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Photo by Lola Akinmade.

If you are looking for a “this is how to travel around the world” guide, this book is not for you.

If you want a story about traveling with children, this book is also not for you.

If you want a story about two 30-somethings who quit their jobs, put all their belongings in storage, and took off around the world, you have to read this book.

Grounded is the story of how the author, Seth Stevenson, and his girlfriend, Rebecca, circumnavigate the world with just two rules in mind: cross every longitudinal line (including the Equator) and no flying in airplanes.

Their adventure starts in August on a cargo ship that leaves from Philadelphia and takes them to Antwerp in Belgium. They continue on by train, ferry, rickshaw, bicycle, car, and even on a luxury cruise ship until they arrive at home, in Washington, D.C. in December.

Despite the fact that conditions are, at times, the very opposite of ideal, Stevenson keeps the journey going with a (mostly) positive attitude and doesn’t succumb to buying a plane ticket.


The author makes no mistake in letting the reader know his anti-airplane sentiments, saying that traveling in an airplane is like “pressing the fast-forward button on your journey” and that you lose something by flying over instead of traveling through the landscape (not to mention the jetlag, tiny seats, and expensive airline food).

I have to admit I was partially intrigued by this book because I’m slightly anti-flying myself.

I was curious to see how it all worked out.

Seth Stevenson is a solid writer, and I felt as though I was listening to a friend tell me about his travels around the world. With lines like, “let me pause here to pay tribute to Valium and its many useful applications for the traveler,” and “this seems like a decent place to mention that Rebecca is crazy,” there is rarely a dull moment.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced story and is a hard book to put down.

The book is due out on April 6, 2010.

Community Connection

Looking for ways to circumnavigate the earth without flying? Learn how to travel by cargo ship.

Book Reviews


About The Author

Abbie Mood

Abbie lives in Denver and can usually be found doing something with her dogs, Daisy and Sadie, or working on her dog training business. In addition to working with dogs, Abbie is a freelance writer and pre-k special ed teacher.

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  • Nick

    “traveling in an airplane is like ‘pressing the fast-forward button on your journey’ and that you lose something by flying over instead of traveling through the landscape” – love this line!

    Sounds like a good read. I notice you don’t tell us whether they succeed in crossing every longitudinal line ; )

  • Abbie

    Nick, you should totally read this book – it’s the best travel story I’ve read in a long time!

  • Joya

    I always love a good travel book. I am adding this to my list. Thanks for the reccommendation!

  • Ash

    I just finished reading this book and was left with the desire to put my current life to a halt and start travelling! There are so many clever lines, I found myself pausing to laugh at least every second page. A must read for anyone that enjoys travel books!

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