Pushups in the Prayer Room
by Norm Schriever
Facebook: Norm Schriever
"Pushups in the Prayer Room is an account of a year I backpacked around the world. It's not religious at all, but a wild, irreverent, and funny memoir that chronicles my personal maturation and consciousness about the world as it goes, as well as detailing a lot of history and culture from the inside out."
Excerpts from the Introduction of 'Pushups in the Prayer Room:"
In the spring of 1999, I left my old life behind and backpacked around the world for a year. I didn’t return until the spring of 2000, a profoundly changed man coming back to an unfamiliar home in a new millennium. Along my journeys I touched down in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Japan, Israel, Palestine, Sinai, Egypt, Jordan, Germany, and the Netherlands. I stepped foot on the continents of North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe, with only Antarctica left out.
I purchased a round-the-world ticket through United and the Star Alliance, which was ridiculously cheap — only $2,500 for 35,000 miles. That was good enough to drop me in the theaters of the world that I wanted to explore, and from there I took trains, motorcycles, commercial airlines, little puddle-jumper planes, buses, taxis, ferry boats, high-speed hydrofoils, bamboo rafts, horses, camels, and elephants to get to my outlying destinations.
I read somewhere that the circumference of the globe at the equator is about 24,000 miles. I sat down once to track all the legs of my travels that year, not only the big intercontinental flights but every jaunt to remote locales, and I estimated that I traveled around 70,000 miles total, or almost three times around the globe…
Traveling was not easy; I figured that on average I was on the road every two days, and believe me when I tell you that even a two-hour bus trip can be an excruciating, all-day affair in a Third World country. It was dirty and difficult and constantly uncomfortable. I got sick everywhere I went and had to fight off thieves, hustlers, and scam artists at every turn. I never had enough money and was constantly trying to keep my past life and relationships in the U.S. from unraveling. Most people in the States thought I was crazy and didn’t understand what I was doing. Most people I met while traveling thought I was crazy and understood full well what I was doing. I was a pariah, an outcast, a citizen only of the world, blazing a trail that had very few footprints ahead of me. Was I scared? Hell yeah — every moment of every day, but it got to the point where I couldn’t tell the difference between fear and feeling alive, and true happiness was having a front-row seat to watch the death match between the two…
In my idealistic youth I thought that I would conquer the world, when in fact the world changed me, giving me empathy for the millions of people whose existence I came to witness…
So what could I do to help? How could I possibly touch people’s lives, not only giving them hope but breaking down some of the walls that separate us as human beings? How could one little person make a difference to the whole wide world? I didn’t have the answers yet, but I was asking the right questions, pure questions, and that meant I was on the right path. What was I looking for on my odyssey around the world? I wasn’t sure yet, but that really didn’t matter because it was going to find me anyway.
Thank you Norm, for sharing your book with my little blog! I hope everyone will check out your inspiring book!