Sunday, December 04, 2016

I Am the Ocean: A Pleasant Surprise

When Samita Sarkar emailed me to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing her travel memoir, I initially hesitated.

Here is her description of what I Am the Ocean is about:
The memoir covers a backpacking trip along the east coast of the United States that I took during my early twenties. A Canadian traveler on a budget with a thirst for self-discovery, I slept on couches, buses, and in cramped hostels. I saw beautiful things and met many interesting people, but it was also a time of spiritual searching and personal development for me.
I wasn’t sure. Not another backpacking book! I’d kind of had my fill of those after reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Susan Jane Gilman’s Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, but my intuition kicked in and I said yes. I am so glad I did - I Am the Ocean was a pleasant surprise.

After Sarkar graduated from the university with top grades she surprisingly can’t find a job. To pull herself out of her jobless funk she uses her savings to travel on a budget from Canada to Miami stopping in NYC, Washington D.C., Savannah and Miami along the way. Not to keep comparing her to Strayed, but her trip was well-planned, she trusted her intuition and used common sense. Though if she had asked me for advice, I would have told her to skip the couch surfing at single men’s apartments. 

I enjoyed her observations of traveling in the U.S., thoughts on Americans and our landmarks/tourist destinations. I also liked that she wasn’t afraid to travel off the beaten path. As a travel tip I’ve never considered visiting Miami, but am now sure it is not a place I want to visit; at least not while staying in a hostel.

I found her assessment of (an online community where people who wanted to learn different foreign languages and mark each other’s assignments) interesting: 

Because all good things most come to an end, their competitor, the language giant Rosetta Stone, eventually bought and ran this amazing resource with a thriving community into the ground. (pg. 5)

I recommend this book to any 20-something going through a quarter-life crisis, those who want to learn what it is like to travel on a budget, readers who enjoy travel memoirs or want to read a well-written, light book. I Am the Ocean  would make a great nonfiction beach read.

Personally, I love Samita Sarkar’s writing voice and want to read everything she has written and am heading over to her website to do so now.

Have you read any books lately that were a pleasant surprise?

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review and am an Amazon affiliate.

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