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@Read Epub ⚥ Neon Pilgrim Ó Seriously Unfit Unmotivated, Lisa Dempster Is An Unlikely Candidate For A Gruelling Outdoor Adventure When Her Life Needs A Shake Up, She Decides The Only Thing For It Is To Hike The Henro Michi, A Kilometre Buddhist Pilgrimage Through The Mountains Of Japan Lisa S Journey From Overweight Dole Bludger To Intrepid Explorer Is A Witty Fascinating Insight Into Japan S Famed Pilgrimage There is a trope of travel books, where the author is doing something perceived as adventurous, that in the beginning the author must demonstrate how ill prepared for their adventure they are I think this is so the reader who will never do anything so adventurous will identify with their narrator Usually I think it s a bit of bullshit, but here it s clear that Lisa really was quite ill prepared And yet she managed to walk the route of 88 temples in Shikoku tranforming herself physically and mentally as she went She tells her story compellingly and humourously One way in which she was exceptionally prepared is that she spoke some Japanese Having travelled in Japan myself I can see how huge a difference this would make Obviously speaking the local language helps anywhere but I think Japanese culture can be especially hard to penetrate as an outsider, presumably a little bit less so if you have some language. I love hiking nearly as much as I love books, so when I received an offer to review Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster it was a no brainer to put my hands up yes please Neon Pilgrim is Lisa s account of her pilgrimage on the Henro Michi trail in Shikoku, Japan walking 1200 km of mountainous terrain in the gruelling summer heat I admire people who have the courage to step outside their comfort zone to experience truly life changing events My own hikes, whilst having taken me to some beautiful locations, have been tame in comparison, always holding the promise of company, a good meal, a hot shower sometimes and a bed to sleep in at the end of the day even if the bed was in a remote mountain hut Lisa, on the other hand, hiked in true pilgrim style navigating completely alien territory on her own, with both her meals and her shelter often only received at the hands of generous strangers What a lot of courage it takes to travel like that Writing with total honesty and an irresistible sense of Aussie humour that was both refreshing as well as laugh out loud funny at times, Lisa recalls her experiences on her pilgrimage, giving the reader an insight into both the gruelling as well as the rewarding aspects of her journey Setting off without any experience or prior training, and fighting an ongoing battle with depression, she navigated the pain and pitfalls of her first few days and weeks on the trail with amazing stamina, not holding anything back when recalling her pain and doubts on setting off on her hike What wonderful armchair travel I have never been to Japan, but could vividly picture both its beautiful countryside as well as its graceful people Lisa s inner journey was also an interesting one, as she slowly became comfortable in her own body and managed to still her ever chatty Western mind to reflect on her life choices With a voice that is as honest as it is heartfelt, the tale never comes across as whiny or preachy, as some similar life journey books tend to do and it was always entertaining to read about Lisa s encounters with the many colourful characters she met along the way I think the one thing I loved most about Neon Pilgrim and which made the book stand out from many similar travel tales was Lisa s uninhibited honesty, the way she never censors her thoughts in order to make herself appear braver or tougher in the eyes of the reader It takes a lot of guts to leave yourself so exposed and vulnerable and own up to your own weaknesses If you like hiking, or armchair travel, or just a tale about someone who was gutsy enough to step out of her comfort zone, Neon Pilgrim may be just the book for you Brimming with interesting characters and written with warmth, honesty and an irresistible Aussie humour, this memoir was both interesting as well as entertaining I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever yearned for adventure but has found many excuses why they can t do it Lisa s honest account of her pilgrimage proves that where there is a will, there is a way Thank you to Ventura Press for the free copy of this memoir and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review blog facebook instagram I started this book as I wanted something inspirational, and this one sure didn t disappoint Author starts out the story overweight depressed and generally rather a mess ends up quite an international success for her achievement.It helped that she speaks very good Japanese, having been an exchange student on Shikoku earlier On the other hand, she s vegan, which presents quite a challenge in such a fish based culinary landscape I wouldn t say, however, that it s a book about Japanese culture as such directly Her encounters are with folks along the Route as a pilgrim, rather than a genuine tourist or expat It s her story of finding herself primarily.I suppose if I had to find one negative aspect to the story, it s that she certainly seems to vomit quite a bit So much so that I was near certain she was pregnant Still, for a novice hiker, and writer, she she manages proves the adage You don t know until you try Audio narration came through well, so a good decision not to hire an outside narrator. This was an intriguing travelogue about the famed Shikoku pilgrimage but I felt it was a little superficial A bit of the personal would have engaged me further That s not to take anything from Dempster s effort in completing the walk in the Japanese summer, urgh , which was, in a word, phenomenal.