Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams – Book Review – Spoiler Alert!

Let me start off by saying that this was a very interesting read and for me personally a surprisingly good one. I say surprisingly because this is not typical of what I have read for decades or what keeps my limited attention. Most of what I read cover-to-cover is sci-fi/fantasy and more recently contemporary alternate reality mystery stuff. The authors that I would throw into that category would be Laurel K. Hamilton, whom without  who’s Anita Blake series I likely would not be reading any others in the same genre, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris and of course Jim Butcher.

Mark starts off or nearly starts off telling his story about how he meets his “almost never was” wife in New York during his college or just out of college years. He also throw in some nuggets about his work and family. This all plays a part in the story as throughout the book Mark will move forward & backward in time to talk about how events 100 years ago affect his life choices now and how everything relates.

Mark was really good about conveying material without boring you and gave his information in small bite-sized chapters. This last part was especially helpful as my attention span is like that of a twelve-year-old gone wild on four slices of birthday cake washed down with three cans of Mountain Dew.

But I digress…back to our regularly scheduled posting. Mark does a really good job of being self deprecating and makes no bones about his abilities in trailblazing or hiking. This allowed me to empathise with his feeling nervous about him undertaking something of this magnitude let alone quitting his job and following his dream. To make myself a little clearer, I think I can envision the day I can quit my job to follow my dream.

The basic premise of the book is Mark quits his job and follows his dream to walk the road to Machu Picchu. To help in this he has the support of his Peruvian wife whose words of encouragement are “What took you so long” when he asks he what should would think of him quitting his job and undertaking this journey. He also enlists the aid of a modern day Crocodile Dundee as a guide, quartermaster and ultimately friend who without his help this trip would not be possible.

Mark works like a dog to build his stamina up for 4-6 weeks before he starts on this trip, loads up on hi-tech gear, breaks in some awesome hiking boots and mentally prepares to be away from his wife and kids for weeks and weeks on this journey.

Along the way Mark relates how his journey mirrors the explorer Bingham (Jr.) who popularized Machu Picchu a hundred years before and gave him some of his inspiration to undertake this journey. He relates his story in a personal way that almost lets you get to know him and what he is experiencing, which is in my opinion a benchmark of a good story-teller.

This is an inspiring story of a man who in his forty’s decided that life still had plenty in store for him and that all he had to do was to reach out and grab it. This isn’t a story of overcoming tragedy about a guy going on a trip and ends up having to survive 3 weeks alone in the jungle with only his wits and a pocket knife.

The long and short of it is Mark Adams does a good job writing in a way that compels us to read further. He proves that you’re not too old to do anything you truly want to do and that if in the middle of the night it pays to have a flashlight handy when you need to drop a deuce because without it the place you do GO may just be the middle of the road you will be traveling the very next day!

I checked this out from the library and finished it in about three weeks reading small bits at night while in Hawai’i. Check it out and other books by Mark Adams.

More to come…

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