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Summary

Financial Times Summer Book of 2019

Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits - busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play.

In 1935 a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas; had hardly even left the quiet village he grew up in. His idea was to walk through the country, earning money for food by playing his violin in bars and plazas. 

Nearly a century later, the book Laurie Lee wrote - As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - inspired Alastair Humphreys. It made him fall in love with Spain - the landscapes and the spirit - and with Laurie's style of travel. He travelled slow, lived simply, slept on hilltops, relished spontaneity, and loved conversations with the different people he met along the hot and dusty road. 

For 15 years, Alastair dreamed of retracing Laurie Lee’s footsteps but could never get past the hurdle of being distinctly unmusical. This year, he decided to go anyway. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure.

©2019 Alastair Humphreys (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Humphreys is clearly slightly bonkers and this is a wonderful thing." (Geographical Magazine)

"Compelling reading...It’s honest and human." (The Great Outdoors

What listeners say about My Midsummer Morning

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Inspirational!

Anyone who loves outdoor adventures should listen, truthful, uplifting and wonderfully written and read from the heart.

Read Microadventures and now religiously follow anything this brilliant man produces.

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A gentle book with valuable life lessons

I’m a similar age to Alastair and share many of his insecurities and frustrations, but maybe not quite the same level of wanderlust.
I like his easy-going style and gentle humour.
To be honest I didn’t expect too much from the book and it surprised me not because his adventure across Spain was thrilling but because it shows the lessons you can learn from stretching yourself a little. Also, that adventure doesn’t have to be a death defying voyage.
This book has many life lessons and reaffirms many of the things I already know. Along with his micro adventure book it’s encouraging me to have more adventures (even if they are micro ones) of my own.
Bivvy bag has been ordered.

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A great walk

If you are planning a big walk, you should read this book. If you are planning a big sit down, you should read this book. If you can play a musical instrument, or if you can't, read this book. If you know Spain, or if you would like to, read this book. If you ever doubt yourself or the life you have chosen - or if you don't - read this book. If you're looking for something substantial, or want an easy read, read this book.

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Not my thing!

Didn’t enjoy usually go for autobiographies thought I’d try something different. Will revert back to what I enjoy! 😔

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Expected adventure, received wisdom

I’ve been following Mr Humphries on social media for a while, having been linked to his promoting of the “micro adventures” concept, and this is the first of his books I have listened to. I was expecting a report of his trip through Spain: highs, lows, struggles, challenges overcome etc, which the book of course delivers in a very entertaining way.

What I was not expecting was the dive into Alastair’s personal life, and the challenges he has faced with balancing his thirst for solo adventure with the realities of brewing a husband and father. This felt raw and honest, and added a lot of depth to the story.

The audiobook was well narrated and easy to listen to.

Thanks for sharing your adventure and being open and vulnerable Alastair. It would be great for you to go on a podcast like London Real and really dive deep into how you overcame the family and mental challenges.

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The book I would love to write

I love audiobooks and have been subscribing for years now, this is my favourite so far I like Alistair Humphreys other works but this stands head and shoulders above anything he has done yet! And struck a real chord with me pardon the pun one of life's good guys telling you how it truly is on the road and in your head excellent thank you

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loved it

the was the first book by Alistair Humphies I have read and I really enjoyed it. I great take of adventure and I love his outlook on life. i would recommend this. very easy listening.

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A gentle,honest Spanish adventure

I have read Alastairs epic cycling adventures which are very different to this book. But I love this soul searching, honest and often raw account where Alastair struggles between his yearning for solo travel and the love and responsibilities of a family. i also enjoyed the account of Spain - a country i know very well where my parents lived. I actually was looking for Laurie Lees book and stumbled accross Alastairs. I applaud you for busking with a violin with so little experience. It actually encouraged me to buy an instrument and try as well but maybe not a violin! Im not sure why there was never a mention of a bivy bag - an essential item i would have thought! I escaped London to live in the mountains of St Anton and I empathise with this need to be with nature. It soothes the soul, like nothing else. Perhaps I will eventually write my book on that!! Thank-you Alastair for this wonderful audible book and now I will find Lauries book :)

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Inspiring as always

This was a really enjoyable book. Al Humphreys never disappoints. I truly admire his bravery and still hoping that he will write his next book on his adventures in Antarctica.

