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To Shake the Sleeping Self

A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret
Narrated by: Jedidiah Jenkins
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)

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Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

“With winning candor, Jedidiah Jenkins takes us with him as he bicycles across two continents and delves deeply into his own beautiful heart." (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things)

On the eve of turning 30, terrified of being funneled into a life he didn’t choose, Jedidiah Jenkins quit his dream job and spent 16 months cycling from Oregon to Patagonia. He chronicled the trip on Instagram, where his photos and reflections drew hundreds of thousands of followers, all gathered around the question: What makes a life worth living?

In this unflinchingly honest memoir, Jed narrates his adventure - the people and places he encountered on his way to the bottom of the world - as well as the internal journey that started it all. As he traverses cities, mountains, and inner boundaries, Jenkins grapples with the question of what it means to be an adult, his struggle to reconcile his sexual identity with his conservative Christian upbringing, and his belief in travel as a way to wake us upto life back home.

A soul-stirring read for the wanderer in each of us, To Shake the Sleeping Self is an unforgettable reflection on adventure, identity, and a life lived without regret. 

Praise for To Shake the Sleeping Self

“[Jenkins is] a guy deeply connected to his personal truth and just so refreshingly present.” (Rich Roll, author of Finding Ultra)

“This is much more than a book about a bike ride. This is a deep soul deepening us. Jedidiah Jenkins is a mystic disguised as a millennial.” (Tom Shadyac, author of Life’s Operating Manual)

“Thought-provoking and inspirational... This uplifting memoir and travelogue will remind readers of the power of movement for the body and the soul.” (Publishers Weekly)

©2018 Jedidiah Jenkins (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Jenkins’ words are brutally honest and leave me thinking a little deeper about my own observations when I pass a stranger on a street or see a flower blooming on a rocky trail." (Outside Magazine)

“Jedidiah Jenkins is a storyteller. He’s also an adventurer, a connoisseur of good pourovers, an avid Instagram user, a startup co-founder, and one of those humans that makes everything about them seem inviting.” (USA Today)

“This is much more than a book about a bike ride. This is a deep soul deepening us. Jedidiah Jenkins is a mystic disguised as a millennial.” (Tom Shadyac, author of Life’s Operating Manual)

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Uninspiring and disappointing

Had high hopes but was disappointed by the uninspiring narration and story. Such a journey, especially one of self discovery, is expected to be packed full of interesting encounters or revelations but all seemed to fall flat. Seems like another American millennial trying to be a writer. His narcissistic nature was almost unbearable at times : one quote which stuck in my head 'For the most part, my brain automatically discards the vast majority of people as ubforgdttable' captures his nature and narration perfectly. Particularly, his attempt to find North America (coffee and craft beer) in Central and South America with little attempt at trying out local foods or customs was particularly grating. His earnest to address his religion and sexuality was the only grabbing feature of this book, and his conclusions (or lack thereof) are honest. One might come to the conclusion that the lack of any inspiring or entertaining parts of his journey are also honest - I just found it a waste of 12 hours of my life. I could have read A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush if I wanted to read about unprepared and failed adventurers - and be spared any shallow attempts at making the book 'deep'. Would rather read about his parents journey across America. Better books include Tracks, Wild and other autobiographies which include in depth explorations of self and past, entertaining encounters and actual descriptions of landscapes.

1 person found this helpful

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Absorbing

Bought the book after hearing him talk with Rich Roll on his podcast, otherwise it would not have been the sort of thing I'd hear about or be interested in. It turned out to be a gentle but absorbing book and I really wanted to know how it ended . There were no earth shattering conclusions to be drawn but I think that was partly the point and I enjoyed the journey.

1 person found this helpful

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love it. amazing.<br />

loved it. stared from the beginning again as soon as I finished it. excellent stuff.

1 person found this helpful

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Pleasant but unfulfilling, unremarkable and shallow

If you are looking for a tale with depth and discovery, this is not it. The author is shallow and dripping with privilege. There are certainly moments of hardship on the trail, but he seems to learn nothing from them, except that he really wants his rich, white, American home comforts back. I was waiting and waiting for the moment of revelation, the lifting of the veil to some striking level of self awareness. It never happens. He waxes lyrical about the times he gets to stay in nice hotel rooms, eat good meals and be taken care of by friends and family. The parts of the trip that are closest to home are his favourite ones. That’s fine, everyone has their own experience, it’s just not worthy of a book.

One quote almost made me ditch the book completely. When referring to a night spent wild camping, with apparently plenty of supplies to last them to the next day, he says breathlessly: "We survived on bread, and salami and cheese." I nearly burst out laughing! As a seasoned traveller myself, this sounded like a pretty standard and more than adequate dinner on the road. He also often spends his time listening to current podcasts or watching a movie on his laptop, in his tent or hostel. He seems for the most part immature, self absorbed and unable to really connect with the journey he is on.

It appears to me less an epic quest of self discovery and more an extended holiday where he can’t stop thinking about his family and friends back home, (even though he goes home for Christmas, and seems to have a steady stream of friends to either stay with along the way, or who come to visit and join him for parts of the trip), and is never able to let go of his insatiable need for the things his privilege affords him, with some cycling and wild camping in between.

