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The memoir, ISLAND BORN, challenges what is possible in love and nature. The author and his partner (and soon-to-be-wife), from vastly different backgrounds in Los Angeles, resolve to follow an intuition and sail "the wrong way around the world” – eastward across the Arabian Sea. Pitted against treacherous conditions that included the volatile social and political situation of the world ashore, they discover what it takes, and what it means, to surpass all previous personal and cultural expectations so that they might truly live, and in the end, truly die.
Twenty-one years old, Gayle becomes pregnant in the middle of their sailing adventure, but her pregnancy does not make them retreat to Los Angeles where they began. They discover a tiny uninhabited island in a remote atoll, as barely discernible as a shake of pepper in the vast blue of their Indian Ocean chart. There they decide to give up their dream ship, and begin a real life journey neither of them could have ever imagined. With the help of an old chief on a nearby island, they build a thatched family home with no electricity, no running water, no telephone, no address, no bills, and no neighbors.
ISLAND BORN seeks to answer the question of whether it is still possible to voyage to an unspoiled place, not only on the globe, but within ourselves. In meeting this risk head on, Frank and Gayle’s voyage takes them to a reality of themselves that confirmed the bare whisper of that initial intuition. Together, they pull up anchor from the seabed of their culture and travel to a place where their determination, their romance, and their lives are challenged beyond the limits of each horizon, but they keep going.
A perfect read for anyone who has ever dreamed of adventure
I never wanted to set this book down! Frank Burnaby's "Island Born" is the perfect book for anyone who has ever dreamed of sailing around the world or questioned whether there might be a better way to live. The rich detail transported me in both time and place, and even after I set the book down at night, visions of the scenes I had traveled though would play back in my head. Because there is no shying away from personal and intimate detail in this book, because you are invited to share in their conflict and despair, joy an jubilation, you feel a part of this adventure, an invisible companion taken with them. I couldn't stop talking about it to family and friends! There is a tension between Frank, Gayle, their boat and the sea that kept me riveted to the page. It made me question whether 'paradise' is found or made, and whether it is ever where or what we expect it to be. Even having finished the book, I come back to it wondering, did they find their paradise on the island, or was it on the boat beforehand, or was it not a place at all, but in the intimacy of shared space and in days filled with purpose? If you are about to pick this book up, I have to admit I feel sort of envious, for you are about to set sail on a great adventure...
Don't want it to end...
I am purposefully reading this slowly, not wanting this story to end. Frank and Gayle, alive in my subconscious now as I ruminate on what has been so far, and what lies ahead for these two daring lovers of the sea, on an epic adventure of a life time.
I could not put this book down, yet tried to stretch it out as I didn't want it to end. Written from a place in our hearts where few humans ever venture. Beautiful and brutally honest. What an incredible tale. His honesty and self examination are a model for all of us. I wish I had the courage and conviction they both demonstrated repeatedly, and the faith to continue without fear or second guessing such a monumental adventure. I recommend this book to anyone, especially those who enjoy pushing boundaries.