Time For A South Seas Adventure!
Imagine that this was your view of home – a south seas island paradise – thousands of miles from anywhere…well, for one adventurous young Teacher, it was home – and he wrote a book about his adventure!
“Surviving Paradise” by Peter Rudiak-Gould!
I am a huge fan of “wanderlust” memoirs – books that capture a unqiue life experience, like teaching English on an island that is going underwater!
For this young Teacher, it’s his story of living in paradise – with all of the wild adventures that you can imagine! First, let’s give you an idea of where he was:
Welcome To Ujae, One Of The Marshall Islands!
Literally in the middle of nowhere, here is how wikipedia describes it:
“Ujae Atoll is a coral atoll of 15 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands. Its total land area is only 1.86 square kilometres (0.72 sq mi), but it encloses a lagoon of 185.94 square kilometres (71.79 sq mi). It is located about 122 kilometres (76 mi) west of Kwajalein Atoll.
In folklore, the Marshallese people have long considered the island to be home to timon (demons).
In 1998, the population of Ujae Atoll was 448.”
Yep, 448 people, most of whom are considered to be demons! Here is a short excerpt from Peter’s first day on the island:
“I stepped onto the beach and embarked on a bold one-man expedition: to circle the entirety of the island’s shore.
Forty-five minutes later, I wondered what else I could do for the rest of the year.”
Yes, he found himself teaching on an island that was a third of a square mile TOTAL!
The book is a terrific look at living in one of the most isolated places on earth, and one young man’s incredible adventure there…in what does, indeed, look like paradise…
It’s a great memoir that is funny, frightening, and enlightening in equal measure.
Of course, this entire part of the world is being impacted in a devastating way from the rise in the oceans…in fact, many of these islands will be underwater within a few decades!
I posted the story of an Olympic Athlete who “danced” his native dance at the Olympic Games to bring attention to the issue:
This Kiribati Athlete wanted to raise awareness for the plight of his island – see more about it here:
I also shared a series of great memoirs about Kiribati, hilariously told by a Writer who lived on the islands:
J. Maarten Troost wrote several great travel books about this area, including his latest, sobering look at how the islands are disappearing:
You can see more about this powerful book here:
And speaking of powerful memoirs, one of my all-time favorites is from Writer Lucy Irvine:
Irvine’s first memoir, “Castaway”, told of her year on an island, and the sequel “Faraway” is even better – she tells a fascinating story ab out a family who lived in the South Seas – click here to read more:
Let me know what you think of these amazing, and topical, adventures!