On Chance Road

The Challenge of Chance


After the many unpredictable experiences recounted in ‘Off-the-Wall Walking’ Laurence was all agog to know what might happen on a far more random journey: hitchhiking the length of Britain. And while chance plotted his direction, he decided to ask everyone how they found theirs.

Laurence Shelley thumbing a ride

Their answers shed light on what people make of their lives today but chance had Laurence really foxed. He was baffled by a whole succession of bizarre connections and coincidences. Would readers be equally intrigued? he wondered.

It seems they are...

Laurence’s book is full of good things. I’m impressed by what was important in the lives of all those he met while hitching the length of Britain, namely family, friends and the quality of life, not possessions or money. Makes me feel really optimistic about ordinary people.”  
- Susan Hannis

I’m really enjoying ‘On Chance Road’. I’ve got as far as Derby and am looking forward to the rest of the journey! Such an interesting book and unusual read.”
- Michael Cutter

Thank you for sending two copies of ‘On Chance Road’. It’s brilliant. Please would you send two more copies.”
- Leonard Hurd, Subud Publications International

 As in ‘Off-the-Wall’ the story has proved to be riveting. I chuckle when I relate to recognizable situations. It is part of what makes your book so ‘unputdownable’.”
- Alf Giliker

He charts many intriguing encounters, telling stories of Roman soldiers, Cornish pirates, blue comedians, bricklayers and managing directors. The people he met fill this book with humorous, poignant and bizarre tales that will have you laughing and crying.”
- Cornwall Life

Beneath the fascinating, day-to-day account of his meetings and conversations – as well as his acute observations on place, history, geography and the weather – lies the sub-text and where the book really takes off for me. Laurence begins to become more involved in, and intrigued by, chance and connections, coincidence and synchronicity – and the wealth of serendipitous experiences that he interprets en route as signs and guidance.”
- Marcus Bolt


‘On Chance Road’ is Motoring!
Laurence is retracing some of the steps of his journey, and this time  he is bringing copies of the book.  In his own words...

The first excursion of ‘On Chance Road’ was predictably fortuitous. An Adventure Travel Film Festival happened to be held on my doorstep. That proved a great opportunity to rev up interest with a talk and slide show.
   A memorable meeting followed at a Helston Library talk when I presented a copy of the book to Ingrid, the lady in the Most Southerly House at Lizard Point. My journey began with the uncanny story of how a serious accident in post-war Germany led to her living in the house of her dreams.

Laurence Shelley presenting a book
Ingrid and her husband Snowy receiving their copy of the book

There were book signings at WHSmith. Sales really took off with launches at both the Penzance Literary Festival and Appledore Book Festival. A great boost came last October. On attending a writing workshop I was invited to record an interview, which turned out to be an hour long, at Wordquest-fm. Click here to download a podcast from their website. It’s listed as Interview No.13 (20 Oct. 2011)

   A programme of talks is planned for 2012, starting at Bideford Library on February 1st (2.30 p.m.) and at Northam Men’s Forum on February 16th (11 a.m.).Women’s Institute groups will be selecting from five topics for talks:

Where do people acquire a sense of direction?
How the road less travelled can be most life-changing
What meetings with memorable women have taught me
Living with chance: the risk and reward of chance encounters
Open-mindedness & the challenge of preconceptions

One talk is already scheduled for 2013: at a meeting of the Devonshire Association. Further plans are afoot for book signings and talks, following the upcountry route of the hitchhike. If you’d like to arrange a talk, contact me at laurence(at) (Change the (at) to @).

Ordering a Copy

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