On the eve of turning thirty, terrified of being funneled into a life he didn't choose, Jedidiah Jenkins quit his dream job and spent the next sixteen months cycling from Oregon to Patagonia. He chronicled the trip on Instagram, where his photos and profound reflections on life soon attracted hundreds of thousands of followers and got him featured by National Geographic and The Paris Review.
In this unflinchingly honest memoir, Jed narrates the adventure that started it all: the people and places he encountered on his way to the bottom of the world, and the internal journey that prompted it. As he traverses cities, mountains, and exotic locales, Jenkins grapples with the questions of what it means to be an adult, his struggle to reconcile his sexual identity with his conservative Christian upbringing, and his belief in travel as a way to "wake us up" to life back home.
A soul-stirring read for the dreamer in each of us, To Shake the Sleeping Self is an unforgettable reflection on adventure, identity, and a life lived without regret.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
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Excerpted from "To Shake the Sleeping Self"
Copyright © 2018 Jedidiah Jenkins.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
The Itch 1
Part 1 West Coast
Chapter 1 The Plan 13
Chapter 2 It Begins 22
Chapter 3 The Coast Is Clear-Northern California 34
Chapter 4 The Temptation of Home-Southern California 55
Part 2 Mexico
Chapter 5 Crossing into Baja 65
Chapter 6 Some Background as I Lose My Mind-Baja and My Childhood 91
Chapter 7 Cartels and Coconuts 106
Chapter 8 The Cathedral Sits on the Temple - Mexico City 121
Part 3 Central America
Chapter 9 What Happens If I Go Home?-Oaxaca and Christmas 137
Chapter 10 Harry Devert-Panama 161
Chapter 11 A New Continent-Crossing to Cartagena 165
Part 4 South America for the Most Part
Chapter 12 Cocaine and Cute Little Mushrooms-Cartagena and Medellin 175
Chapter 13 God on the Trail-Medellin to Salento 188
Chapter 14 Sex Hotels and here Comes Mom-Cali to Quito 200
Chapter 15 The Coldest Night-Quito to Cusco 216
Chapter 16 Empire Falls to Empire-Machu Picchu 232
Chapter 17 New Blood into Bolivia-Bolivia and Argentina 253
Chapter 18 All by My Argentina-Solo Down Argentina 259
Part 5 Patagonia
Chapter 19 Entering the Holy Land-Mendoza to Bariloche 275
Chapter 20 Alone in God's Most Obvious Work-The Carretera Austral 290
Chapter 21 Mom and the Mountain-Torres del Paine 299
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
NOT a pure travel adventure First, if you want to read about a travel adventure, not all of this book is about that. While the parts of it that does delve into what's its like traveling by bike, outside the US is true to what you think you are buying when you purchase this - the rest is not! You are going to get a heavy helping of what it is like to find out you are a gay individual. You are going to get a disertation on the relevance of Christianity. You will find many questions about the social mores of drug use. Just know this going in! If you can plow through all that, and you want to get a feel for bicycling in South America, then this is pretty well suited. All the side ventures are a bit much!
I will be quite frank; the only reason I finished this book was because I spent 26 dollars on it. My journey reading Jedidiah Jenkin’s (God bless that sing songy name) mirrored his own. It started off with that greenhorn thrill. Getting to know him and the places he visited with great curiosity and a voracious appetite for the story. But then it became dreadful, a slow joy-sucking torture from paragraph to paragraph, inevitably dying down until the (over)saturated ending. Akin to Jed, I was stronger for withstanding the grueling journey. Grateful that it was all over. It was terribly boring in many parts. And it read like the journal of an angsty teenager who finally started self reflecting. Which is fine, but really not worth paying 26 dollars for. I can easily get that inside of a classroom I teach. 26 f****** dollars. Which I am sure were used to replenish the money he foolishly spent on his deadbeat friend Weston. Speaking of Weston, I was as frustrated and annoyed with Jed, as he was with Weston. I loved Weston, and I too am not surprised he did not return to the trip. Though I must say, Weston is a real douche canoe for leaving his friend there. He is also quite clearly a self-glorified bum. But I really did enjoy his character, and I find him to be an interesting, and ultimately, decent human being. I wish the book had followed him more. If I ever were to meet Weston I would roll him a joint. Weston is one of the few memorable characters in the novel. And every memorable character had more depth and interesting qualities than the author himself. This is where Jed was actually writing, providing a touching recount of the wonderful characters that he met. However, aside from them, his storytelling was quite dull. Much like Jenkin’s journey, the book was filled with monotonous routine (reading), occasionally dotted with moments of touching beauty. At times Jenkin’s was quite poetic. His accounts of some moments reminded me of why I travel. Yet for the majority of his memoir he really failed in capturing the beauty of various latin cultures and people. I know this because some of those places that I myself visited before were skipped over in his story, as if they were not worth remembering. He didn’t even really try to learn Spanish. Which really irritated the living hell out of me. How can you spend a year and a half going through latin lands and not really dive into the language?? Jed wrote his purpose was “To provide the framework and personal revelation that a long voyage brings to a story of self discovery, adventure, loss, culture, and wisdom”. I feel that he fulfilled those goals to such a degree of mediocrity that I shall not soon forget his name out of pure annoyance. Perhaps it was that his actual revelation was so mediocre it left a bland taste in my mouth. The annoyance was much like paying 13 dollars at an over-hyped food truck; only to be disappointed with a taste you could have surpassed in your own kitchen. There was hardly any profound wisdom nor cultural insights like promised. It was as shallow as an instagram model. This is truly where he failed his audience. It is clear that Jed’s target audience is anyone who has never left their own city, or never had any sense of adventure whatsoever. But for those of us who really have this innate sense, the book was regrettably forgettable. Jed shook us to sleep, and hardly shook his sleeping self (let alone his ignorance of his own privilege).
Contemplating life throughout the book and even now that I’m finished.
A very well-wriiten account of a beloved young man's journey in which he demonstates a triumphant love of people, beauty, and truth.
I have never loved reading someone's book more. I laughed, I cried and I grew. Jed was able to put into words how so many of us feel. He opened my eyes to the magnificence of the world. His words pushed me to not be stagnant in life.