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Summer 2018 Reading Challenge: Backpack Across Europe

summer reading 2018.JPG

Welcome to our summer 2018 reading challenge where together we will read our way across Europe! The goal of the challenge is to backpack (a.k.a. read) across Europe and amass the highest points. The challenge will begin July 2 and will end September 30 at midnight EST.

How to play:
All players will begin in their home country and will fly to one of the following airports: Heathrow (UK), Charles de Gaulle (France), or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands). Once you arrive you must read a book from that country in order to begin your travels and move on to the next country.

To travel across the Europe you must read and review books corresponding to each country that you visit. The book either must be predominantly set in that country or the author has to be from that country. You will be awarded points for each country that you visit. To fully participate you must travel to at least 4 European countries prior to arriving back home. You must move across the continent in the same way you would travel over land. You can’t skip over countries (see exception below) by using water travel. You may only use water travel to visit island countries.

To move across a continent you must complete your book and post a mini review (or link to your review on Goodreads or your blog) as a comment on this page.

Four bonus points will be awarded for visiting landmarks. To get credit for visiting a landmark, you must be able to draw a link between your book and the landmark. This can be a quote, a reference to a historical event, a central theme of the book, or another type of tie-in (character in the book visits the location, etc). A moderator (Book Worm or myself will determine whether the reason you provide is sufficient to merit the landmark points). The landmarks are the following:

Mont-Saint-Michel
Alhambra
Parthenon:
The Charles Bridge, Prague
La Grand-Place, Brussels
Brandenburg Gate
The Gran Bazaar, Istanbul

Old city of Dubrovnik
Buda Castle

Your trip will end when you arrive back in your home country and complete a book for your home country. To travel back to your home country, you must depart from one of the following airports: Frankfurt (Germany), Istanbul (Turkey), or Adolfo Suarez Madrid (Spain). If you live in Europe you may travel back to your home country over land, bypassing the final air travel requirement.

Travel Exceptions: Each Monday (starting July 2) three types of major events will happen that can impact your game. One event type will advance your game and the other two event types will delay you. In addition, a fourth type of event will pop up periodically and could help you.

  1. Travel hubs: Each Monday we will use random.org to select 1 country that will become a travel hub for the week (Monday-Sunday). If you arrive in this country any time in the week it is the designated travel hub, you will be able to move to any other European country from that travel hub. In order to take advantage of this opportunity you must declare that you are using the travel hub and where you are going before the end of the week.
  2. Travel delays: Two randomly selected participants will be picked each Monday to experience a travel delay. If you are selected, then you will not be able to advance to a new country until the following Monday. You can finish your current book but will not be able to start a new book until your travel restriction is lifted. You may be delayed multiple times throughout the game. We want you to take your time “traveling” and enjoying the sites. Speeding through countries too fast may result in more frequent travel delays. Each week players’ names will be entered into the randomizer for travel delays based on how many countries they visited in the prior week. So if you didn’t complete any books your name won’t be entered into the randomizer but if you complete 5 books in a week, your name will be entered  5 times and the likelihood that you will be delayed will increase.
  3. Weather warning. Two countries will be randomly selected as blackout countries each Monday. This means that for that week, you will be unable to travel through that country. If you are already in that country when the weather warning occurs, you may finish your current book but  may not start your next country until the blackout is over. If you are adjacent to that country and want to travel through it, you must either wait until the end of the week OR find a alternate route.
  4. Special events. At periodic times through the challenge, special events will be announced that impact a specific country. If you happen to be located in that country in the week of the special event, you will have the opportunity to participate in a special (non-reading) mini-challenge to earn more points.

Additional Rules:

  • You can only read one book/country at a time.
  • You may only get points for a country once. If you travel through it again, you need to read a new book in order to pass through the country BUT you will not get points for reading that book. We suggest you plan a trip that avoids visiting the same country more than once.
  • You must complete the book and write a mini review BEFORE you move onto the next country.
  • Please keep track of your own score on this page. You can start a thread for yourself by posting a comment with your name. Then each time you return to update, just hit reply to your original comment with the mini review and score update. I will double check all scores.
  • Books must be over 120 pages.

