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Big Backpack - Little World

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In 2000 Donna Morang sold all her earthly possessions and left the United States to teach ESL (English as a second language). Join her as she travels to three continents, and twelve countries. Step into her classroom and teach English in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Vietnam, or vacation with her in Spain, Thailand, and Cambodia. Fall in love with her students learning ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Createspace
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3.74  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Cathy Speight
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I ever meet Donna, I am going to give her the biggest bear hug I can – what an amazing, lovely lady.

At the age of fifty-something, dear Donna had that ‘eureka’ moment. That moment when that something you know you want to do, but can’t quite put your finger on what it is, suddenly becomes clear. Donna realised she wanted to go and teach English as a second language in……well, everywhere or anywhere in the world. So an exam later and after acceptance into the ESL (English as a Second Language) p
Stephanie Dagg
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big Backpack - Little World by Donna Morang is a travel memoir that grabs you by the scruff of your neck and gives you a good shake! From start to finish, it’s energetic, fascinating and enjoyable. You’re swept along with the author, who became an EFL teacher in her fifties at the suggestion of her daughters, from country to country, from good experience to bad experience and back again. You get to see all aspects of life in each place she visits. The author taught in many countries including Me ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the few travel tales that did not leave me feeling disappointed. So often travel tales are about the author and the author's ego, but happily this book is about the places and the people that are the joys of travel. She doesn't just travel but she lives in far away places teaching English. You can tell that she lives an authentic life and it made me feel as if I could just go there and meet the same people, and have a beer on the same beach. I loved hearing how she decided to chan ...more
Dorothee Lang
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Big Backpack, Little World" is a fine read - a travel memoir by Donna Morang, who lived in Montana and Alaska. After retirement, she decides that she is ready to try something new again, and starts backpacking and teaching English abroad.

Donna Morang has a wonderful humour and a perspective of someone who has seen a lot already, and at the same time is open and excited about life, and keeps learning herself. It's a joy to follow her trails to Mexico, Spain and Cambodia, and made me also think
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
I very rarely give 5 stars to anything but this book by Donna Morang was fantastic.

As an older woman the experiences and views that she has on her travels are seen through eyes that I perceive to be wiser and friendlier.
She makes friends wherever she goes, with people from all walks of life and makes no judgements. Despite being older than most backpackers, she still looks at the world and her experiences with wide eyes and takes the reader with her.
The way that she describes her surroundings
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travelers at heart
I absolutely loved this book--it sparked my desire to travel once more. Donna talks about her travels and adventures in Mexico, Spain, Central America, and Asia (Vietnam and Thailand). Must say that I want to visit all these places, especially Vietnam.

I think this book is different from so many other travel memoirs because she really focuses on the people in each place and what she learned from each person and each place. Truly touching.
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story lifted my spirits and reminded me that travel can be a magical thing. Referring to that old quote- “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”- Donna Morang definitely follows the latter. Her enthusiasm and joy radiated from each page. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Donna!
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, travel
I really liked this story and the tales of Donna as she traveled the world. It makes me want to travel more! :)
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Donna Morang is game. She leaves her life to teach English in a few different foreign countries. She lives like a local, respects people's cultures and lives, and makes relationships along the way. She is an older woman with grown children and she wants to travel. Her daughter encourages her to travel. She goes to a Teaching English school and then gets jobs around the world teaching English. There is not much to like about this book because of how respectful Morang is to all of the people she m ...more
A few months ago I read May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, in which the author describes a (temporary) midlife move to India to teach English. It was not a good fit for me—felt too negative. Reading Big Backpack, Little World with that in mind was like night and day: Morang's is also a midlife adventure teaching English, but in her case it's a story of bouncing from place to place teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and having the time of her life.

The writing's not great—more enthus
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this memoir about traveling and teaching English around the world. The book is filled with interesting stories and fun details about the people and cultures Donna encountered in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Like other reviewers, I was initially put off by some grammar errors at the start of the book, but the flow and writing style improves about 1/5 of the way into the book. Still, the book would have really benefited from a professional edit (comma placement anyone?) ...more
Carol Luce
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.How often can one live vicariously through the fabulous adventures (with all the five senses fully engaged) of a cool granny globe hopping. What I found so fascinating was her love of people and their love for her. It showed in the cocoon of protection they wrapped around her without stifling this gutsy traveler/teacher's wanderlust. I could taste the cilantro in the tacos and feel the warmth of the tequila going down my throat. I laughed aloud at the strange and h ...more
If you dream of travelling the world.. allow this author to take you there

This author takes you on a journey that few of us will ever have an opportunity to make. Her free spirit and open mind and heart are inspirational. She allows her readers to see, feel, smell, taste and savor all of the wonders of the places she visits. She approaches her journey with a sincere desire to meet people where they are and learn everything she can about the people she meets, their culture and values. She is a wo
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful adventure! This is the story of a middle aged woman who sold everything and took off to see the world with nothing but a backpack. She travels to Mexico, Central America, Thailand and Vietnam, teaching English as a second language in small beach towns. Not everything goes well, but it does go well enough for her to spend her 50's and now 60's on her adventure.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! She had such exciting adventures as she traveled to various Hispanic and South East Asian countries teaching English and making friends. She's someone I'd like to know - I'm sure we'd be friends.
The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is for the distracting splatters of commas and the occasional misspelled word. A professional editor could have cleaned this up.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yvensong, Cheryl in cc nv, Logan, Laura
Recommended to Darlene by: Kindle Freebie
Well, darn! I'm finished reading it! I wish there was so much more! Thank you, Ms. Donna Morang for letting us ride along with you on your ESL adventures! I had such a marvelous time that I am going to look into this. I am 62 and not getting any younger, but this sounds like such fun that I need to find a way to do it. I highly recommend this book to everyone! What a cool lady!
Myra L Rice
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna's Teaching Adventures

I really enjoyed Donna's adventures teaching English in Central America and in Asia! I cannot imagine travelling alone as a woman in all of the countries that she did! However, I admire her very much!
Sharon Mauk
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where you imagine yourself on each and every favorite genre of books, these little travel adventure books. Someone missed quite a bit of editing, but the spirit of Donna makes you overlook the misses!
Dec 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I had absolutely zero connection with the main character. I'll even go as far as to see I disliked her a bit. Enough that I didn't care about her story at all.
Naomi Chakwin
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Its great that this woman did something interesting, had a good experience and wrote about it. But not a great read.....
Kat Toft
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a free kindle book, which I got because I am going to Vietnam in a few months. I really enjoyed it - lovely little story and found it a very easy, fun read
Chris Bainbridge
rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2012
rated it did not like it
Nov 18, 2013
Patti Givens
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2014
Alison Bradley
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Dec 31, 2012
Lisa Barclay
rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jun 14, 2011
Dawn DuBois
rated it it was ok
Jul 12, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 14, 2014
Sonia C. Csiki
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2017
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Memoir Authors: Writing another memoir 8 24 Dec 10, 2012 03:24AM  
Travel Literature...: stopping in to say, Hi 1 12 Sep 20, 2012 04:45PM  

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