Tag Archives: travel memoir

Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Authors Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li take readers into the heart of modern-day Iceland as Sverrir goes on a voyage around the world in the same vein as his Viking ancestors in the book, “Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir”.

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The Synopsis

This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favorable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!

The Review

A truly magnificent and engaging read, this book really does capture the adventurous spirit and rich history of Iceland and author Sverrir’s Viking forefathers. The balance of history, culture, and life experiences through travel was great to see unfold here, from Sverrir’s family history to setting out into the world and studying in Finland, to making a life and home after years of travel with his wife and co-author Veronica Li, this book really does a great job of educating and allowing the reader to identify with the authors and their journeys. 

What really stuck out to me however was the way the authors managed to tie their more “modern” adventures around the world to the ancient Viking culture. As a people known for their travels and explorations, it was interesting to see the cultural note that so many Icelandic people have to make a name for themselves and learn from distant lands in order to bring more knowledge to their home country, in an effort to become the best. It felt like the perfect chord that brought the past and present together as one and really shows how ancient cultures still have an impact on our world today. 

The Verdict

A masterful, thoughtful, and culturally-driven memoir, authors Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li’s “Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir” is a must-read book. The attention to detail really brought the personal and broader history of Iceland and the author to life, while the teamwork and chemistry of both authors and their writing styles allowed the information and culture of this book to be absorbed by the reader. Even the utilization of images and guides to highlight Iceland and its language was both informative and engrossing all at once. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Sverrir Sigurdsson grew up in Iceland and graduated as an architect from Finland in 1966. He pursued an international career that took him to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. His assignments focused on school construction and improving education in developing countries. He has worked for private companies as well as UNESCO and the World Bank. He is now retired and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and coauthor, Veronica.

Veronica Li emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong as a teenager. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as a journalist and for the World Bank, and is currently a writer. Her three previously published titles are: Nightfall in Mogadishu, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, and Confucius Says: A Novel.

Sverrir Sigurdsson Author | Facebook

www.linkedin.com/in/sverrir-sigurdsson-29b51732

Red Earth Diaries by Jason Rebello Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two newlyweds from another country throw caution to the wind and travel the country they plan to call home in author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries”. 

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The Synopsis 

A one-way ticket to Australia…two months of travel…and a shoestring budget.

In Red Earth Diaries we meet Jason and Ambika, a newlywed couple who migrated to Australia with the hope of a fresh start. However, unlike most migrants, they made a bold decision to postpone their settlement plans, throw caution to the wind and backpack in Australia on a shoestring budget. Their intention was to learn about the country and its people first-hand … a land they would someday call home. Swimming with sharks, cuddling cute koalas, chartering private helicopters, venturing deep into ancient rainforests, and getting to know plenty of locals – the couple had incredible experiences in this stunning country.

Their travel story is interwoven with snippets of history and provides the reader with a glimpse of Australia as viewed through the eyes of newly arrived migrants. Join Jason and Ambika on their spectacular journey of discovery. Red Earth Diaries is founded on four primary pillars: a migrant’s journal, a travelogue, a delve into Australian history, and an inspirational tale.

The central message of the book is for everyone to chase their dreams – however distant and impossible they may seem. Moving to Australia has been one seemingly impossible goal the author had set decades ago, and he likewise urges the reader to shed all reservations and to dream the wildest dreams possible. The Preface of Red Earth Diaries is called Dreamtime, and in it, the author describes the evolution of his journey to this strange and peculiar wonderland.

As a travelogue, the book harkens to all travellers as well as migrants who are already in Australia or who are thinking of making the move to this beautiful country. The book also contains stories of local Australians the couple met along the way. In it you will meet, amongst others – Helen, a 10-Pound-pom; Rowland Mosbergen, a sprightly man in his eighties who survived the horrors of WWII in a remote jungle in Bahau; Rafael and Nadia and their three kids based in Research, Victoria; Ranjit, a practising surgeon and his wife who are based in Kew, Melbourne. The travelogue aims to deliver an essential message to all migrants in Australia – to not take this country for granted and to try to understand and embrace its culture first.

Some Key Personalities mentioned: Paul Hogan, Ned Kelly, Steve Irwin, Captain Cook, Burley Griffin, Gregory Blaxland, Jorn Utzon, Eddie Mabo

Some key historical events described: The Endeavour striking the reef, finding a passage through the Blue Mountains, the discovery of gold, the naming of Sunshine Coast, the birth of Canberra as the nation’s capital, the iconic rail journeys in Australia, WWI and WWII, Early colonization, construction of Hume Highway, Blackbirding, construction of Opera House.

Charity Donation: Five per cent of all profits from the sale of this book in the first year of publication will be donated to the Red Cross towards the 2019–20 bushfire crisis management (www.redcross.org.au) and a further five per cent will be also be given to aged care in India through Help Age India (www.helpageindia.org).

The Review 

A wonderful blend of travel, memoir, and history, author Jason Rebello has done an incredible job bringing this book to life. The non-fiction story gives readers a unique perspective on not just general travel but immigrating to an entirely new country, as the newlywed couple immerses themselves in the culture and history of Australia while experiencing the nation firsthand. 

The author does a great job of sharing the experiences of their adventures and their relationship and the history and culture they were experiencing. The way in which the author brought that spirit of travel and adventure so many seek was felt throughout every chapter, while the attention to detail on Australia itself was fantastic to see unfold. From the nation’s history and pop culture to the nation’s strict quarantine procedures and so much more, the author poured so much culture and heart into this story, creating a truly interactive and mesmerizing non-fiction read. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and breathtaking travel and memoir-style book, author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries” is a must-read. The wonderful blend of history and culture does a great job of mirroring the emotions and adventure that the couple themselves experienced along the way and creates an intimate and thoughtful narrative that many readers can identify with and that many of us can only hope for. A great and fantastic read, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story on July 8th, 2021. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jason Rebello was born in Mumbai, India and went to sea at the early age of seventeen.He spent many years sailing across the world on modern ocean liners, eventually rising to the rank of a ship’s Captain. His sea career was interspaced with a healthy dose of backpacking and intrepid travels and as a result, he was firmly hooked on a life of adventure and uncommon living.His travel blog, The Evolving Backpacker, was born out of his passion for travel. He has also written several self-help books under the ‘Migrant Ninja’ series.Jason along with his wife and two children is now settled in Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/theevolvingbackpacker/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0948GVRBM/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58172451-red-earth-diaries%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D2GKMQ0lXzA%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20