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Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America [Kindle Edition]

Catherine Ryan Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
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  • Length: 278 pages
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Book Description

The laugh-out-loud new travel memoir from the bestselling author of Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida
Catherine Ryan Howard prefers bath robes to bed bugs, lattes to lizards and mini-bars to malaria. So why is she going backpacking
She doesn't know either...   
Catherine isn't the backpacking type. Working for one of the world's biggest hotel chains, she and her employee discount have become accustomed to complimentary bath robes, 24-hour room service and Egyptian cotton sheets. As for holidays, Catherine likes places that encourage lying - lying on the beach, by the pool, in bed...
She's been on what feels like one long holiday in Florida when her fearless best friend, Sheelagh, announces plans to backpack across Central America. With Catherine's US visa about to expire, her having no desire to return home to Ireland just yet and her common sense, evidently, on a day off, she agrees to go along.
After all, how bad can this backpacking thing be?
Um... very bad, actually. Catherine soon finds herself showering with the threat of electrocution, living with mutant cockroaches, sleeping on wooden planks, suffering from all but one of the side-effects listed on her bottle of anti-malarial tablets (liver failure, in case you were wondering) and riding a horse up the side of a smoking, lava-filled volcano.
And that's just the first week.
Backpacked is the wry tale of what happened when one very reluctant backpacker hit the backpacker trail and discovered that beyond the mosquitoes, bad coffee and flea-infested hostels lie even bigger mosquitoes, even worse coffee and flea-infested hostels whose bathrooms have no doors...
Praise for Mousetrapped by Catherine Ryan Howard:
"[Catherine] writes with wit and humor about her time in Orlando. Thoroughly enjoyable and a great read!" --Talli Roland, bestselling author of The Hating Game

Editorial Reviews


"[The] self-deprecating tone is genuine and grounded in sanity, which makes the voice a thoroughly likeable one." --Susan Griffith, author of Work Your Way Around the World
"I read and loved Mousetrapped [and] I wasn't disappointed [with Backpacked] -- Catherine takes the same dry wit and self-deprecating humour along for the ride ... Highly recommended." --Marsha Moore, author of 24 Hours: Paris and 24 Hours: London
"[Catherine has] injected such humour into this book that I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions ... I felt as if I was part of Catherine's journey. She writes about the places she visited ... with so much passion that I'm tempted to hop on the next flight to Guatemala. Backpacked is brilliant, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd hugely recommend it." --Leah Graham of

About the Author

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD is a twenty-something writer, blogger and enthusiastic coffee-drinker from Cork, Ireland. Before writing full-time she pushed paper in various offices, cleaned tents on a French campsite and was a front desk agent in a Walt Disney World hotel. She is currently dividing her time between her desk and the sofa. She blogs at and will never go backpacking again. Ever.

Product Details

  • File Size: 583 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005JU5FG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Backpacking is the best way to travel! March 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I am disappointed at the author's attitude towards 'backpacking' as a form of travel. The entire point of traveling is to immerse yourself in the local culture as much as possible; to really experience local culture, not visit "mini-America" by sticking close to expensive tourist hot-spots. If that's the case, why bother traveling at all?

While the author does have a sense of humor describing her adventures, she does come across as needy and is certainly not a travel companion I would want tagging along with me.

As an avid traveler myself, attitude is everything and I think she really cheated herself out of what should have been one of the best enjoyable and cultural learning experiences of a lifetime.

Her novel could have been so much more had she taken the opportunity to really appreciate the value that this type of travel offers.