Travel by Ferry. We are limiting ferry travel. You are backpacking through Europe and are strapped for cash so you can’t afford to travel by Ferry or airline. You may use ferry for the following:
Iceland to and from Norway & any UK country
UK to and from France
Greece to and from Italy

Be Creative and make it fun!

For a truly immersive experience, go the extra mile. Post photos, journal entries, maps, quotes, etc! Photoshop yourself into travel pictures, write short stories about your experiences “visiting” each country. We want you to tell your travel story.  At the end of the game, we’ll be picking 5 people who’ve done the best job in creating a complete travel experience and our readers will pick their favorite. You can post your updates on Litsy (but make sure to tag both me @jenP and @bookwormM and use #backpackEurope. You can also post your journey on your own blogs, goodreads, or instagram – just make sure to let us know so we see the posts. 

Points & Prizes:
-Country points: 1 point per country completed. NOTE: You will only receive point the first time you visit a country.
-Landmark points: You can earn 4 bonus points for each landmark visited. Your must post how your book ties into the landmark and a moderator must approve the tie in for you to receive these bonus points. NOTE: You will only receive points the first time you visit a landmark.
-creativity points: Each week I will award one participant with 1 bonus point for creativity. The person who is most creative in their posts (photos, stories of their travels, tie-in, etc) will be awarded with an extra point. I will announce that person at the beginning of the week.

Grand Prize: TBA. To win this prize you must a) reach your home country AND b) have the highest number of points among all those who also reach home. If you have the most points but fail to reach your home country by end of game (September 30) you will not be eligible for the grand prize.
Creative Reader: One lucky winner will be selected who best represents the spirit of the game and immerses themselves in the experience. Myself and Book Worm will select 5 top contenders and everyone will have a change to view their posts and vote on their favorite. Prize TBA.
Early Bird prize: $25 Amazon gift card for the first person to arrive home (must visit at least 4 countries prior to returning home).

TO SIGN UP: Simply create a thread in the comments section here for yourself. See the example I created for myself.

List of participants:

  1. Diane S
  2. Jen (Goodreads & Litsy)
  3. Jamie B (Goodreads & Listy)
  4. The Other Jen (Goodreads 1001 member)
  5. Paula S (Goodreads 1001 member)
  6. Claire B (Litsy @Dulcinella & Goodreads)
  7. Kelly (Goodreads and Litsy)
  8. The other Diane (P) (goodreads 1001 member)
  9. Liz M (goodreads 1001 member & Litsy)
  10. Tatjana (Goodreads 1001 member)
  11. WanderingLynn (Litsy)
  12. Tatiana (TCLinrow on Litsy)
  13. Katja (Litsy)
  14. Cindy (Litsy @cinfhen)
  15. Tanya D
  16. Andrea
  17. Jan H (wordpress)
  18. Rachel O (Litsy)
  19. Molly G (Litsy)
  20. Allissa (@lapreader Litsy)
  21. Parzival
  22. Jessica H (Litsy)
  23. Nicole D
  24. Charisma
  25. Rachel N
  26. Tessa B
  27. Denise (jerdencon Litsy)
68 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ooh, fun. I’ll have to see how the Reading 1001 version goes, but I’ll definitely reserve a comment thread for this game here. I can’t use Litsy, since I have no smart phone, but I may create a page on my blog for posts connected to this game, or make a tumblr blog for it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    June 6, 2018
    • I will be deleting this comment right before the game starts. So if you want to create your individual thread just see my example below and you can create something similar. Then you’ll simply “reply” to that message for future updates.

      Like

      June 18, 2018
  2. Diane Shea #

    I have been waiting for the summer reading challenge. This sounds so fun! Can’t wait to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 12, 2018
    • I will be deleting this comment right before the game starts. So if you want to create your individual thread just see my example below and you can create something similar. Then you’ll simply “reply” to that message for future updates.

      Like

      June 18, 2018
    • so this is a weird question but which Diane are you? In other words, do I know you from Litsy, blog, or goodreads? I have several participants named Diane so I want to make sure I’m not mixing you up. I know you’ve participated in other blog challenges but I’m not sure if you’re also one of the Diane’s from the goodreads group.

