Hike Your Own Hike and The Hidden Europe are book 1 and 2 of the WanderLearn Series, respectively. Although they're part of the same series and have some common themes, they have significant differences. For example:
- Hike Your Own Hike has about 84,000 words in 352 pages for $24.99.
- The Hidden Europe has 330,600 words in 752 pages for $25.99.
Math geniuses will note that when compared to HYOH, The Hidden Europe has twice the page length, but four times the word count, yet costs just $1 more!
As you can guess, HYOH has a big font and healthy margins, while The Hidden Europe has a normal-sized font and small margins. It's the old college trick that we all did - play with the fonts and margins to make the page count where you want it. Anamarija Mišmaš did the layout and did a fantastic job!
What does this mean to you? The Hidden Europe is a bargain! Four times more information, for practically the same price! It's a bad deal for me: I had to work four times as much for the same wage. It's like getting paid a fourth of what you got before. You win.
Moreover, there's no fluff or filler in my writing. It's tight, thanks to my awesome editors, Melissa Finley and Andreja Nastasja Terbos. As one reviewer wrote: "Francis is able to weave humor, history, and himself in such a way throughout the pages that you don’t realize just how much information you’re absorbing." Read more reviews of The Hidden Europe.
Travelogue vs. Personal Development ratio
The biggest difference between Hike Your Own Hike and The Hidden Europe is ratio of travelogue content versus personal development content.
- Hike Your Own Hike is 75% personal development and 25% travelogue (about the Appalachian Trail).
- The Hidden Europe is 2% personal development and 98% travelogue (about Eastern Europe).
There are two reasons for the dramatic flip of emphasis:
- I had shared all my key life lessons in HYOH. I had little to add in The Hidden Europe, except for interesting ideas from Eastern Europe. I preferred focusing on the travel, history, culture, and people the region.
- Writing mostly about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is challenging - it's easy to be boring and monotonous. Also, it's been done many times. However, nobody has written a travelogue that systematically covers all 25 countries in Eastern Europe (many authors have focused on regions within Eastern Europe).
Which book do I prefer?
I prefer The Hidden Europe. And I think most people will agree with. Compared to HYOH, it's more audacious and ambitious. I put a mountain of research and effort into writing it. It's epic.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a self-help, inspirational book, then you'll prefer Hike Your Own Hike. Admittedly, The Hidden Europe may not change your life, but HYOH might/should.
In short, both books are fairly different. If you love one book, you might not love the other one.
At the same time, both books share a common theme: learn by wandering. The message is that travel is the better than going to Harvard University. When you wander away from your home, you learn about the world, others, and yourself. Both books share whatever lessons I learned along the way so that you may benefit, in case you don't get a chance to take the same journey. Or perhaps you have taken the same journey and you just want another person's perspective, which is always a wise thing to do.
But why chose one or the other? Get both for a special price at my shop!