In her first book, Sihpromatum, Savannah tells her true story of backpacking across the globe. At fourteen years old, Savannah is shocked when her mother decides to surprise her family with a year long backpacking journey.
From the outset, Savannah is dead set against the idea, but even her anger can’t stop it from happening. Before long, her family home is packed up and her beloved pets are given away. Savannah and her family then dive head first into a wonderful journey. This book relates the voyage of a naïve, teenage girl, whose adventures teach her about the harsh realities of life for most of the world’s people.
Sihpromatum is a wonderful book. Its simple prose exposes both the harshness and the beauty of life on the road. Before I read this book, I would have been against backpacking, just as Savannah was at the time. Having read the book, however, I now think otherwise and might even embrace the opportunity…
As a fourteen-year-old girl, I can perfectly relate to the feelings Savannah describes in Sihpromatum. She talks about her fear of not fitting in, and the worry that she might not be pretty enough, which most teenagers can probably relate to. What’s interesting, though, is the way Savannah’s trip teaches her to see things differently.
Her journey begins in Hong Kong, where the family spends its first night overseas sleeping inside the airport. The hotel they find the following day provides little improvement over the airport floor, considering their room barely accommodates a king-sized bed. Savannah’s family spends the next week exploring Hong Kong and are able to survive, thanks to a little help from a friend they meet along the way.
Later, the family continue their adventures by traveling across China and visiting a variety of sites via routes that are well off the beaten track. The family’s adventures take them to tourist sites, such as Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Moon Water Caves. However, they also get a taste of local living. Everything, from the accommodations and food to the unappetizing toilet facilities, is different from the comfortable life Savannah was accustomed to back home in Vancouver.
Despite the challenges, our heroine gradually warms to the journey and the many friends she and her family meet along the way. From China, Savannah heads into Mongolia, where (amongst other things) she and her family get stranded on a jaunt through the Gobi Desert, a frightening experience they are not likely to forget.
Sihpromatum is a travelogue and a personal journey that is filled with ups and downs. The book is bound to make you laugh out loud and bring tears to your eyes. It is an enjoyable and entertaining read from beginning to end.
Our Verdict: Sihpromatum would be a fantastic choice for holiday reading and is an absolute must-read for anyone considering a family backpacking adventure.
Disclosure: Savannah Grace kindly provided us with a complimentary, electronic copy of her book for review purposes.