So while her writing is mildly humorous and well-written, if not fantastical at times, I just could not get past her poor attitude to really enjoy this novel. It's a shame; her experiences could have offered her readers so much more. Stick to your expensive sheets and room service I suppose...
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goodness, this book is the definition of negative. November 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hummm!!!! I wonder if the author reread her story from the perspective of her readers??? I can't imagine she really meant to come off as needy and whiny throughout the course of this book as she did...but she really does. I understand she was reluctant to go on the trip in the first place, but it was a choice she made and, as such, she should have had the moxie to buck up and enjoy herself. After all, she and her travel partner really didn't rough it at all throughout the trip. They visited some really nice places, ate in restaurants and never cooked a meal, stayed in private accommodations and took buses or taxis everywhere--yet all the author could do was complain, complain, and complain some more, about almost everything. It certainly killed the joy in reading this book for me. I got it free from the top 100 list and, I can assure you, if I would have paid the outrageous price they are asking for it in printed form...I would be really p.o.'d. I think some serious liberties were taken with embellishment in this book. For example: the author states that she was in the crater of an active volcano with lava flowing right under her feet as she stood on a little "bridge" which spanned the flow. Now really, are we supposed to believe that (1) she could actually get that close to flowing lava without special gear and (2) she would be dumb enough to do so??? Look, I think the author had a chance to make something really special out of this book, but page after page of complaints ain't it. I gave it three stars because it was fairly well written and contained some interesting information, but it simply got old before it was half over. What a shame.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read! September 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read "Mousetrapped" while vacationing with my family - where else, Orlando - poolside on my Kindle. I stumbled across it almost by accident, looking for tourist-y type books on Florida, and I'm so glad I did! I subscribed to Catherine's blog and downloaded Backpacked as soon as I saw it was available. I finished the book in two days, and enjoyed every chapter. If you are looking for a lighthearted, fun book Catherine will not disappoint! I wish I didn't have to wait for October before Results Not Typical!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Earlier this year I won a copy of Catherine Ryan Howard's non-fiction book Mousetrapped on Catherine's blog. It was just before I got my Kindle and if I hadn't won a copy (thank you, Catherine) I was going to purchase it for my Kindle when I'd decided to get one. I'm not a big travelogue fan, for no other reason than I prefer fiction. I mean, there's rarely a happy-ever-after, let's-skip-off-into-the-sunset ending on a non-fiction book is there? But I really enjoyed Mousetrapped and was inordinately pleased when Catherine sent me an e-copy of its sort-of-sequel Backpacked and I finished up my current book quick as you like and dived eagerly into Backpacked.

I'm not really known as being a traveller. I've been on holiday to Florida - twice - to Alicante in Spain and to Tenerife, where I now live. However I would love to be a traveller. I dream of doing a road-trip across America; of visiting Australia; South America intrigues me as a place to travel, but I certainly would never go alone, that would be miles too terrifying. Backpacked allowed me to travel to South America all in the comfort of my own home! I went to Costa Rica, to Guatemala, to Honduras, to Nicagura and to Panama. It allowed me to visit all of those countries in South America and it seriously whetted my appetite for wanting to go to those countries.

Catherine Ryan Howard is our intrepid traveller, someone who prefers chilling in a 5-star hotel to backpacking through South America. But with no job, no home and nowhere else to be, Catherine figures going backpacking is going to be an adventure. And she's going with her best friend Sheelagh, who can save Catherine from all kinds of terrible things since she's a seasoned traveller herself! What follows is a 9-week adventure that is highly readable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun, Relaxing Read
This book is very well-written, even if the content isn't as compelling as your standard techno-thriller.

The book describes the ... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth, realistic, and witty read. ...
Down to earth, realistic, and witty read. I wish more travel writers would be this honest about their (mis)adventures.
Published 3 months ago by Ray L Desrochers
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I set out to read this book to find out how awful Guatemala must be, since my ex-husband is Guatemalan, and ended up really enjoying it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rondi Osorio
3.0 out of 5 stars Likable Book of Worldly Woman's Backpacking Misadventures With the...
Have to say that this book reinforced what I already knew from other people's experiences that backpacking would not be my preferred means of travel. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Don Kidwell
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fun read for anyone but a person who's travelled...
This is a fun read for anyone but a person who's travelled internationally, backpacking or not, will really enjoy the author's approach to self, locations, and the quirky folks she... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Overland Through Central America
I enjoyed reading this book. I think Ryan did a great and humorous job of describing what it is like for someone, travelling the way she and her friend did, to venture overland... Read more
Published 5 months ago by bjm
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Read
Surprised this was self-published as it deserves a place on bookshelves. Well written and entertaining. Read more
Published 6 months ago by magsapie
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and zany
Funny and zany, I enjoyed the trip without having to travel. I don't like the trials and hassles of traveling, but this book let me have the experience.
Published 7 months ago by zookeeper
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written and highly entertaining
Published 7 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it! Funny,plus I learned a lot. Couldn't put it down
So funny and a great read. I loved this book. You will not want to put it down and you may even consider
backpacking across central and south America. Read more
Published 7 months ago by charlie
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More About the Author

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD is a writer, blogger and coffee enthusiast from Cork, Ireland.

Her debut thriller, DISTRESS SIGNALS, will be published in the UK and Ireland by Corvus Books in June 2016.

She is also the self-published author of three titles: two light-hearted travel memoirs and a guide to self-publishing.

She has led workshops and seminars on self-publishing and social media for the likes of Faber Academy in London, the Irish Writers' Centre and the Inkwell Group (Dublin), and has spoken at various book and writing festivals, including ChipLitFest, Dublin Book Festival and Mountains to Sea.

Before writing full-time, she was (very briefly) a campsite courier in France, a travel administrator in the Netherlands and a front desk agent at a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin and wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. (She's 32.)

Find out more about Catherine on or follow her on Twitter @cathryanhoward.

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