Bitmo Sunday book review
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Sunday Book Review – Plunge – #Memoir – #Travel by Liesbet Collaert

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.

 

 

Blurb:

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?

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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

 

©DGKaye2020

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

73 Comments

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    A stunning review of Liesbet’s book, Debbie! I know she worked tirelessly on it and eventually self published it. I’m anxious to begin reading it myself. I’ll have to convince her and Mark to head up to Spokane in a few months so I can see them again.

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Hi Terri! It would be fantastic to see you and Hans again. Except, you moved even further away from where we spend this (and maybe future) winter(s)! 🙂 In the meantime, you’ll have to keep me company in Plunge. I saw you marked it as TBR on Goodreads, so enjoy the rollercoaster ride at sea and in my mind…

  • John Maberry

    Sounds like an interesting, but I am definitely not one for sailing hither and yon. I got sick just doing a whale watching excursion off the coast of Maine! Land travel? Oh yes, that’s for me! I can imagine maintaining a sail boat has to require just as much as an RV. But we’re not full-timers in one of those either. LOL.

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Hi John! As a full-time RVer now for three years (in a 19ft camper van with a husband and a 60-pound dog), I can tell you this lifestyle is MUCH easier and less challening – with a fraction of the maintenace duties and costs – than the boat life. FYI: I wrote Plunge with a general audience in mind, not the sailing crowd, and rarely used marine-specific terminology. Spoilet alert: I get seasick as well, yet never wanted to miss out on those wildlife viewings either. 🙂

  • Liesbet Collaert

    Wow, Debby! Thank you so much for this fantastic and detailed review. I’m psyched that you enjoyed my memoir. There is a lot packed in there and I’m so glad the book reads as a cohesive narrtive and not an “all over the place” one. I so appreciate you featuring me here twice in three days. I feel like a diva, a queen, an extremely fortunate debut author – and a humbled and grateful one at that!!! <3 <3 <3

    • Liesbet

      Hi Stevie! Sorry to read the book is a bit out of your price range. The eBook was a little bit cheaper on pre-order and I might offer a discount on that in the future again. As of right now, the price of both eBook and paperback is very comparable to other 320-page memoirs. And, mine come with photos. 🙂

  • Diane McGyver

    Now that sounds like an amazing book. Thank you for sharing. I am currently working on removing self-imposed limitations and boundaries in my life. When I think of all the possibilities, I’m excited about life. This is the way to live. I wish I had figured this out a lot sooner, but the adults around me while growing up were hardcore serious and placed many imaginary limitations on me. Many adults still live with self-imposed limitations and try to instill them on me. However, now I ignore them.

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Well said, Diane. Most people in our western world feel like they have to live a certain way, based on their surroundings and social norms. It is hard to jump out of those expectations and follow your heart and desires. Yes, people create their own limitations. I couldn’t agree more. Yet, I also believe that few people give their choices and lifestyle serious thought… It’s up to us to live our one precious life the way it makes us most happy!

  • Olga Nunez Miret

    What an amazing story. I think we’ve all wondered sometimes about trying to take our lives in a different direction, but the worry about the practicalities of it has stopped most of us. Things always look easier from the outside, of course, and I like the sound of this memoir. I think a lot of people have got a bit of a taster of what it is like to live in close quarters with your closest family during the current lockdown situation, but it cannot compare to the author’s experiences. Thanks, Debby, for another great review and for the recommendation and good luck to Colllaert.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Olga. Yes, you said it. Many of us dream of such adventure but don’t always have the guts or means to do so. This book is inspirational! <3

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Thanks for reading and getting the essence of my writing, Olga. And for checking out my interview with Debby as well. 🙂 While Plunge is far from a glossing over of “the dream,” I do hope the book inspires and encourages people to think outside the box. 🙂

  • Marian Beaman

    I met Liesbet and Mark earlier this year (before lockdown of course) when they were RV-ing with Maya, daughter-dog. She and I could not be more different, I a landlubber and she a free spirit on land and sea. Still, we are friends with much in common. I concur with your review, Debby, and will certainly shoot another one her way very soon. I’m more than 80% through her amazing story and marvel at her recollection of detail. So much for keeping a journal, even while on rough seas.