      Like

      June 18, 2018
  3. Jen’s European Travels
    Starting Location: Massachusetts, USA
    Traveling to: xx airport
    Location of updates: I will be posting on Litsy (JenP) and Goodreads.

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Like

    June 18, 2018
  4. Claire Bolsens #

    I’m looking forward to it!

    Like

    June 18, 2018
    • Claire Bolsens #

      Starting in Belgium, Antwerp..

      Liked by 1 person

      June 18, 2018
      • Claire Bolsens #

        I am Dulcinella on Litsy and Claire Bolsens on GR

        Liked by 1 person

        June 18, 2018
      • Thanks that is helpful!

        Like

        June 18, 2018
  5. Cindy H #

    Looks like fun 🤩
    I’ll be departing from Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv
    Destination undecided
    I’ll be posting on Litsy

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  6. Katja N #

    I’m in, but I really need to plan my trip! I just need to be sure, I’m from Denmark, but I still need to start from one of the three airports, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • Yes but to travel home you can return via land and bypass air travel requirement

      Like

      June 18, 2018
      • Katja N #

        Okay, but I’m just know trying to plan my trip, and Denmark is only connected land-wise to Germany. Does that mean, that I have to travel through Germany to get to Denmark in the end, or can I go through Norway or Sweden, which have water borders with Denmark?

        Like

        June 20, 2018
      • Denmark you can go to Sweden via bridge

        Like

        June 20, 2018
  7. Brilliant! I so wish I had time to take on this challenge. Sadly, my reading schedule is set for the next two months. Anyhow, I’ll enjoy following progress. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  8. LAL #

    Sounds like fun! I’m in!

    Lynn’s European Travels
    Starting Location: Washington, DC USA
    Traveling to: TBD
    Location of updates: I will be posting on Litsy (wanderinglynn) and Goodreads (wanderinglynn).

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: TBD
    Current score: TBD

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  9. TCLinrow #

    Tatiana’s European Travels
    Starting Location: Isle of Man
    Traveling to: Heathrow airport
    Status: Packing my backpack
    Currently reading:
    Current score:

    I’ll be posting on Litsy (TCLinrow) and sometimes also on Goodreads (Tatiana) but I’m still new to it so not often.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  10. Hi there, this is ‘the other Jen’ from Goodreads, looking forward to this!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  11. Denise (jerdencon on litsy) #

    I’m in! This sounds like so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  12. Kristel #

    Checking in! Lets see how far I can go.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  13. Tessa Bartels #

    I’m always up for travel!

    Starting Location: Wisconsin USA
    Travelling to: TBD
    Countries visited:

    Currently reading:

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • Tessa Bartels #

      QUESTION …. do WE choose our starting airport, or will you assign us a starting airport?

      Like

      June 18, 2018
      • You may choose your airport.

        Like

        June 18, 2018
  14. Rachel N. #

    Rachel N’s European Travels
    Starting Location: Michigan, USA
    Traveling to: Heathrow airport
    Location of updates: on blog, Goodreads and maybe litsy if I can figure it out better.

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Like

    June 18, 2018
    • Rachel N. #

      I have a question. I understand I can travel to Ireland by boat from the UK since it’s another island country. After that am I allowed to travel to any coastal country since there aren’t any other island countries? I would want to travel to Portugal or Spain from Ireland but want to check that is okay before I begin looking for books.

      Like

      June 18, 2018
    • So, that’s a tricky one. You’d have to go back to closest port. But you can use Scotland, Wales, and England so you don’t use the same country more than once. Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.

      Like

      June 18, 2018
      • LAL #

        There is 1 ferry route running between Ireland and Spain operated by 1 ferry company, Brittany Ferries. The Cork to Santander ferry crossing operates weekly with a scheduled sailing duration from about 26 hours 30 minutes.

