Cover Image: We Came, We Saw, We Left

We Came, We Saw, We Left

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Member Reviews

Thank you #NetGalley and WW Norton and Company for the ARC copy of #WeCameWeSawWeLeft in return for a chance to review it.

Charlie Wheelan and his family do what others dream of: they take a year off to travel the world. This is their story.

What would happen if you quit your life for a year? In a pre-COVID-19 world, the Wheelan family decided to find out; leaving behind work, school, and even the family dogs to travel the world on a modest budget. Equal parts “how-to” and “how-not-to”—and with an eye toward a world emerging from a pandemic—We Came, We Saw, We Left is the insightful and often hilarious account of one family’s gap-year experiment.

Wheelan paints a picture of adventure and connectivity, juggling themes of local politics, global economics, and family dynamics while exploring answers to questions like: How do you sneak out of a Peruvian town that has been barricaded by the local army? And where can you get treatment for a flesh-eating bacteria your daughter picked up two continents ago? From Colombia to Cambodia, We Came, We Saw, We Left chronicles nine months across six continents with three teenagers. What could go wrong?

I absolutely loved this book! The author takes us on a journey with his family to 6 different continents in 9 months.  The adventures he and his family have are beyond amazing and the stuff most of us can only dream about.  The story is told with warmth and humor, and honest humility.  I laughed aloud a few times as he describes the antics of his son CJ and his need to talk about absolutely everything. #explodingpenis. I shared his frustration with his daughter’s teenage obstinance and delay in finishing her schoolwork.  I worried about his other daughter’s medical issue and celebrated her coming into her blooming adult independence. The sights and sounds the family encounters in all of the amazing places they visit are the backdrop of this book, but the heart and soul of this book is the family, extended family, and friends that all come together to make this a successful gap year.  Wheelan makes me want to be a part of his family even through Leah’s tight budgeting and the not so amazing Airbnb accommodations.  If you love to travel, if you have teenagers, if you are part of a family, or if you just need a good laugh— definitely gives this one a read, you will be glad you did.
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A wonderful book full of insight and travel tips for those of us planning to take a gap year and travel the world.  And, a funny and inspiring book for those of us who are not.  "We Came, We Saw, We Left" dabbles into the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly of packing up your lives (with three kids and a few just along for the ride), and heading out into our great big world.  For fans of travel books, as well as those who love a funny and light-hearted memoir, you won't be disappointed.  The author's foray into climate change concerns, endangered animals, and teenagers being lost in a foreign country for hours on end, all add up to a highly recommended book that will leave you wanting to take your own similar adventure.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review.  We Came, We Saw, We Left by Charles Wheelan is the story of Charles Wheelan, his wife Leah, their three children Katrina, Sophie, and CJ  and various other friends and relatives who pop in and out of the story, as they take nine months off to travel all over the world.  Traveling to six continents with just a single backpack each, they traveled on a modest budget which makes the story even more interesting.  At times it will make you laugh out loud, just imagine walking into a scuba dive office and seeing a monkey sitting in one of the chairs just hanging out while your son is reading a dive book in another chair.  At other times the book will have you wondering why they don't just call the whole trip off and go home, for example, when daughter Katrina comes down with a flesh eating disease that could be very serious and they let her fly off by herself to be treated in another foreign country and they continue their trip.  To be fair, she had already graduated high school and they did offer to go with her and she turned them down.    It is a fun, interesting look that will have you wanting to pack your own backpack (or maybe a suitcase) and take off on an adventure of your own with your family.  I highly recommend it.
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