Book Review: Grounded

by Abbie Mood Apr 2, 2010
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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.

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