america unchained – a book for your backpack

route 66 gas station united statesRead a good book lately? Intrepid’s Jo Stewart picked up America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip In Search of Non-Corporate USA and quickly discovered that this author was taking a very different route…

“This quirky travel memoir documents the epic journey of British funny man Dave Gorman, who attempted to travel America from coast to coast without using the services of any food franchises, hotel chains or corporate-owned gas stations. That’s right, no drive-thru from Burger King, no pumping gas at a BP or bedding down at the Hilton. All food, accommodation and gas must be sourced from independently owned businesses – no excuses!

Driving past dozens of chain-hotels and burger franchises in his vintage station wagon, Dave soon discovers that this highly ambitious (read: hare-brained) project is a lot harder to execute than first thought! Delivering gut-bustingly funny quips and surprisingly insightful moments, it’s the characters he meets along the way that make this book so touching. As the journey unfolds, the reader is drawn into the personal stories of small business owners ground down by ‘The Man’ and passionate locals trying to preserve great American traditions in the face of corporate greed and the growing homogenisation of society.

This tender homage to rapidly vanishing small-town America will stir up some nostalgia and keep you entertained on long road trips. Serving as a reminder for the need to protect the things that makes America so unique, you’ll grow to love Dave’s naïve brand of optimism that propels him forward on this sometimes near-impossible journey.

So does Dave make it? Well, you’ll just have to read it and see. Whatever the outcome, I bet the next time you visit America you’ll want to support ‘the small guys’ more than ever. You won’t find a better excuse to eat apple pie at roadside truck stops or sleep in a hotel shaped like a giant dog!”

If a book has inspired you to travel or simply makes for great reading while on the road, please email – let us know a little of what it’s about, as we would love to hear your recommendation for a great backpack book!

You can check out other recommendations from Intrepid Express readers by clicking on the ‘books for your backpack’ travel theme in this blog or seeing the latest book reviews on the Intrepid travel website.

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* photo by Brendan McGrath

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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