    Thanks for your review, Debby, and for the revealing Q & A.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Marian. Yes, I remember you met up with Liesbet. I almost did. But as she notes in her book – she doesn’t make plans, lol. She surprised me showing up in a heatwave in our city on the day we were getting ready to visit daughter-in-law at her cottage. Bad timing, hoping for a second chance. No doubt you’re enjoying the book! 🙂 x

      • Liesbet Collaert

        And that is a negative of never planning anything and “winging” our destinations and timing, haha. I still regret not meeting you, Debby, but I do believe there will be a second chance somewhere! I’ll try to make arrangements a day or two ahead of time then! 🙂

    • Liesbet Collaert

      You and Mennonite Daughter were such a help and inspiration during my memoir writing and the publication of Plunge, Marian. You have no idea how many times I opened your book to try and figure things out about formatting my own. I really enjoyed meeting you and Cliff in Florida at what now seems to be our “last chance,” before Covid!! Such a great timing there! I’m glad you are enjoying the read!!!

  • Amy M Reade

    This sounds amazing, Debby. I love reading your reviews, and you always entice me to add more books to my TBR. Your description reminded me of the book Sea Wife by Amity Gaige. I didn’t love that book because the main characters were both so unlikeable, but it sounds like Liesbet is a very different person—in a good way. She sounds fascinating, unconventional, and honest. I don’t know how much leeway I would allow myself if I imagined a life different from the one I have, let alone actually living that different life.

    Thanks for a great review!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for commenting and your kudos Amy. Yes, Liesbet is fascinating, honest and unconventional, all of which make this a fabulous read. And I’m glad my reviews help to fatten up your TBR. Now you know what it feels like. LOLLLLLLLLL <3

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Hi Amy! I hate to tell you that there are quite a few unlikeable character traits in me as well, but I think I make up for that with my voice, attitude, and impulsiveness! 🙂 I think the biggest part of the population would feel a bit out of sorts with an unfamiliar approach to life. That’s why the best way to travel is often from the comfort of your own home! 🙂

  • Sherri Matthews

    Wonderful review, Deb, I hope soon to plunge into Liesbert’s memoir. I grew up in a sailing family (can testify to the hard work involved) and once dreamed of living on a yacht and sailing away to sunny seas. It never happened, life took a different turn but I know full well those dealings with US immigration 😉 A dream is just that until it’s lived… <3 xoxo

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Hi Sherri!

      That is awesome that you grew up in a sailing family. I’m sure you are aware of everything invloved to keep a boat afloat and the crew safe. And, you are probably familiar with the saying that the two happiest days in a sailor’s life are the day he/she buys the boat and the day he/she sells it again. 🙂

      I love your line “A dream is just that until it’s lived… ” So true! And “dreams coming true” is yet another one that is rarely executed without flaws!

      Thanks for buying Plunge and happy reading!!

  • Pamela

    Excellent review of an amazing book. I think one of the things that makes PLUNGE so exciting for me…well, several things. I’ve read through LIesbet’s blog posst over the past several years about her working diligently on her memoir, yet knowing that at times, she had to stop because of the pressing demands of being a road warrior – a traveler extraordinaire. And to be honest, I knew her book, once it was published, would be good, but I didn’t know it would be THIS good. I read it when it was literally “hot-not-off-the-presses” yet and was blown away by not just the story, and the honesty, but by the writing as well. So well done. Thanks for sharing Plunge with your readership, Debby!

    • dgkaye

      Fantastic kudos again for Liesbet Pam. We are fortunate to have had the early glimpse of Liesbet’s wonderful book. I agree with all you said. We’ve followed her for years and listened until her baby came to life. I loved the book too. I’ve since finished it and already reviewed. 🙂 x

  • Christy B

    That’s an interesting plot line! I can’t imagine changing up life suddenly for days on end at sea. Mind you, my uncle and his partner did that and they’re loving their houseboat. It would give a sense of adventure, for sure!

  • Marsha

    Hi Deb, This is a beautiful review. I haven’t read her book yet, but the blurb and your review make it sound spell binding. Liesbet has done something I would not be able to do in a million years. When I was young, a young man offered to take me sailing around the world after one double date with a friend. Sorry, Charlie. I’d be itching to get off the boat after a couple of hours or so. I can barely stand to go fishing for a few hours out at sea – not because of the seasickness, but the claustrophobia! Hats off to Liesbet! And thanks for sharing this awesome review.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Marsh. I agree with you, I do love going on boats, but when I’m ready to get off – I’m ready, lol. Liesbet did a great job with expressing her journey, beautifully in her debut book. I hope you get a chance to read it. I really think you’ll like it. It’s much than just about sailing. Hugs xx

    • Liesbet Collaert

      Totally understood, Marsha! The sailing life (or the nomadic life for that matter) isn’t for everyone! One of the goals I set for myself with Plunge is to write it for the “general” public, without difficult nautical terms and encompassing the lifestyle and my relationship at least as much or even more than the sailing aspects, which mostly make for a dramataic backdrop. Many people – especially women – can relate to some aspects. 🙂

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