Wharton Reed Publishing (2017)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/19)
When Frankie Hogan decided to start seeing the world, he made some huge changes in his life so that he would be able to do so before he hit his middle age years. Readers get to follow along on his adventures through “Livin’.” He takes us to exotic places like the pyramids in Egypt, a monkey temple in Cambodia, a canoe ride down the Amazon, a lion walk in Africa, and the list goes on. On each adventure, he shares the good, the bad and the ugly of his experiences.
In most cases, the ugly involved people trying to take advantage of him, and not the actual setting. He first experienced this by the Great Pyramids in Egypt. It was eye opening for me to see how people will treat foreigners. For the most part, his experiences were not only positive, but I got the impression that many of them left a special place in his heart. As I read about each journey, I kept trying to figure out which adventure was his favorite, but it seems like most were favorites while he was experiencing them. It was wonderful to read about so many places that I want to see.
Personally, I’ve been following a friend on social media as she journeys around the world. Her posts and pictures are beautiful. She and Frankie have even been to some of the same places, like Amsterdam and Machu Pichu, but I have to say that Frankie’s tales about his trips are much more entertaining. He has a gift for describing people and places in a way that brings them to life, even without the pictures. His love of entertaining company also adds to his stories. Alcohol tends to play an active role in many of his social interactions with some lively characters. Frankie also had some special encounters with wildlife, including lions, monkeys, spiders and alpacas. He made me laugh out loud with some of his observations.
I love that Frankie is very candid about his experiences, including the ones involving marijuana in Amsterdam. His interactions with people and gift for making new friends add a warm touch to his memoirs. His desire to overcome his fears also added some moments where I found myself holding my breath. The one that affected me the most was when he had to work through his fear of heights in Machu Pichu. If I had been in his place, I would still be there stuck on a narrow trail of steps with nothing to grab on to.
“Livin’,” is the perfect read for an armchair traveler who wants to live vicariously through someone like Frankie Hogan. That is where I am at in my life right now. As things change and my time is freed up, then I hope to be able to plan some excursions, where I will definitely use this book as a reference. I truly hope that Frankie Hogan continues to write about his travels, because there are quite a few places left in this world that I would like to see through his eyes.