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Beautiful. Endearing

This story left me with a yearning for adventure, making me feel like a 10-year old kid again.
Beautifully delivered by the author himself, l felt l was walking a few paces behind it as l listened to his mishaps, struggles and inner demons as he traversed down through Spain.
I cannot recommend it enough!

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  • Rosalind Burns
  • 16-02-20

Beautiful book, listen NOW! And get outside!

One of the best travel books I’ve read in a long time. Beautiful imagery, raw and introspective, and a fun and relatable journey. We can all live a little more adventurously! Admitted, I was frustrated by the authors lack of insight into the opportunity to adventure with children. I am a 26-year-old mother, and I have three children. I have taken my five-year-old, two-year-old, and three week old baby hiking through the mountains. I have even done solo day hikes, carrying my baby strapped to my chest, and my two-year-old and a hiking backpack, with all of the gear strapped around him. If I can carry 65 pounds of children on my back for a day of splashing through creeks and climbing over rocks, surely Alastair Humphreys can introduce his own children to adventure. Strap the kids to your back and go!!

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  • Peter Marshall
  • 10-09-19

One of the best travel / adventure books out there

I love this book. Open, honest, and heartfelt. This is one I will keep coming back to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan B
  • 28-07-19

A beautiful and inspiring book

I loved this book even more than I thought I would. I was expecting an entertaining travelogue that would motivate me to go on a trip of my own, and Alastair definitely met that expectation. But I was happily surprised with how much time he spent discussing the challenges of balancing the “selfish” life of adventuring with aging, being married, working a job and having a family. He goes into great detail about his personal struggles with, what felt like, a life devolving into domestic mediocrity. It was encouraging to see, almost in real time, him working through his conflicting desires for happiness as he pivots from “living life for the next adventure” to “living an adventurous life”. This is a great read for anyone who has wanderlust, and required reading for anyone in a mid-life or transitional period.

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  • Katie
  • 07-07-19

Another adventure with Al

I’m so glad Al’s books have finally started to come to audible. I have enjoyed reading every single one (including his kids books to my classroom). His story about balancing work, life, adventure, and family really hit home with me. I sympathize with his selfishness of adventure and freedom yet wanting to be a family man. Thank you for writing this book Al!

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  • Dariusz
  • 30-11-21

it says so much and so well about my own life, too

It is written from the heart. Loved every bit of it and will listen to it all over again.

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  • CP
  • 12-09-21

Really Enjoyed!

Really enjoyed the story and the way Alastair sets challenges for himself. Also find his honesty about his motivation refreshing. I have a better understanding of why people run grueling races, etc. I really enjoyed his first book and am enjoying the unfolding of the inner journey. Hope to see more from Alastair!

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  • J_M
  • 16-02-21

A coming-of-age story

Alastair shares his struggles with transitioning from a life of being lone traveler, extreme adventurer to a husband and father. While most will never live his adventurer life, we’ve all had to cope with those transitions from one stage of life to the next.

This is a remarkably honest and illuminating look at Alastair’s own struggles and triumphs with life’s changes and provided helpful insights for my own life.

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  • Wesley
  • 03-01-21

Meh

I always like Alastair's books. But I feel this story wasn't really enough to write a book about. He writes a little bit about his own struggles of living life at home it isn't the main theme and doesn't really get worked out throughout the book. So it kind of just hangs there. The main story of him going round towns to earn some money with playing the violin badly is fun, for about a chapter... not a whole book. I don't want to sound to negative. His jokes are spot on as always and his performance is great. The book, not so much.

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  • Aron L.
  • 23-06-20

Amazing book from start to finish

Great book, it really captures the struggle of transforming from a constant adventurer to family life. At times I felt that Allister had put my exact current emotions directly into his book. I'll have to buy a paper copy to enjoy again.

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  • Justin Brown
  • 04-06-19

it was a good book

but please give us a more gentle ending. I want to know more about your life and your miss. the ending came too quick. I'm interested in your new life.