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • Yes, but we are (for the most part) not allowing ferry transports to circumvent travel rules of skipping over countries. A 26 hour ferry suggests that it’s not really a route someone would take if backpacking across Europe. I will be clarifying which ferries are allowed in the next few days

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • LAL #

        So does that mean we can also not travel (via ferry) from England to Spain? If so, then what are the options for getting out of the UK if we want to fly into Heathrow?

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • UK to France. If wanted to do England to Ireland to Scotland/Wales then you can take from UK to France. I will think about other options. But either way I will post the allowable ferries in the next few days

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • TCLinrow #

        There are also airports in Ireland, could that not just become a hub? Because other wise we’d have to chase ourselves round in a circle to do the UK countries.

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • Yup, you would. Part of the challenge is to pick wisely or risk doing some circles. We won’t be making any other airports hubs. Also remember that over the course of the summer, countries will be designated travel hubs for a whole week. These hubs will let you skip over to wherever you like. We’ve intentionally made some of the hubs/locations harder to get to – or more likely to slow people down.

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • You may also travel from Ireland to Iceland. And from Iceland you can travel to Ireland, Scotland, or Norway.

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • Pru #

        So, based on what you’ve posted below, for the purposes of the game, all of Ireland is considered the UK, even though most of it isn’t actually?

        Liked by 1 person

        June 20, 2018
      • I’m leaving that up to individual players to decide but essentially for purposes of the game, yes.

        Like

        June 20, 2018
  15. Diane P. #

    The Other Diane’s European Tour:

    Starting Location: Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, GA
    Traveling to: Heathrow
    Location of updates: I will be posting on Goodreads.

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: n/a
    Current score: n/a

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  16. Diane Shea #

    Diane’s European tour
    Starting location: Austin Strabel airport in Green Bay, WI
    Traveling to: Heathrow
    Location of updates: Goodreads (I will probably set up a steady stream post.

    Status: Booking my trip
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: n/a
    Current score: n/a

    Like

    June 18, 2018
  17. Charisma’s European Travels
    Starting Location: Fremont, CA USA
    Traveling to: TBD
    Location of updates: I will be posting on Litsy (Charisma) and Goodreads (Charisma).

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: TBD
    Current score: TBD

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  18. I don’t know how I’ll do this with Booker, but I’m in

    Nicole’s European Travels
    Starting Location: San Diego, CA
    Traveling to: LHR
    Location of updates: Goodreads, Nicole D.

    Status: Hiring someone to carry my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • Yeah you, book worm, and i will be overloaded in August. I guess front load it all into July and hope that you’ve read all the long list before they are announced 😉

      Like

      June 18, 2018
      • I’m going to be in Asia for two weeks in July. Sure you don’t want to change continents? Haha. I kid.

        Liked by 1 person

        June 18, 2018
  19. jesshodg #

    Jessica
    Start at Heathrow
    Update on Litsy @jhod
    Excited!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • Claire Bolsens #

      Great to see you here! I will write soon. 😘

      Like

      June 18, 2018
  20. Rachel O #

    Rachel O’s Armchair Travels Across Europe
    Starting Location: Devon, England
    Traveling to: xx airport
    Location of updates: Litsy (@RachelO)
    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: UK
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • Rachel O #

      Hooray! I officially cancelled my IRL travel plans yesterday, so v happy to be backpacking with you all summer instead! I’ll be breaking out the maps and the kindle to make a plan any second now. And my aim this year is to beat last summer’s rather pathetic 3 books.

      A question about landmarks. Do you have to be logging a book for that country to get landmark points? For eg if I’m logging a book for Sweden, and hit a discussion about/link/connection to hidden treasure buried at Mont St Michel, does that count? Or would it only count if I was logging the book for France? Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      June 18, 2018
      • That is a great question. You have to be in the country of the landmark. So logging a book for that country. I imagine it will be fairly challenging to get those extra points 😬

        Like

        June 18, 2018
      • Rachel O #

        😂 Thought that was probably it. I’ll be looking for creativity points! Last question: I’m in the UK. OK to fly to Paris/Netherlands to start? Or do I need to start at Heathrow? Ta.

