both seasoned travellers and arm-chair adventurers alike into exciting, off-the chart destinations that inspire and astound.



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