Jenny Graham: Coffee First, Then the World

Reviewed by K Lang

In an adventure across the world, Jenny Graham travels across 16 countries, trying to beat the world record for the fastest time around the world on a bike. She beat the record by 20 days and set the new world record for the fastest woman to travel across the world. Starting off in Berlin, she went on a trip of a lifetime, across Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, The USA and Canada, a very extraordinary trip, through the good and tough times, sometimes even sleeping under bridges. She came to the Wigtown Book Festival to talk about the book she wrote after the trip, and the trip itself.

The introduction to the talk was great, funny, and fascinating. She was extremely enthusiastic and came to the talk in a cheerful and fun mood, the event sold out, and I can see why, it was overall a great talk, with a fantastic presentation, very thorough and clear. It was amazing to see how the different countries treated her and how the experience was. We got a vision of how Siberia and Mongolia looked, which she was particularly good at explaining, and the hospitality of the people, which will surely make people want to visit. I personally already know how good Mongolia’s landscape is and am happy that someone else shares the same wavelength, and I would love to visit one day, however maybe not whilst pedalling across the world. The questions we also answered well, and all very good questions. She explained well how she was able to travel and even pee on her bike, however, I wouldn’t recommend you learn how to do it, unless you plan to do the same.

There were, however, a couple of things to improve on. I think a couple more stories during her trip would have been nice, given us a better insight into her trip, and talk a bit more about the start, and how she saw the first few countries since getting through them was especially quick. Pointing out the countries, and talking about more of the places like Alaska, and China would have made it better because we had good insights on Russia and Mongolia, however, there was less on China and Alaska. It would have made it better if we learnt a bit more about the people and the country there. Finally, there was a sudden ending, straight after the end of the Q&A, there wasn’t a summary, it just finished immediately. They could have structured it better, and not ended it so suddenly.

Overall, the story was an amazing, beautiful trip that shows how darn big this world is. It is one of the greatest feats of humans, that will push the limits of your body. The talk was also fantastic, and I would highly recommend buying the book, as it will give you insight into the trip across the world and how she beat the World Record.