        Like

        June 19, 2018
      • Yes, you will need to read your home country when you return but you can skip the first flight and just start your travels from the UK. If you do want to fly you can only fly to one of the starting airports. Otherwise you can take the “ferry” to France or Iceland since those are to two ways out of the UK (that we are allowing for the game.

        Like

        June 19, 2018
  21. Parzival’s European Travels
    Starting Location: US
    Traveling to: TBD
    Location of updates: here

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: US
    Currently reading: TBD
    Current score: TBD

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  22. Allissa #

    Allissa backpacks Europe via books whilst in real life does France in swanky hotels while reading said books
    Starting Country: UK
    Travelling to: Germany
    Location of updates: Litsy
    Status:Packing my bag
    Current Location: Australia
    Currently Reading: Another Wonan’s Husband by Gill Paul
    Current Score:

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
    • You’ll have to post some photos of your swanky in real life travels!

      Like

      June 18, 2018
  23. KELLY HUNSAKER #

    I see you got me listed here. I will be tracking on Goodreads and making posts to Litsy. Excited to start!

    Like

    June 18, 2018
    • KELLY HUNSAKER #

      Home country = USA
      Traveling to: xx airport
      Location of updates: I will be posting primarily on Litsy and Goodreads. Photos of travels on Litsy and travel diary here and Litsy.

      Status: Packing my backpack
      Current location: US
      Currently reading: N/a
      Current score: n/a

      Liked by 1 person

      June 18, 2018
  24. Molly Goedken #

    This sounds like fun, I’m definitely interested!
    Molly’s European Travels
    Starting location: Madison, WI, USA
    Traveling to: TBA
    Location of updates: Litsy (Shadowfat), possibly Goodreads

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: USA
    Currently reading: TBA
    Current Score: TBD

    Liked by 1 person

    June 18, 2018
  25. Tatjana JP #

    I hope I’m doing this the right way.

    Tatjana’s European 1001 list Travels
    Starting Location: Belgrade Serbia
    Traveling to: xx airport
    Location of updates: I will be posting on Goodreads.

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: Serbia
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Like

    June 19, 2018
  26. Jan’s Bookpacking Backpack Around Europe
    Starting Location: England
    Traveling to: Scotland
    Location of updates: thinkaboutreading.wordpress.com

    Status: Writing a list of what to put in my backpack
    Current location: England
    Currently reading: tba
    Current score: tba

    Like

    June 19, 2018
  27. Andrea’s backpacking through Europe
    Starting Location: UK (found a very good fare)
    Traveling to: Heathrow, England
    Location of updates: Litsy

    Status: Looking in the closet for my old backpack
    Current location: Costa Rica
    Currently reading: N/a
    Current score: n/a

    Like

    June 20, 2018
  28. Tanya D #

    I’m in! I missed last years summer challenge. Hopefully this will get me out of my reading slump.

    Tanya’s European Travels
    Starting Location: US
    Traveling to: TBD
    Location of updates: here

    Status: Packing my backpack
    Current location: US
    Currently reading: TBD
    Current score: TBD

    Liked by 1 person

    June 21, 2018
    • Tanya D #

      Quick question: Since I keep seeing a mention of UK, does UK as a whole count for a point, or can we get points for each country of the UK?

      Like

      June 22, 2018
      • Points for each country

        Like

        June 22, 2018
    • Tanya #

      Thanks. Also, if I understand the conversation above correctly, we can only reach Ireland from either Iceland or by leaving a travel hub country, correct?

      Like

      June 23, 2018
      • From Scotland, Wales, England, or Iceland.

        Like

        June 23, 2018
  29. Ashley #

    I’m hoping to be able to keep up! I’m not too late right?
    Ashley’s European Travels
    Starting location: Indiana
    Traveling to: TBD
    Location of updates: here and Litsy (Ash.On.The.Line)
    Status: trying to fold up my map!
    Currently reading:TBD
    Current Score:N/A

    Liked by 1 person

    June 22, 2018
  30. Starting location: Japan
    Traveling to: Charles de Gaulle airport
    Location of updates: Litsy @mhillis
    Status: packing my backpack
    Current location: Japan
    Currently reading:
    Current score:

    Liked by 1 person

    June 24, 2018

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