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The Buddha and The Bee by Cory Mortensen

This book gave me the refreshment I needed; to put it more precisely, it was a short vacation from everything that I was reading and living. While reading this memoir, I went through the myriads of experiences with the author and lived the lives and places I have no connections with. It triggered some suppressed desires that I’d buried deep down in my mind and compelled those emotions that were just too surreal.

This memoir is about the author Cory Mortensen’s liberating adventure on his bicycle from Minnesota to California (approx. 2000 miles) and as basic as it may sound, it was much more than one can even think of. When I started this book, I had no idea how it would go or if it would come close to my most favorite book ever—Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. It did come close to it and that’s why I enjoyed and loved reading it. The only difference is that Author Cory Mortensen had well-planned intentions for the adventure, he kept his family and friends in contact, he did use money, and had no intention to abandon society. But I saw the cards changing in the end when the author decides a whole new fate for his life and quits his job after finishing his cross-country adventure on a bicycle.

The most agitating parts of this book were whenever the author passed from rural towns and deserted roads, whenever he was alone on the road for miles and at the end of the day stayed in some low-key motel. It wasn’t a picture-perfect ride as it may sound because he had his down-times as well; tires getting punctured and flat in the middle of nowhere, many troublesome ascends, demotivating loneliness, heat, and wind—oh, did I mention aliens? Lol— all these things were the major obstacles in his journey. I remember when even I doubted the author’s intentions and motivation when on just the third day of his journey, he decided to call it to quit and go home. He couldn’t bear that loneliness and isolation, his all excitement seemed pointless, but the thought of going back to the ordinary life and job he had was something that held him and made him even more determined to finish what he’d started.

‘The Budhha and The Bee’ is a well structured and perfectly paced memoir and the author’s unctuous narration makes it even more invigorating. He used humor in the most unusual situations and that made the reading experience even more entertaining. But hey! Was the intention of this book was to entertain? Of course not! Along the way he realized, learned, and shared some insights about life. He explored and lived those moments that many can only hope. His description of all the places he visited and came across provided a vivid imagination where I—as a reader— lived and experienced the same.

His struggles with ascending roads and then the fun with the descending ride, all the beautiful landscapes of Nebraska and Nevada, Mountains and breeze, the countryside of Colorado, his days on road and nights in camps, kind people and car lifts, heat and cold, longing for companionship to embracing solitude, deserted roads and crowded bars, from that ephemeral company of coyote to the bikers brothers in Reno, Nevada, from his first day’s uncertainty to the last day’s fulfillment—I lived it all. From all those cafes, restaurants, bars, and hotels to each and every person he crossed the paths with—I experienced it all.

If it wasn’t the author’s brilliant way of putting things in the right order and placing mandatory details in necessary places,  then this book may not have the impact it had on me. For some reason, I could relate to the author’s desires and perspectives about life. This book has a very sentimental and courageous end. The Author’s decision to resign from the job and continuing life on his terms was commendable and does take a lot of strength, and I appreciate that he could do that.

I have never been to America but because of this book, I experienced all those rural roads, deserted highways, villages, ghost towns, and the countryside. I felt various emotions while reading it; I felt frustrated every time the tires went flat and I felt happy whenever the author covered some distance and called it a day with some beers in some motel room. I felt goosebumps every time he started his new day’s journey, I felt anxious whenever he passed through the miles-long deserted roads and I felt inspired every time he kept going even if he had many reasons to take breaks.

The author and his bee (bicycle) were my comrades from the last two weeks and after this overwhelming reading experience, I am still longing to read more. Hopefully, the author is already working on his other book and that’s very exciting because I am curious to know what he did after this adventure and resigning from his job. I hope I will get the paperback or hardcover of this book very soon, I want to put it in my special collection of books with ‘Into The Wild”. I will highly recommend this book for the author’s mesmerizing narration and thrilling adventure. It’s flawless and full of experiences that one should experience once in a lifetime.

To the author Cory Mortensen: Thanks for writing this book and putting so many efforts to make it full of life. I will always be grateful for this reading experience and more power to you.

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