Title: Gatecrashing Europe
Author: Kris Mole
Published: August 2015 by Valley Press
Genre: Nonfiction travel
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
In 2007, Kris Mole flew one-way to Stockholm with a vow not to return home to England until he had visited every capital city in the mainland European Union. He set himself eight simple rules, most importantly A) that no money would be spent or handled during the journey, and B) no credit cards would be used either. Thus, the great Euro Freebie Challenge began: twenty-three cities to be visited, 6000 miles to be covered, without spending a single penny on the journey – to raise money, in fact, for Cancer Research UK.
The colourful story of this six-month trip was first told by charismatic, wise-cracking, semi-anti-hero Kris via a series of blogs, and followed by readers of The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the BBC website. Readers found Kris drawing on his formidable resourcefulness to acquire all of life’s necessities for free, resting wherever he could find a place, and travelling by foot, hitch-hiking, or stowing away on trains – experiencing, as you might expect, a wild emotional ride in the process.
August 2015 marks the first appearance of this epic journey in book form, with the author donating 10% of his royalties to Cancer Research UK.
I don’t typically read books about travel, but I do enjoy a good memoir from time to time. What the author did was pretty inspiring so I was intrigued on how his travels went for such a good cause. I couldn’t say no when he reached out to me about reviewing the book.
This won’t be a typical review as it’s non-fiction, so bear with me.
The major “plot” of this is that the author, the protagonist, Kris, was attempting to explore the EU by visiting every capital without spending a penny. There are 23 capitals and well over 6,000 miles to travel.
You think, “How can he possibly do that without spending any money?” Well, he did it. And at the age of 24, no doubt.
It was interesting to see how he managed to get from one place to another whether it was from a kind citizen hearing of his cause and buying him a bus ticket, he hitch-hiked, or he simply walked.
It’s a good challenge, an exciting one, and as difficult as it is, it’s a simple one as well.
Kris himself was ambitious and determined that made him a great fit for the challenge. He began the challenge for Cancer research as his grandmother was sick. While on the journey, he received word that she had passed on.
He continued on the journey for his grandmother and everyone else who battles Cancer.
I can’t even begin to explain all the various people Kris met on his journey, but I’ll just say that he met some really nice people and then some pretty interesting characters.
Kris’s writing made the book easy to read as the pace was steady and each chapter flowed nicely right into the next. Every time he crossed another capital off his list, he laid it all out at the beginning of the chapter. How many capitals he had left to visit and which ones they were, how many miles he had traveled, and how many days he had been on the journey.
His writing was also humorous as he wrote exactly what he was thinking at all times. It definitely catches your attention.
I can’t stress enough how inspiring this book is. It’s hard to believe that anyone was able to achieve such a feat and make it all the way back home. If you’re interested in a feel-good kind of read, then this is the way to go. Plus, you get a little geography lesson in the mix.
Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole gets…
5 out of 5 stars
“How could you hate so many things about a place you had never seen with your own eyes.” –Kris Mole, Gatecrashing Europe
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