What is it that makes us who we are? In this beautifully written and searingly honest autobiography, the intrepid cyclist and traveller Dervla Murphy remembers her richly unconventional first thirty years. She describes her determined childhood self — strong-willed and beguiled by books from the first — her intermittent formal education and the intense relationship of an only child with her parents, particularly her invalid mother whom she nursed until her death. Here lie the roots of Dervla's gift for friendship, her love of writing, her curiosity, her hatred of cant, her hardiness and her desire to travel. Bicycling fifty miles in a day at the age of eleven, alone, it seems only natural that her first major journey should have been to cycle to India.