“SIHPROMATUM” (Sip-row-may-tum) is a memoir series of one family‘s four-year backpacking adventure around the world. The first installment, “I Grew my Boobs in China“, is the beginning of an intensely fascinating, sobering, and emotional memoir of Savannah’s introspective and innovative family adventure.
In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.
These pages do not describe a vacation to semi-exotic locales protected from the local culture by a veneer of private transportation, scheduled meals, and ritzy hotels. The family lives and travels as the local people do, a distinction that generates fascinating and unusual experiences rich in multicultural insights, as told from the perspective of a budding young author with a traveler’s eye for detail.
Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (“I Grew my Boobs in China” relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.
Savannah Grace was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Youngest member of a very adventurous family, she’d visited 30 U.S. states by the age of 7 on various camping trips. At 14 she was pulled out of school to travel the world before returning home 4 years later to graduate from high school. Now 23, she’s traveled to nearly 100 countries and completed her first book “Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China”. She is currently living with her Dutch partner in The Netherlands, where she continues to write and travel.
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How would you feel, upon learning of your parents divorce and then your mother’s plans to see the world – and drag you along for the ride. You stand by and watch as your possessions are either sold or loaded on a truck for storage and all you can take with you will have to be practical and fit in a backpack? Does a fourteen year old even know what is practical? Savannah had to learn fast and it wasn’t always a pleasant lesson. Before the plane ever leaves the ground in the good ole US of A, we learn just how not into the trip this fourteen year old isn’t and she doesn’t think twice about letting her mother know.
Going from a rebellious teen to a seasoned traveler, Savannah takes us all on a journey that is unforgettable. She has a gift of describing the mundane that leaves you wanting to jump right in and join her on the trip. Even as an adult, though, it’s doubtful I’d want to leave the comforts of this country and my home to trek across foreign countries, but in the end it was the trip of a lifetime for a girl as well as her family.
Sihpromatum is a wonderfully written memoir that I think all ages will enjoy. I am giving the book five stars and advise putting it on your summer reading list. I recommend following Savannah Grace on Instagram to enjoy her travels and her pictures.