Priest in the Church of England. Trustee SPCK. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Tag: book

Tortillas to Totems

Tortillas to Totems Cover

Tortillas to Totems by Sam Minicom

I’ve been reading Sam’s books for quite a few years now. First there was Into Africa – a journey through the heart of, you guessed it, Africa, by a man who had only just figured out what a motorbike was for (travel of course). Next up was Under Asian Skies which took us right across Asia with Sam and the people he met along the way. The next book out of the already quite impressive stable was Distant Suns which was based on the diaries of Sam’s partner and travel buddy Birgit Schuenemann. Finally we have his latest book – Tortillas to Totems– and what a corker it is.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I don’t often write book reviews. Not because I don’t devour every single adventure motorcycle book out there – but because for the most part… um… they’re not very good. I’ve made some exceptions to that rule – first with Lois Pryce and her book – Red Tape and White Knuckles and eventually I will for Paddy Tyson and his books – but the stand-out daddy of them all is Sam Manicom.

Tortillas to Totems is easily Sam’s best book so far. The writing style is engaging and steady – that horribly addictive style that leaves you realising you’ve been reading for 10 hours straight and just can’t put the book down. The stories he tells don’t just transport you there – they encourage you to get on your bike and ride. For me – that’s the best thing a travel book can do. If you only want to read one of Sam’s books – start with this one, then head back to Into Africa and read the rest – just be prepared to leave a few days clear before you start!

You can buy Sam’s book over at (where you can also find his books in kindle format) and also learn more about Sam and his adventures over at his website.

Red Tape and White Knuckles by Lois Pryce – Review

Every now and again a book comes out of the blue that you end up devouring in hours – Lois Pryce’s latest, Red Tape and White Knuckles, is one of those.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lois in London not long before I headed out to Australia, I already knew of her first book, Lois on the Loose, and it was amazing to tie the experiences I’d read about in the book to the real person, and for once, they where the same person. With the exception of Austin Vince and Ted Simon I’ve nearly always been disappointed when I’ve met the authors of books I’ve held dear.

This second book has demonstrated a maturity in her writing style that held the whole thing together with a constant narrative – a very difficult trick to pull off. So much so that it’s one of those rare breed of books that you simply can’t put down. I hadn’t noticed that Lois had a new book out until I happened across it in the Sydney Airport book store, I was about to board a 14 hour flight to San Francisco and was rather excited to see something I could devour and learn from, rather than endure the constant repeats of How I Met Your Mother I knew United would be serving.

From the first page, through to the photos and the last chapter it’s a journey of personal strength, determination and at times, heart pounding excitement and fear. I really felt I was with her, and that’s an exceptionally difficult thing to pull off as the mass of bad travel books demonstrate.

I was a little concerned that this would be a book about a small, timid (ha!) white girl working hard against all possible odds to get through Africa – but it’s not, it’s a book about a small, lion-hearted lady who overcame obstacles with good humor, humility and a depth of character I’d be proud to even have a tenth of.

If you’re planning your own journey on anything from a motocycle to a tuk tuk, this book will inspire you to go that little bit further, and perhaps push a little of your fear to one side and experience a journey for what it is, rather than a philosophical adventure or backed-up outing.

Red Tape and White Knuckles is available from the Sydney Airport Book Store or from and


Thanks to Atlas Rider on Twitter here’s a video of Lois talking about her journey at an overland expo in the states.