“What kind of life? What kind of life! Both punctuations can hope to be used ...”
A disillusioned A-student drops out after university, adopting a nomadic lifestyle in search of pure hedonistic freedom. After several years of shit jobs and crazed adventures spanning the four continents of the globe, both the characters and the experiences encountered lead to an ultimate reckoning; yet as his life takes an unexpected turn, what lies in store is both extraordinary and triumphant ...
A true story told with visceral humour and a penchant for the weird and the wonderful, WHAT KIND OF LIFE is a homage to travelling and an inspiration for the alternative lifestyle. While a second voice debates the moral issues along the way, we are left to wonder: what makes us choose our direction in life?
This is a roller coaster of a ride across the continents. The author takes us through the wanderings of his misspent youth and there are plenty of drugs, sex and dangerous encounters to fuel the journey.
This is a really enjoyable read - exciting, funny and sometimes poignant. We see the places, meet the people, suffer the deprivations and enjoy the highs. This is not an air-brushed or romantic version of travel but it is easy to understand how addicted you can become to the freedom involved in such a life - the freedom to go wherever you chose, live cheaply and develop close friendships with the people you meet along the way and travel alongside.
From time to time the author uses reflections from his older self to examine his earlier motives and to understand the interior journey he has travelled. He looks at the purpose of travel, the purpose of work and this wrapped up in the underlying question posed by the title of the book 'What kind of life'. A question that can also be turned into a peremptory criticism with an exclamation mark! Was this really a misspent youth or did the travel educate and develop the author in a way that simply stepping onto the escalator of a career path would never have achieved.
In the end the author finds a career and his escalator leads him to achieve an Oscar. This is a man who was always going to go places both literally and metaphorically.
I'm so glad he chose to share his journey with us.If you have ever been travelling or had the urge to step off the treadmill and go this is a must read.
Better and more daring than Wild … this is a story of a privileged white British man who took 10 years to explore the world on it's own terms: face-to-face; no excuses; no regrets. This is an adventure: frightening; breathtaking; incredible; disgusting; mind altering; stomach churning; jaw gaping; WTF and OMG all the way.
This is a voyage that couldn't be taken today … In the 80s and 90s we relied on eye witness accounts. Here's an eyewitness account of the world before we were connected by the internet and smart phones -- if this were a blog there would be a million followers waiting for the next instalment.
Jon would earn enough money to take a trek somewhere on the globe … encountering bureaucracy, ruffians, scam artists, starvation, giardia, drugs, altitude sickness … all in the search to experience environs and peoples in a one-on-one / in your face / on their terms / in their s*** kind of way.
He picked up friends, lovers and saw such disparate places as Australia; Uganda; Zaire; Togo; Kenya; Brazil; Argentina; Peru; India; Kashmir; China; Russia; Germany (before the Berlin wall fell); Amsterdam; France; Switzerland; Egypt … (to only name a few).
Please take the time to enjoy this snap shot of the world from a first hand voyager's account. A coffee table version of this book with all of the resultant photos would be a must buy.
Few people would be brave enough to take this journey … I wouldn't do it … but feel privileged that I can see this because of someone else's experience. Giardia would be a bit much for most people … but Jon found it "… a small inconvenience alongside the pleasure of walking unburdened amongst the valleys and hills of Kashmir."
A superbly written traveller's tale with an interesting and effective narrative structure. It made me nostalgic for the days of travellers' cheques, cheap hotels and accidental companionship and left me itching to dust down my backpack (which I now know to reinforce with chicken wire!). A fascinating insight into far off places both of the globe and of a mind touched by wanderlust. Highly recommended.
This is a relentlessly exciting and pacy read, laced with high adventure and delicious humour. For sheer entertainment value I found 'What Kind of Life' rivals many best-selling thrillers, proving again that life is so often stranger and more compelling than fiction.
Some thought provoking observations on the life choices we all make consciously or subconsciously further adds to the sense of immersion in an absorbing and fulfilling journey off life's beaten track. Check out this link for further info: www.jonthum.com.
Readers will undoubtedly identify Jon Thum with Jack Kerouac, the French Canadian/American author who was catapulted to fame in 1957 with his On the Road classic. Both are bright young men disillusioned with the rat race who take to the road, searching for their identity.
There were some 30 years between Kerouac’s hitting the road in America and Thum’s wandering Asia, Africa, South America and other exotic places but they both seemed inspired by the same spirit of adventure and a desire to escape a society they felt did not reflect their values. Perhaps every generation turns out a talented rebel who reminds the world that all is not well with the status quo.
Thum starts out like every young man seeking freedom from onerous responsibility. Initially, this involves indulging in drugs, drinking and women in equal measure. Life, however, has a way of teaching youths that survival is a serious matter. Thum encounters friendship, love, learning and great danger with passion and humour. Although, at times irritating, one feels that he will eventually come right at the other end.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt there might be more to life than what is on offer. The world is a good teacher. Let Thum show you how to discover it.
WHAT KIND OF LIFE? WHAT KIND OF LIFE! AN EVENING WITH AUTHOR JON THUM
Join us for an evening with author, Oscar winner and ex-Soho resident Jon Thum to talk about his new book ‘WHAT KIND OF LIFE: The Adventures of a Serial Wanderer’. A relentlessly pacy memoir, Jon takes us on a roller coaster ride across the continents, a journey laced with high adventure, delicious humour, and shocks and surprises galore.
As a disillusioned A-student in the eighties, Jon dropped out after university and travelled the world for eight years, adopting a nomadic lifestyle in search of pure hedonistic freedom in a similar fashion to Jack Kerouac’s exploration of forties America. Jon subsequently found a career in Soho in the nineties that led to him winning a visual effects Oscar for the landmark sci-fi movie ‘The Matrix’.
Find out ‘what kind of life’ Jon experienced on the road with an evening of anecdotes from the book - a journey that makes you wonder: what makes us choose our direction in life?Signed copies will be available for sale.