Ever have the need to get away from it all? A bit of wanderlust? Have you ever imagined changing your life SO COMPLETELY that you could write a book about it?
Well, these people did just that – here is part one of my look at “The Great Escape” – celebrating people who got away from it all – in some of the most unique ways imaginable!
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost – published in 2007. Now THIS is a great title for a book!
Welcome to the Gilbert Islands, tucked away in the far northern pacific ocean, home to gorgeous beaches like this:
At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost — who had been wasting his life racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs — decided to pack up and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati.
As one review stated: “He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic.” I’m sure we all have felt that way! But he did it!
“The Sex Lives of Cannibals” tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish — all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.”
Oh, by the way: you feel like climbing to the top of Tarawa? Take a look at this picture – the entire island is twelve feet above sea level – THESE are the islands that will disappear due to climate change…making this book an even more valuable history of a unique part of the world. And it is hilarious to boot!
He and his girlfriend Sylvia spend two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).
With “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”, Maarten Troost has delivered one of the most original, funny travelogues in years – his anecdote about the first time he swam in the pristine cove at the end of the island – only to discover what the locals do there – is priceless!
Troost is a superb writer, hilariously capturing what it is like to live in such a unique world. He has written two follow ups so far, so check them all out!
A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard – published in 2000.
This is a fascinating book – not only about escaping the rat race, but escaping to a oasis, and then deciding to open a restaurant there!
This is the true story of “a trip to the beach” that never ends. It’s about a husband and wife who escape civilization to build a small restaurant on an island paradise — and discover that even paradise has its pitfalls. As one review put it: “It’s a story filled with calamities and comedy, culinary disasters and triumphs, and indelible portraits of people who live and work on a sliver of beauty set in the Caribbean Sea. ”
The story begins when Bob and Melinda Blanchard sell their successful Vermont food business and decide, perhaps impulsively, to get away from it all. Why not open a beach bar and grill on Anguilla, their favorite Caribbean island? One thing leads to another and the little grill turns into an enchanting restaurant that quickly draws four-star reviews and a celebrity-studded clientele eager for Melinda’s delectable cooking.
Amid the frenetic pace of the Christmas “high season,” the Blanchards and their kitchen staff — Clinton and Ozzie, the dancing sous-chefs; Shabby, the master lobster-wrangler; Bug, the dish-washing comedian — come together like a crack drill team. And even in the midst of hilarious pandemonium, there are moments of bliss.
Even better, the couple published a cookbook with recipes from their acclaimed restaurant!
At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook (Clarkson Potter), features a delectable combination of Caribbean creations and New England favorites. From Calypso Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp to Vermont Cheddar Soup and Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops, the Blanchards draw on a delightful blend of culinary traditions to create truly unique fare…delicious!
A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle – published in 1989. All hail the “Godfather of Getaway!”.
Peter Mayle is a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in the advertising industry before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books.
His 1989 book “A Year in Provence” was an immediate publishing sensation and an international bestseller; it chronicled a year in his life as a British expatriate in Ménerbes, a village in the southern département Vaucluse. He has written a number of sequels as well as a series of great novels set in Provence as well.
All you have to do is visit Provence once and fall in love – and the fact that Mayle completely changed his life by moving there is an inspiration to the wanderlust in us all…
“A Year in Provence” was produced as a TV series starring John Thaw in 1993.
His novel “A Good Year” was the basis for the 2006 film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.
A YEAR IN PROVENCE!
In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January’s frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine.
I could imagine a terrific life living in a small Provencial village – except my french is “petit pas”…still, it’s a story that inspires you to check out flight schedules, and dream of a different way to end your day…
Let me know what you think of these options…more to come!