Catherine prefers bath robes to bed-bugs, lattes to lizards and mini-bars to malaria. So why is she going backpacking?

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Travel memoir | Released September 2011


Catherine isn’t the backpacking type. Working for one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, she and her employee discount have become accustomed to complimentary bath robes, 24-hour room service and Egyptian cotton sheets. As for holidays, Catherine likes places that encourage lying—lying on the beach, by the pool, in bed…

She’s been on what feels like one long holiday in Florida when her fearless best friend, Sheelagh, announces plans to backpack across Central America. With Catherine’s US visa about to expire, her having no desire to return home to Ireland just yet and her common sense, evidently, on a day off, she agrees to go along.

After all, how bad can this backpacking thing be?

Um… very bad, actually. Catherine soon finds herself showering with the threat of electrocution, living with mutant cockroaches, sleeping on wooden planks, suffering from all but one of the side-effects listed on her bottle of anti-malarial tablets (liver failure, in case you were wondering) and riding a horse up the side of a smoking, lava-filled volcano.

And that’s just the first week.

Picking up where her bestselling memoir, Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, left off, Backpacked is the wry tale of what happened when one very reluctant backpacker hit the backpacker trail and discovered that beyond the mosquitoes, bad coffee and flea-infested hostels lie bigger mosquitoes, even worse coffee and flea-infested hostels whose bathrooms have no doors.

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Available in: e-book | paperback
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11 Responses to “Backpacked”

  1. Hope August 20, 2012 at 16:45 #

    Hey Catherine,
    Just thought I’d let you know I found your book hysterical. Particularly liked your reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point’, it’s so hard to find any girls in the UK that are interested in literature so it was really refreshing to identify with another girl who likes books.
    I found your writing style quite similar to Bill Bryson, was he an influence at all?
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Elaine Sargent September 9, 2012 at 16:08 #

    Hi! Just finished Backpacked and I really enjoyed it. I read Mousetrapped last year. I downloaded it to read on a trip to WDW. I hope you keep writing…I look forward to your next book!

  3. Grace October 8, 2012 at 18:38 #

    Just finished Backpacked and loved it. You made the trip very real for a reluctant desk jockey….

  4. oldsalt1942 November 28, 2012 at 04:12 #

    I’m an old dude retired to a small town in Panama. Just got finished with the book and have to tell you I loved it. I was a boat captain for many years in the States as well as over in the Med for three years. In all the trips I took the most memorable was in the Spring of 87 when I brought a boat from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Cape Cod with two young girls from the old sod…Jerry from Kerry and Anne from Limerick. Nice girls. We hit every happy hour between Lauderdale and Hyannis. It took me nearly a week before I stopped saying “What?” and “Huh” after everything they said and I got tuned into the brogue. And when I sailed across the Atlantic in ’91 our deckhand, Martin, from Dublin, kept us in stitches every night around the dinner table. I think the Irish are good traveling companions. I’ll be reading your other books soon.

  5. Amy Knapp December 20, 2012 at 00:23 #

    Hey Catherine, I’m planning a trip to Central America and I’d love to read this book. Do you have any plans for a straight-ahead eBook? I use Kobo.

    • catherineryanhoward December 20, 2012 at 11:06 #

      Amy if you e-mail me through the Contact page I may have something for you… :-D

  6. Sue Kennedy February 21, 2013 at 20:28 #

    Catherine, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Mousetrapped’ but loved ‘Backpacked’! It was funny and fascinating and I couldn’t stop once I started. It is so nice to read about a shy person being out there and doing stuff. Dealing with fear can be funny, evidently.

    I have been living on my sailboat for many years and will be returning to Central America in April and you have inspired me to maybe take a pic or keep a journal or something.

    Please write another book!

  7. Help Me Help Holly ♥ March 17, 2013 at 01:49 #

    Hi Catherine, I bought Backpacked on Kindle and absolutley loved it :-) Also just downloaded and read the sample to ‘The best of Catherine, caffeinated’ and t was hilarious! I’m an Indie author too (oh god, this is starting to sound just like that bit you had about but I swear it’s not!!) and I identified with so much of what you wrote. You’re very funny and I look forward to reading more of your books.

  8. Emma May 8, 2013 at 09:05 #

    Hi there! I am only halfway through Backpacked but so far I’m loving it! I came across Mousetrapped (& More) as I am going to work as a cast member at WDW this summer on the rides, and yours was the first book I read about working there, I really enjoyed it and I’m glad it worked out well for you in the end (as it put me off a bit to begin with!). Before I began Backpacked, I had just finished Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air (as I’m climbing Everest to base camp for charity after summer- not sure why!!) and so I loved that you were reading it on your travels!! Also, I completely agree with you about how annoying it is not to be left alone when you have a good book (or maybe any book…) you want to read on holiday! (I’m up to the bit with the two annoying ladies who wouldn’t stop talking). I can’t wait to finish reading this and will look out for more of your work :)

  9. Steve July 5, 2013 at 00:21 #

    Hi, Catherine. Just finished Backpacked and thoroughly enjoyed it. You have a terrific sense of humor, and really know how to convey the essence of your experiences. Having done quite a bit of off the beaten path traveling, and encountering strange and sometimes dangerous situations, I could relate to your adventures and personal reactions. Thanks for a great read!

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