Wanderlust Bingo Challenge

Journey’s End…

Well, the one-year challenge that I started in January 2021 took two years to complete, but I’ve finally made it! I’ve visited 24 nations spread across every populated continent (that’s my way of saying I haven’t visited Antarctica). I’ve climbed mountains and sailed seas, I’ve walked and cycled and travelled by road and train, I’ve crossed deserts, explored forests, and navigated rivers. I’ve stopped off in villages, towns and cities, and had a little vacation at the beach. I’ve even been into space!

Along the way, I’ve travelled with spies and murderers and actors, battled cholera epidemics, fished for herring, listened to Māoris and met the Sami people. I’ve been frozen half to death in Icelandic snow, nearly drowned in the North Sea, contracted sunstroke on an Australian beach and been half-eaten alive by insects in the Congo. I’ve flown Spitfires in WW2 and been on a forced march through Malaya alongside prisoners of the Japanese, I’ve endured deprivation during the Spanish Civil War, made it out of Vietnam just in time, been caught up in the Biafran war and survived a siege in the Raj. After all that, it’s hardly surprising I had to spend some time undergoing psychotherapy in an Austrian sanatorium!

(The three orange boxes are the final books I’ve reviewed since the last time I did an update.)

I’ve also had the pleasure of being joined along the way by blog friends: Christine, who sped ahead of me and finished the journey long ago; and BookerTalk and Margaret at BooksPlease, who joined in later and are following along at their own pace. ‘Tis better to journey hopefully than to arrive! Many others have joined in by reading and commenting on my reviews and round-ups. And several of you read my Scottish choice, The Silver Darlings, along with me. Thanks to you all for travelling with me in spirit – it’s never a lonely planet when you’re around!

And lastly (and you’ll never know how hard this was to achieve!) I’ve filled every box with a book I’m happy to recommend!

* * * * *

Here’s the final list with links to my reviews:

North America (Canada) – Still Life by Louise Penny

Small Town (England) – The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

Island (Iceland) – The Chill Factor by Richard Falkirk

Train (Turkey) – Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

Far East (Hong Kong/China) – The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham

Indian Subcontinent (India) – The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell

Village (Sweden) – To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi

Oceania (New Zealand/Aotearoa) – Pūrākau (anthology of Māori authors)

Forest (Germany) – Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K Jerome

Space (Universe) – Spaceworlds (anthology of SF stories)

Mountain (Austria) – Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks

South America (Peru) – At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón

Free Square (Gibraltar) – Killing Rock by Robert Daws

River (Congo) – The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Polar Regions (Greenland) – Seven Graves, One Winter by Christoffer Petersen

Desert (Sahara/N. Africa) – Biggles Defends the Desert by Capt WE Johns

Walk (Malaya) – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

Southeast Asia (Vietnam) – The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Africa (Biafra/Nigeria) – Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Beach (Australia) – The Survivors by Jane Harper

Road (USA) – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Europe (France) – The Man from London by Georges Simenon

Sea (Scotland) – The Silver Darlings by Neil M Gunn

Middle East (Israel) – The Twisted Wire by Richard Falkirk

City (Barcelona/Spain) – In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda 

* * * * *

 And now, the question is… will I do it all again next year?

Watch This Space!

55 thoughts on “Wanderlust Bingo Challenge

    • Thank you! I must admit I thought it’d be easy to just fill the boxes based on my normal reading, but from about halfway through I had to start actively searching for novels to fit. Turns out I don’t routinely read many books set in deserts… 😉

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  1. Very impressed that you eventually managed to find a book you recommend for every square! I’m still hoping to finish my wanderlust bingo by the end of the year, but there are still a few squares left, so I’ve now got a lot of novellas on my kindle from various places…

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    • It was touch and go for a bit – I thought I might have to fill a couple of the boxes with “bad” books but I had some lucky reads at the end! ‘ll be very impressed if you finish by the end of the year! It took me far longer than I originally planned, and if I do something similar again next year, I won’t be setting myself a deadline! Good luck! 😀

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  2. Yay, well done! Brilliant challenge, FF. Bring on the next one! (Did I mention I’m undertaking all kinds of reading challenges vicariously? I’m doing brilliantly too and there’s no laundry involved, just sit here and soak up everyone else’s hard work 😄😉 I’m earning lots of chocolate as well. Eaten vicariously of course 🤭)

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    • Your way of doing challenges sounds much better than mine! 😂 I shall certainly be indulging in chocolate, partly to celebrate finishing this challenge and partly to build up energy to do it all again! Though next time I’ll make sure there’s no “desert” box to fill! 😉

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    • Thanks, it was a fun challenge to do! I’ll be starting a new version in January, and have revamped it slightly to get rid of the boxes that I found surprisingly hard to fill. It would be great if you joined in – and I’ll be leaving the end date completely open this time, so own pace is very much the aim! 😀

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  3. Congratulations on a well planned and well achieved journey! Great to see some old friends in your list and a few TBRs. In Diamond Square is in my ‘sooner rather than later list’, and At Night We Walk in Circles is also on my list.

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  4. I usually track and count the countries my authors are from and currently clock in at 26 for this year, I think. That‘s a fun twist on the world travelling… Maybe I‘ll track the places the books take me to next year… 😏

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    • Well, I’ll have a new bingo card for next year to inspire you… 😉 My original plan was to try to read writers from the various countries but I’m such an insular reader that I soon fell back on Brits writing about “abroad”, like Graham Greene. So while I went to a lot of places, I didn’t do very well on reading foreign authors.

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  5. I would love for you to do this challenge again next year (and why not take a couple years to finish it?). We’ve got so many exciting Canadian books you can choose for your next North American pick 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much harder than I originally intended! I thought it’d be easy to do just from the books I’d be reading anyway but it didn’t turn out that way! But given that you only joined in a few months ago I think you’ve done great to have so many boxes filled already. I’m not really keen on time-limited challenges – I prefer to just finish when I finish.

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