Pushups in the Prayer Room

Rated 4.20/5 based on 5 reviews
In the spring of 1999, Norm Schriever leaves his old life behind and backpacks around the world for a year, not returning to the US until the spring of 2000. Throughout his journeys he touches down in more than 20 countries in 6 continents, spanning 70,000 miles total, or the equivalent of almost three times around the equator. More

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Words: 91,220
Language: English
ISBN: 9781935953333
About Norm Schriever

Norm Schriever is a humorist, cultural mad scientist, enemy of the comfort zone and author of "Pushups in the Prayer Room," a wild, irreverent account of a year spent backpacking around the world. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of over-studying, and went on to live in North Carolina, Colorado and most recently in Northern California.

Dissatisfied with a conventional existence, Norm sold or donated all of his possessions and moved down to Costa Rica in 2011 to pursue his passion of writing. His first book was written in the sleepy surf town of Tamarindo with the help of his secret weapons: fresh ocean air and Baileys in his morning coffee. He now resides in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua where he is writing his next book, 'Get Happy,' a memoir about life as an ex pat, and writing for the Huffington Post.

You can contact Norm at hi@normschriever.com. Visit www.NormSchriever.com for more information.


Introducing "Pushups in the Prayer Room"
A short promotional video about the book "Pushups in the Prayer Room," a nonfiction account of a year backpacking around the world. You can check it out or buy the book at www.NormSchriever.com

Author Norm Schriever introduces his book, Pushups in the Prayer Room
I wanted to introduce my book, Pushups in the Prayer Room. It's an account of a year I backpacked around the world. It's funny, gritty, wild, and enlightening - you'll love it! You can check it out or pick up a copy at www.NormSchriever.com

A cool video introducing the book Pushups in the Prayer Room
A short promotional video for the book, 'Pushups in the Prayer Room,' an account of a year spent backpacking around the world. You can check it out or pick up a copy at www.NormSchriever.com

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Review by: Sadie S. Forsythe on Dec. 13, 2012 :
I don't usually read travel journals and normally if I was going to pick one up it would probably be one by a woman so that I had more in common with the author. For example, any way you look at it, the dangers of picking up women in San Juan isn't relevant to me. Much of what Schriever does in his year long journey would be inaccessible (or at least highly inadvisable) for women. But I'm glad to have read this one and I'll tell you why. The man can write. The book is easy to read and quite funny. It also addressed some vague and hard to conceptualise subjects, like the effects of the media on fear. You can't really quantify it and it so it can be hard to explain. Schriever's first person account easily highlighted it.

I also love the title. It has panache. It has wit and hints at a meaningful intersection of otherwise incompatible cultures. I think Schriever tried very hard to address ethnocentrisms and cultural discrepancies he encounters on his journey. Sometimes he was more successful than others, but I absolutely appreciate that he made the effort. It is so much more than some would do. I was disappointed that he felt the need to explain the title though. It took a lot of the mystery out of it and made me wonder if I wasn't expected to be smart enough to 'get it.' The incident leading to the name could have still been relayed without making the point so disappointingly blatant. I know that might not be fair. It's probably not fair, but that's how I feel. A person can't always be responsible for how they feel about something, but I can sure be accountable for it and that is how I feel.

Other than being far more relevant to men than women, my only real criticism is that I didn't see much of the spiritual growth that was referred to. He essentially got drunk, high and laid in over 40 countries. I'll admit he definitely seemed to grow as a person, possibly even discovered adulthood in his travels. While that is an important transition and worthy of a book in and of itself, it didn't strike me as particular spiritual. Now, this may be a subjective argument, but there it is. If you are looking for an interesting account of someone's travels around the world this one is worth reading.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Darby Williams on Aug. 17, 2012 :
I just finished this book and highly recommend it! Norm's writing is a little raw, but very real and the magic is in his down to earth story telling about his one-year trip around the world in 1999. As one could expect, Norm changes throughout his travels evolving over time recognizing the common thread of humanity around the world. The book isn’t about religion as the title may suggest. It’s about living. The story about the people he met in some of the harshest settings is very moving and reminds me as a resident of the United States how sterile our life here can become and how isolated our perspective of the world can be. I say to Norm, "Great job! and thanks for sharing your journey." I know I’ll be picking up the book again to read excerpts I highlighted along the way.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Michael Hurd on June 30, 2012 :
Michael, Colorado
Forgot to rate it! Enjoyed reading his book, very fast-paced and funny. It helped put a perspective on other countries and how lucky we are in the US.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Michael Hurd on June 30, 2012 : (no rating)
Michael, Colorado
Enjoyed reading his book, very fast-paced and funny. It helped put a perspective on other countries and how lucky we are in the US.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Christine Jackson on June 12, 2012 :
First and foremost, WOW! This certainly was an incredible journey. I found myself laughing most of the way through this story. There were times I was also shocked and thought to myself, what a sheltered life I've lived. Of course there were points where tears came to my eyes as I realized what a truly remarkable experience Norm had and how much he had absorbed, and also given, through his life changing journey.

I would certainly recommend this read to anyone who is looking for some truthful experiences, and even those who could use some soul searching encouragement.

My take on the book-

This begins as many would imagine, a young man wanting to travel the world and enjoy himself in every new destination. As though he were leaving for a year long "vacation".

While his trip did begin this way, it soon transformed into a shocking experience. Not only did Norm, and his travel companion (for most of the journey) Shane, get to be a tourist in each of these destinations they visited but they began to immerse themselves in thier local ways. Meeting hundreds of new pals and learning an incredible amount of history and culture along the way.

Most of the heartfelt experiences came later in his year of travel, after he and Shane had parted ways on thier journeys because they were looking for different things. While I don't know what Shane went on to discover, Norm had discovered himself through his excursions and the many people he encountered along the way. I can't say that he changed the lives of anyone he met, however, he certainly made in impact, even if only for a brief time, by befriending several of those he came in contact with. He was always willing to lend a hand. Even while getting the odd looks and quizzical expressions by the other locals, sometimes even the person he was assisting. As he ended his journey, he visited his land of heritage. Thus bringing his journey to a wonderful completion where he was able to spend time with some of his own family and learning more of his personal culture before heading back to the U.S. to become "normal" again.

In the next ten years, Norm realizes that his journey is not actually complete. While he had made a good living for himself and at this point owns a home and a couple vehicles and has many material possessions, this is not what he wants. To be "normal". As he remembers a particular person he met along the way, he decided that he wanted to have a much simpler life and that he needed to be the "voice" for this person and many others who could not share thier own stories. Norm decides to sell/donate ALL of his possessions. He leaves the states once more to settle in Costa Rica and now has only a few clothes, a surfboard, and a laptop to his name. Now deciding that he needs to tell his story, more like the story of all those he encountered, he begins writing.

His creation being a beautiful compilation of his experiences. In my opinion, an honest and enlightening masterpiece.

Thank you Norm for this wonderful journey that you have shared with us all!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Xx Yy on June 04, 2012 :
While I appreciate the author sharing his adventure, it seemed to me that quite a bit of the writing was spent describing his and his friend's drinking, smoking weed and experiences with different women. I was left wondering why, when there was supposed to be this big spiritual awakening happening especially with the story of the Cairo boy, there were still more stories being written of drinking, smoking weed and experiences with different women. Where was the examination of the awakening? For it seemed that little time was spent on real soul searching and change until the end of the book and even then it was barely touched upon.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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