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Today, I'm featuring Deb Akey's wonderful book, >>The Essence: Short Vignettes on Moments that Define my Life with the Sea<<.
I found The Essence to be a really unique book full of beautiful photographs accompanied by short vignettes about the author's reflections of her life living on a boat and her relationship with the sea. Deb has a lovely way with words - her honesty, sense of adventure, and wonder and curiosity about the world shine through.
Deb dreamed of escaping a life of unsatisfying work by selling everything and sailing off into the sunset. It's the kind of dream many people have, but few actually achieve. This book explores the "why" behind that decision - what compelled her to live a meaningful life with the sea.
Perhaps one of my favorite vignettes was the one which described the parade of boats that heads down the Intracoastal Waterway each year to Florida and beyond. I loved Deb's curiosity as she passed each boat, trying to imagine everyone's backstories and what led them to this life on the water.
"As we pass each boat, I like to imagine the story of the person manning the helm who waves. Was she a corporate manager? Was he an accountant? Do they have eleven grand kids like we do that makes it hard to leave? Did someone break his heart and he's seeking solace in the quiet of the water? Did she suddenly realize, while doing a load of laundry, that life was passing her by?"
As I turned each page, gazed at the next photograph, and absorbed Deb's words that the image sparked for her, I found myself reflecting on my own life choices and search for meaning. And that's what makes this book so special from my perspective. Deb shares her thoughts, but they're just a springboard for your own contemplation and meditations.
You don't need to be interested in sailing or cruising for this book to resonate. It's about common human experiences - major life changes and their consequences, the importance of family, fear of the unknown, chasing your dreams, and our connection to nature.
You can pick up a copy of >>The Essence<< on Amazon in both ebook and paperback format. I think that it would make a wonderful gift for someone who is thinking about the cruising lifestyle, for friends and family of cruisers to give them an insight into what life on the water is like, or for anyone who is curious about one woman's experiences living a life connected to the sea.
Deb also writes children's books under the pen name Dema, a name given to her affectionately by her nine grandchildren. She is currently working on book two of the Maryssa Mayberry series, a series of children's books which deal with the ocean and how we can all help to sustain its viability for many centuries to come.
Deb and her husband spend much of their time writing about their experiences on their blog, The Retirement Project. They have also written a indispensable guide for anyone thinking about buying a cruising boat, >>How NOT to Buy a Cruising Boat<<, in order to help others with the dream of cruising succeed.
NOTE: I was given an advance reader's copy (ARC) of The Essence by the author and voluntarily chose to write an honest review.
When you think about the sea, what comes to mind? Are you going to pick up a copy of Deb's book?