Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m excited to share my review for Liesbet Collaert’s new release – Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover – as well as the beautiful cover. Written in a conversational style that takes us in to Liesbet’s life living in paradise – where it’s not always paradise when the daily living is not all beach and fun, but survival methods, weather obstacles, and the toll it can take on a relationship living 24/7 in close quarters.
Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir, as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.
Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.
Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.
Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?
Have you ever wondered how life could be if you had made different choices? If you didn’t marry early, commit to a large loan for the house, focus on your career, start a family?
Maybe you’re just curious about how a person thinking outside the box manages? A person without boundaries, striving to be flexible, happy, and free. What you are about to read is how one such person follows her dreams, no, her intuition, and how she survives her naivety, life altering twists, and a relationship in close quarters.
Plunge is a story of what happens when you go with the flow, when you have a bright idea – or thought you had one – and ride the waves of the unknown. Ready to hop aboard and delve in?
My 5 Star Review:
Where to begin with this book? I’ll start with the genre – travel and memoir, adventure and heart is the perfect description. This author takes us with her on her journey to follow her passion for travel. We are immersed into the story by tantalizing descriptions of locales, ensuing problems that arise when living on a boat, and the dilemmas, emotions and crises that occur along her travels. What could go wrong?
Liesbet is a world traveler with no desire for the 9-5 life. After Liesbet and Karl had finished their last sailing trip, they decide to stop in California. This is where she meets her husband to be, Mark. No spoilers in that transition, so moving forward, Liesbet decides to expand her travel visa to stay in Cali long enough for her and Mark to put together a new venture to sail the seas. But after testing out the sailboat life with their two dogs, they discover that Liesbet and the two dogs were constantly seasick, so plan B became to sail by catamaran, offering more room and more stability.
Collaert is a true rock. The one you want to be on your team if you were stranded on an island. Together she and her husband sail for 8 years, staying for months at a time on various islands from Mexico to the South Seas! If you think sailing is a luxurious and relaxing adventure, think again. A boat requires tons of work to maintain, especially when you live on one, and if you knew nothing about boating before, you’ll get a good education from this book.
Living life out in nature can be difficult despite the beauty of the surroundings. I think when most of us think about living on an island we picture fun and adventures, but when this is your lifestyle, it’s not all fun and sun. Despite the many obstacles and health issues taken in consideration, Collaert invites us in to her own thoughts and decisions, and isn’t shy about sharing her personal feelings about her marriage and other circumstances and conflict that arise, as she defines her decisions and indecisions bringing us into the love story embedded in this story.
Life on the water can be tricky when there are dips in the relationship, not just the water. We are peering into relationship and its ebbs and flows. Problems mount when loved ones back home aren’t well, when Liesbet goes back to Belgium for one of her visits and has grief once again as she has to enter back into the U.S. and when Liesbet shares her soul-searching and her struggles with indecision, weighing thoughts about if she should have children.
We learn how lonely this lifestyle can sometimes be, about self-doubt, following instinct, maturity and other life lessons we absorb through the journey. We get a feel for what’s it’s like to live with someone around the clock when tensions rise. When you’re living in nature and you’re also trying to run an internet business inside a sweltering cabin with dicey internet in a tropical storm or stifling heat, we learn how difficult it is to mix business with pleasure. Often there’s nowhere to go to blow off steam when emotions escalate and everything begins to get on our nerves. The author gets an award for that one!
I admire the author for bearing her raw honesty in her story. I loved this book as it encompassed so many aspects of life – desires and passions, determination, love, fragility, travel, and heart.
Three (of many) favorite quotes: “Word storm.”, “You can’t escape your struggles. You can only carry them elsewhere.” When asked by an old friend she encountered, where she lives, Liesbet replies, “Nowhere and everywhere.”
Visit my interview with Liesbet Collaert at Q & A with D.G. Kaye