I’m not one to gush about celebrities, but finding out that Andrew McCarthy from the film Pretty in Pink is now an avid traveler and travel writer (editor at large for National Geographic just to name one) makes me admire him even more. So when I was recently asked to review his book The Longest Way Home, of course I said yes. Luckily they were able to send me a Kindle version, so I didn’t have to wait to get started.
On the surface the book appears to be about Andrew’s journeys to places like Patagonia, Costa Rica, Vienna, Mount Kilimanjaro and more. But once I started getting into it, I saw it’s not really about the destinations.
Andrew is preparing to get married to his long term partner, a woman he refers to as D throughout the book. They live together, they have a daughter together, and he is clearly in love with her and committed to the relationship. But he has always been a loner, and with one failed marriage behind him, he’s not sure he’s cut out for that level of commitment.
In what appears to be an escape, he set up a series of trips for work. Though he does give descriptions of the cultures and places he visited, what I really enjoyed were the more mental aspects of travel that he showed. Travel is rarely about the destination for me. For Andrew, travel seems to be his way of becoming more comfortable with himself, a way of working through his insecurities. Since I’ve experienced this benefit of travel myself, I found it comforting to read something I could relate to.
I could see him gradually becoming more comfortable with the idea of getting married as each trip progressed. There’s no surprise ending, and it’s clear from the start that he marries D, but like any journey, it’s getting there that’s interesting. He tells stories from his past, shows his relationship with his son from his first marriage, and works through his own mental barriers.
The book started a little slow, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. I loved how easy Andrew was to relate to, and I loved how he showed that travel is about so much more than just seeing the sights. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was something he dreamed about doing since he was 10 years old, but hiking up that mountain and making it to the top ended up doing so much more for him than he even realized at the time. Reading about his wedding in Ireland made me smile as I could feel him relax at finally being comfortable in his own skin.
The book goes on sale tomorrow, September 18th. Pick up a copy of The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down if you want to read an insightful story of reaching beyond the destinations and how travel can impact you mentally and emotionally.
I received a free copy of this book to review, however all views and opinions are my own.