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No Roads to Follow: Kayaking the Great Lakes Solo [Paperback]

Michael Herman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 25 2011
When people are searching for direction or meaning in their life, they say that they are looking for "a road to follow." In the spring of 1994, author Michael Herman was searching for a new road. Dissatisfied with his job and feeling unsuccessful, Michael began what some people considered unthinkable. Under the watchful eyes of a small crowd of friends and onlookers, he embarked on a 127-day solo sea kayak expedition of the Great Lakes. His goal was simple: to raise money and support for the cancer society by kayaking Canada's biggest lakes. Beginning in Thunder Bay, Ontario, as the ice was melting on Lake Superior, his trip included more than the physical landscape he traversed. Put to the test by open-water crossings, ferocious storms, illness, betrayal, and self doubt, Michael's journey is nothing less than extraordinary. Part memoir, part adventure, and part love story, No Roads to Follow shares one man's 3,200-kilometer expedition across the Great Lakes and his journey inward as he learns to define the measure of personal success.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Roads Lead to Home Jan. 19 2012
Format:Paperback
It took Michael Herman a long time to craft No Roads to Follow. Whereas his waterborne jaunt across the Great Lakes occurred in 1994, his efforts to publish his experiences from his journals did not have their fruition until 2011. Seventeen years it took then, to formulate his memories into a very interesting book, which operates on several narrative levels.

On one hand, the book is a detailing of Herman's disillusionment and discontent with a haphazard career path and the emotional emptiness therein. These feelings culminate in a plan to do something large and radical (he kayaks the Great Lakes from Thunder Bay to Toronto solo, ostensibly to raise funds for cancer). His motives to do so are not explored very deeply, but rather seem to flow naturally from a compulsive, if determined young man, seeking some measure of self-exploration and meaning.

Secondly, it is the recounting of said journey, filled with the generosity of strangers, the challenges of the wild, wind and weather, and the author's sense of the Cancer Society supporting him rather loosely behind the scenes. Indeed, the total money raised from Herman's undertaking seems somewhat small comparative to the effort expended, but perhaps that is only an afterthought to the reader. On a side note, Mr. Herman seems to very much appreciate food, as the details of his menu choices are by far the most consistent part of his recollections. The man loves a meal.

Thirdly and most engaging is the through-line of the author's gathering feeling for his girlfriend, Fleur, with whom he feels his relationship is tenuous and incomplete as the story begins. As his journey progresses, he begins to pine for her most earnestly and often, and luckily, manages to connect with her a few times within the layovers of the trip.
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4.0 out of 5 stars So much determination! March 11 2012
Format:Paperback
This book was great! There is so much to know about the Great Lakes and so much preparation needed as well. Michael was so determined to do this trip even when he got sick. Reading the book, I got scared for him a few times. I became immersed in the story and couldn't get away. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us Michael!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduced me to a whole new genre of books Nov. 7 2012
By WIonthewater - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First off, I'm extremely interested in the Great Lakes. This is what originally got me into this book. However, after reading the first hand accounts of someone who's paddled across them, I'm suddenly interested in reading travel books, especially across water. However, there haven't been any other books so far that directly compare with "No Roads to Follow". This book will remain a favorite for me, and I might end up reading it through again sometime soon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For paddlers only... Dec 22 2012
By Michael Bradley` - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I say 'paddlers only' as this book will probably not interest folks who don't get out and paddle on long distance trips. For those who do and especially those who have considered the Great Lakes as a paddling venue, the book is interesting. Unfortunately, the writing style was, to me, somewhat lacking and tiring at times. The constant referral to his fund-raising problems got in the way of the paddling story and that bothered me. I was left not really getting a true feel for his accomplishment going from Thunder Bay to Toronto.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars its good Dec 31 2013
By myth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
after a while it seemed like a story of all the trash (gifts) he leaves all across the great lakes. Hope he participates in river cleanup to make up for it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sept. 13 2013
By Michael L. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For anybody that even knows what a sea kayak is this is a wonderful story. Amazing expedition author did in 1994 and published in 2011..... Adventure, Love and Compassion .. Would make an excellent movie..
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book Aug. 12 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great read and I felt like I was in that kayak in those gigantic waves in Lake Erie! Highly recommend for those who like kayaking and camping.
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