The book is pleasant enough if you’re looking for a way to pass the time, it has nice descriptions of the route from Oregon to Patagonia, and a couple of moments of almost introspection around the author's faith and sexuality, (that seem to lead nowhere), but that’s about it. Don’t believe the hype, this is not one of the great travelogues and in my opinion, as a fan of the genre, should not have gotten past the editing phase. Unfortunately his Instagram fame has made him an NY Times bestseller, with access to all the wealth, validation and privilege he craved along the road.

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Incredibly honest

Jedidiah is one incredibly honest author, he holds no punches on himself and his attitude and his thoughts. At times you love him, fee sorry for him, annoyed by him. It’s a lot more about a persons faith and faith label than I thought, I’d only recommended to certain people who enjoy those questions.

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Didn’t want it to end

...and now that it has ended I’m about to go start it again from the top. I think that says it all.

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An inspiring odyssey

I stumbled across this book without knowing about the instagram hype. I enjoyed listening to every second. He writes his journey well and has a voice that was made for narrating an adventure. The story explores and ambles well. It got me thinking about different lives, opportunities and struggles to my own and made me want to expand out of my comfort zone. The fact his adventure didn't come from a hardened explorer, equipment heavy or high budget made it easier to feel inspired. I would listen again and probably just pick up at different points to enjoy the travel descriptions.

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  • Amelia
  • 29-10-18

Best book I’ve read since Wild!

I loosely followed this journey on instagram and the book did not disappoint. An amazing story of adventure and self discovery. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-18

Couldn't stop listening

Loved this book. I had followed Jed on IG during trip and fell in love with how he wrote and the stories he told. This is so much a about the human condition, this world we all struggle and wrestle with. This story made me want to travel and also find parts of my own self I have smooshed down for one reason or another. It also made my heart break a few times for the idea of how we treat eachother in this world. Listen to book!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Addict
  • 14-10-18

Only a Travelogue, and not that extraordinary.

I found the story to be honestly quite a bore. While I admire Jedidiah for taking this adventure, his reporting is really just that, a reporting of his journey. While there is some introspection into his sexuality and Christianity, that really is it for introspection. Nothing extraordinary happens on his trip and he glosses over places and events to give you just the basics. It is ultimately a very superficial accounting of this journey and lacks much sophistication, humor or profound insight. Found it to be pretty uninteresting in the end.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Neal C Bevilacqua
  • 06-09-19

meh

Wanted to like this book. Not a very good read. Did enjoy listening to him on Rick Roll podcast.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Melissa Essig
  • 22-10-18

So much for adventure

I had high hopes for this book, but I'm only six chapters in and that's enough for me. Jenkins seems like a kid who is more concerned with upping his instagram following than with any shred of self discovery. Starting off a bike journey without even the most basic essentials like extra tubes and a patch kit and staying at friends houses binge watching episodes of Breaking Bad along the way is not my idea of adventure or shaking the sleeping self. This book leaves much to be desired.

9 people found this helpful

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  • NWilhelm
  • 14-05-20

wanted more

I’m familiar with Jed’s writing from Instagram, and I always appreciate his insights and lyrical phrasing. The book, however, fell flat for me. The story didn’t feel like it was worth telling. Every incident begins as though it might almost be something of interest, but then quickly isn’t. And the lessons learned (or realized) along the way are equally lacking.

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  • Sabrina
  • 21-02-20

Different that I expected

I love traveling and outdoor sports so I thought this would be a fun and interesting listen. It was, to an extent, but if I’m being honest, it was way more religious than I expected. I expected a little bit from the description, but almost the entirety of his introspection is about his relationship to God. Probably half the book is about it. I thought it’d be a bit more... varied in its deep thoughts, or perhaps focus more on the travel experiences themselves, but everything had that underlying theme of Jesus.
The book is refreshingly honest about the realities of long term travel and getting older and life in general, but I was expecting more of that and less Jesus. So if that’s your thing, go for it, you’ll love this book. But just be prepared for that cause I certainly didn’t expect it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Colleen Jennings
  • 14-11-19

A Surprising Spiritual Conversation

This story was the perfect companion for my final weeks touring Greece Lebanon and Jordan, an extension of my grad studies as a an adult student over education for refugee children from Syria and Iraq. It included all the questions we ask ourselves about our faith, our Christianity, who God really is. I hope my daughters will listen to it. I hope it would answer some of their questions.

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  • Anna Rachel
  • 05-10-18

This Is a Big Walk in a Circle.

I really regret getting this book. The narration is awful and the story drags. I don't understand how someone can bike such a distance and go absolutely nowhere in personal development. Listening to this was such a drag. And to get through hours and hours of it, to have the most abrupt ending, where nothing with his mother or himself is really resolved.... And nothing about getting back into life in the U.S., off the bike? I read about this book on Instagram and will never pick an audiobook based on social media ever again. There are dozens of hiking and biking memoirs that are better than this. Don't waste your credits.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-05-20

Interesting Read

It was a good book it was honest and a beautiful story. I was not a big fan of the ending but overall it is great read