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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Review: Nala's World

Nala's World
Author: Dean Nicholson

Publisher: 1st October 2020 by Hachette Australia

Pages: 258 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: nonfiction, travel, autobiography, animals

My Rating: 5 crowns


Instagram phenomenon @1bike1world Dean Nicholson reveals the full story of his life-changing friendship with rescue cat Nala and their inspiring adventures together on a bike journey around the world.

When 30-year-old Dean Nicholson set off from Scotland to cycle around the world, his aim was to learn as much as he could about our troubled planet. But he hadn't bargained on the lessons he'd learn from his unlikely companion.

Three months after leaving home, on a remote road in the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia, he came across an abandoned kitten. Something about the piercing eyes and plaintive meowing of the bedraggled little cat proved irresistible. He couldn't leave her to her fate, so he put her on his bike and then, with the help of local vets, nursed her back to health.

Soon on his travels with the cat he named Nala, they forged an unbreakable bond - both curious, independent, resilient and adventurous. The video of how they met has had 20 million views and their Instagram has grown to almost 750k followers - and still counting!

Experiencing the kindness of strangers, visiting refugee camps, rescuing animals through Europe and Asia, Dean and Nala have already learned that the unexpected can be pretty amazing. Together with Garry Jenkins, writer with James Bowen of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob, Dean shares the extraordinary tale of his and Nala's inspiring and heart-warming adventure together.

My Thoughts

‘I had always been good at fixing and building stuff, but I hadn’t built much of a life for myself ... I felt that by hitting the road and spending time in another part of the world, I might somehow find myself. Or, at least, find a way of being myself. Someone said to me once that I hit the road to find a road. That seemed about right.’

I have been an avid follower of Dean and Nala since they were featured by The Dodo video. Every morning I need my ‘Dean and Nala’ fix to get me through the day. Being both a lover of travel and cats, there was just so much to enjoy about his Instagram account. Could there really be any more to share than what we had seen across social media? There certainly was and this highly anticipated book lived up to expectations. 

I was super excited to read this book. It provided so much more detail and insight into the journey of Dean and Nala since they first met. Through reading this, Dean has grown in my esteem tremendously so with the integrity and honesty he has displayed throughout this epic adventure. The way he truthfully details his own personal growth and the love he has for Nala - and indeed the entire animal kingdom - is inspiring. 

‘Nala had splayed herself out next to me, as content as could be, soaking up the last rays of the sun and without a care in the world. I looked at her and shook my head. In some ways, I envied her. She had no work responsibilities. No bills to pay, no possessions, no pressures. Lucky her. I’ve always felt that the more people have, the more they have to worry about. Life should be about the simple pleasures. Moments like this. Sunsets, sunrises over     deserted beaches. A couple of beers with friends. It doesn’t have to be complicated.’

To think about how much this man’s life has changed through the meeting of this sweet kitty is mind blowing. To then have Dean take this uncalled for fame and turn into promoting and supporting needy charities is highly commendable. His passion for the environment and animal rescue is inspiring and he has used all that has fallen into his lap for the promotion of positive change. Who does not want to read about that? 

Nala’s World is an exceptional memoir by Dean  - a travelogue, a cat story, a pedestal for the promotion of the environment and animal welfare - all tied together with a personal growth story of this lively Scottish soul. Dean and Nala, and indeed the range of people who cross their paths, take large leaps in restoring one’s faith in humanity. I am so excited to continue to witness their journey through social media and hope that there might be future instalments to read once COVID allows it to be so. 

‘At another time, in different circumstances, I might have felt disappointed or frustrated to be doubling back on myself. But I didn't feel that way at all. For a start, if the past few months had proven anything it was that my journey around the world wasn’t going to look like anyone else’s. It wasn’t going to run in a straight line or conform to some well-trodden path. I was travelling in Nala's worlds after all. And as long as I had her beside me, that was fine. We’d look after each other.’

Visit Helen @ Great Reads & Tea Leaves

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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