Cycling Out of the Comfort Zone by Charles Guilhamon
Cycling out of the Comfort Zone is a travelogue with a difference. Charles Guilhamon (the author) and Gabriel de Lepinau spent a year travelling to isolated and often persecuted Christian communities. The aim of this trip ? To discover their Christian brothers. It seems such a simple premise and, on one level, it is simple but there are so many layers to their mission that this book is far from a simple travel story.
I’m not sure which aspect of the book I enjoyed the most. It provides glimpses of different forms of Christian community and worship throughout the world. It is in many ways a spiritual diary; chronicling the effect of the journey and friends made along on the way. It really opened my eyes to persecution happening in areas that I thought to be fundamentally peaceful. And finally it is a snapshot of the Middle East and other areas in 2009-2010 before political developments changed and displaced the communities visited.
The author Charles and his friend Gabriel started in Paris and made their way through Europe, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, India, Nepal, China, Tibet, Thailand, the Amazon, Senegal, Mauritania, Algeria and back to France. A diverse and fascinating route around the world to areas that for many people are unreachable, that being the point.
I have to mention it was hard to keep hold of this book. I take whatever book I am reading everywhere I go and everywhere I went someone would inevitably pick it up say “this looks really interesting” and ask to borrow it. You will find in this book something that fascinates and inspires you. I really loved this book, it is quite hard to describe how and why and I’m very confident that everyone picking it up will enjoy it for different reasons. However I will definitely read it again and I suggest anyone reads it at least once.
Reviewed by Lynette White, Duty Manager at Sarum College
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