Are We Really Going to Let Mum Backpack on Her Own?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

Are We Really Going To Let Mum Backpack On Her Own? by Hazel Loutsis is an account by a woman in her sixties of her farflung travels.
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Thank you to Hazel Loutsis, for providing me with a copy of her travel book, Are We Really Going to Let Mum Backpack on Her Own?: My Gap Year Traveling Solo at Sixty, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- Hazel Loutsis was a single British woman approaching sixty, when she had a life-altering thought while at the dentist: rather than paying thousands of pounds for a procedure that she didn’t really need, she would spend the money on traveling the world. Loutsis put her affairs in order, bought a good backpack, and flew to India, to begin her year of adventure. 

LIKE- Loutsis has an amazing adventurous spirit, embracing all of the experiences that come her way. She picks destinations that are off-the-beaten path, rarely declines trying new things, and truly gets to know the people living in the places that she visits. 

I was intrigued by Loutsis style of travel. She keeps it simple, mostly staying in hostels (usually filled with college students) or in accommodations where she volunteers to earn her keep. She is easy-going when it comes to camping, long bus rides, and general discomfort. Honestly, I’m not sure that I could embrace her style of travel, yet I’m envious of the incredible experiences she had during her year abroad. It was certainly a deeper experience than the average traveler. Many times, these experiences seem to come as a reward for her experiencing discomfort, like amazing views after a grueling hike. Loutsis often favored small towns and nature, over big cities- which is also opposite to me. It was engaging to read a travel report from someone so different from myself.

My favorite part was when Loutsis decided to sleep under the stars, while on a tour of the Australian outback. She managed to sleep through Dingos raiding the camp. The Dingos stole sneakers from another woman in the group. Loutsis is told not to worry, since the Dingos don’t usually attack people! 

I love travel writing, because it allows me to live vicariously through the author’s journey: Are We Really Going to Let Mum Backpack on Her Own, is no exception. Thanks to Loutsis, I have many destinations to add to my bucket list!

DISLIKE- Are We Really Going to Let Mum Backpack on Her Own, is a straight-up travel journal. It was just like reading a travel diary from a friend and lacked a sense of style that is found in professional travel writing.

RECOMMEND- Maybe. I certainly admire Loutsis and I found much of her book to be enjoyable. That said, I’m not sure that it was unique among the many travel books that are on the market and certainly less polished.
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Travel inspiration.  As a globetrotting mom myself (mine are in tow)  I love reading about other women and their adventures.  Good for anyone who dreams of occasionally running away from home.
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A woman in her sixties doing amazing things! Hazel is a warrior in her own right, and I enjoyed reading about her travels. It's not an easy, or safe, thing to do as a woman. Travel is complicated but worthwhile. Hazel's story is engaging and inspirational. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Being a keen traveller and reader this book should have been right up my street but I struggled to get into it. The book also, as far as I read, seemed not to match the title. Not for me but I do greatly admire the author for setting off on her journey on her own
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The premise of this book is great. I loved reading about the different countries the writer had visited and what they were like. Often, her experience, which was very real and normal, was not like the media shows it. It even tempted me to travel more.
The only downside was it featured a few paragraphs about each day of the trip. I think it would have been better to perhaps only write a chapter per country but include more anecdotes. Its written in a very matter of fact way which may be great for some but I prefer a more lighthearted humerous read.
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A pleasant read through varied countries that stokes my wanderlust.  At times it feels more like a travel diary than an adventure monologue, but that exposes a personal preference of mine rather than a fault of the author's.
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I didn't hate this but I also didn't love it, I'm somewhere right in the middle.

The title of the book - An odd title considering there was no mention of the children questioning their mothers trip AND barely any mention of them through the book or at the end once she returned. May be the title would be better without the "Are we really going to let mum backpack on her own?". More so because I don't really believe that they would have been able to influence Hazel in any way not to go. There was no real background given about Hazel herself - how she could afford a year off, was she working, the studying she was doing. A year off isn't cheap and she was only volunteering along the way, not working for money.

Her travels - there were some points of interest but more than once I found myself just flicking through the pages scanning for something of interest. I was mostly bored and nothing within this book really inspired me to visit the same places. Some location descriptions were good and then others just totally fell flat. It was clear Hazels preference was India and it was within that section that contained most "feeling". From just before the halfway point I was ready for the book to be finished.
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I have really strong positive and negative reactions to this book.

Hazel Loutsis is amazing! She’s in her early 60s and INTREPID! She’ll try almost anything once, especially if personally recommended by a fellow traveler.  Stay in a hostel room  with 3 or 4 unknown men? Sure. Swim with piranhas? No problem. Motorbike, as a learner,  on twisty mountain roads? Check. Five ⭐️s for courage and spirit.

But the book... would benefit greatly from some editorial assistance. There’s so much missing here: the adult kids who figure in the title are ciphers. It would be so interesting to know something of their feelings about their mom’s trip, was it a  process to get them on board with it? We don’t learn. And Hazel’s life and work in England: how was it that she was able and willing to put it all on hold for a year? How did she finance her trip? She doesn’t tell us.  She’s studying to teach ESL- why? Does she plan to venture abroad again? No word.  What does she learn from her experiences, is she changed as a person? The most we get is “everything works out” and “everything’s always alright in the end, and if it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end.”   1 ⭐️ for the writing and conceptual framework.

Well I guess I’ll try any book once! Thank you to NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Hazel is amazing. She recounts her year of travel through many different countries in her early sixties. Hazel is not scared to take on all challenges from bike riding, mountain hiking, volunteering, hitch hiking, yoga retreats to riding a moped in Bali! Hazel stays in youth hostels and meets people of all ages from all walks of life. She is an inspiration. I did this sort of travel in my twenties but thought I would never do it again like that. Maybe I will. I would have liked some photos and more of a personal reflection from her at the end. An excellent adventure.
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I really enjoy travel books but the writing here, quite frankly was uninspiring.... The author may have gone on an adventure but her writing style was boring, stale and just lacking in the spirit of the tale.
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Wow!  What a fascinating read!  The author's decision to backpack in her senior years is admirable and I enjoyed going along for the ride via this book!  This is definitely one of those books that will inspire you!
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