What makes a hero? How fine is the line between hero and failure? Are you heroic if you do something courageous and succeed? How can you tell if it is luck or good management that helped you reach this success? What if you do something courageous but it doesn’t quite go to plan?
In my book, if you do the latter you are still heroic. Because you have the balls to try something that 95% percent of the population is too scared to consider. In Angela Meyer’s book, Sea Fever - From First Date to First Mate, this theory goes a good way to being proven.
First up, I have to say that I know the author. We flatted together for a number of months in a house that resembled a gypsy caravan in Berhampore, Wellington, Aotearoa. It was during this time that she met her husband to be. So I was, in fact, around for some of the time that is covered in her memoir. If you choose to read the rest of this recommendation in the category of ‘oh it's just one friend promoting the work of another friend'’ – so be it. But I reckon, even without knowing the charms of the author in real life, you will still enjoy this book.
Meyer didn’t write this book because ‘writing a memoir’ was on her ‘To Do’ list. She wrote because she had chosen to lead a life less ordinary - a life where love and adventure were firmly in her top five priorities. This decision led her to find herself on a yacht, with a toddler and her handsome sailor husband, battling seasickness and a dodgy engine in the middle of the ocean. I mean, come on, you can’t deny that is an INTERESTING situation to be in? And INTERESTING situations make damn good stories. The publishing gurus at Random House were smart enough to recognise this and hence asked her to share her story (which she had been sharing in an entertaining blog) in the form of a book.
So put yourself in her boatshoes – how would you have coped? How would your emotional resilience be tested? Me? I’d probably have a very noisy breakdown and demand to be taken home. Meyer? She demonstrates an extraordinary depth of positivity and good nature but also a searing honesty that shows just the right levels of vulnerability so you don’t want to throttle her for being such a perky little na-na.
The blurb on the back of the book says it is like ‘Eat, Pray, Love on steroids’. Personally I think it is more like Bridget Jones meets The Life of Pi. A charming adventuress sets out on a big adventure that doesn’t quite go to plan, but shows she has the blood of a hero (and perhaps a tiger) running through her veins. And that blood means that instead of ending up downhearted with tail placed firmly legs heading back to familiar ground - Angela and family bloody well end up housesitting a place with a pool in Panama!
If you want to be transported to a different life on your tram ride to the office, this book (available from Fishpond) is going take you there.