9000 Miles of Fatherhood: A True Story by Kirk Millson

9,000 Miles of Fatherhood9,000 Miles of Fatherhood by Kirk Millson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always enjoy good travelogues whether they be about the people who travel or the places they go. Sometimes, like Kirk Millson's book, the story is more about the travellers than it is about where they travelled. A recently "down-sized" man and his average son take a 4-month journey south through Mexico to reach Panama's Darien Gap, The End of the Road. By today's standards this is not exactly safe country to travel through by oneself and could be likened to having a modern day "wild west" atmosphere and philosophy of life. The two travel through Mexico and Guatemala. Then bus it to Costa Rico where they finally travel to their destination in Panama. The blurbs from the book mention an "emotionally estranged", "timid" "D Student" to describer Kirk's son, Peter. However, as soon as the book starts I found through Kirk's own voice that Peter really was pretty much an ordinary 21st century kid and Kirk was the one who was "emotionally estranged". So Peter didn't have the greatest dad and this trip together gave them the chance to bond in a way they may not have been able to otherwise. Kirk let his emotional guard down, learned to say "I love you", show affection, be a dad and a friend but always a Dad first. Peter got a wonderful opportunity when he was removed from 21st century consumerism and that contributed to his own personal growth during this trip but I felt his dad's own changes were the ones that would have made the most positive and lasting effects on the boy as a whole. This is a fun read, Kirk has a fine storyteller's voice and is willing to be the first to make fun of himself. This is dangerous territory they have ventured into and not surprisingly they meet up with the bad element from the get go. They have some close calls with bandits, bad cops, and burglars but from the book's tone we know they are going to be ok so can enjoy the tales told with verve and enthusiasm and, yes, lots of humour. Kirk and Peter also met many fine, friendly people on their tour as well and overall this is a enjoyable read for those who wish they could just pack up and travel. The book does have a specific charm though for an audience of father's with young teen sons. I'm a mother but my son is thirteen and I found myself wishing he and his father could have strong bonds over dangerous tales to tell together, like back in the old days. A good read.

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