Magic and gratitude. That’s what comes through in Susan Marie Conrad’s sea tale of her solo kayak adventure through the Inside Passage. Often when we seek wilderness adventure we want to shuffle off the coils of “civilization” and surrender to uncertainty because in doing so we sense we’ll find Magic. Going out becomes a form of going in, to our heritage as humans who evolved on this planet and to Mother Nature whose womb is still our home. The world becomes alive and magical. We are transformed.
—Nancy Soares, Tsunami Ranger—
It’s not often that a person possessing the ability to sea kayak the Inside Passage solo is also capable of putting into words the extraordinary mental, physical, and emotional challenges faced daily on this incredible journey. Susan Conrad is one of those people. By skillfully blending sometimes painful memories of her life's trials and tribulations, with stories of the hardships and accomplishments she faced on her 1,100 mile kayaking adventure, she reveals valuable lessons for every outdoor lover seeking to find balance between themselves and nature. The life changing decisions, impassioned frustration, numbing exhaustion, and internal obstacles that we all face on our life's journey are eloquently mirrored here in one woman's Northwest Pacific Coast odyssey.
—Denis Dwyer, expedition paddler, author of Alone in the Passage: An Explorers Guide to Sea Kayaking the Inside Passage—
Susan Conrad reveals her background; some ghosts she was determined to come to terms with. She reveals her hopes and her fears. She reveals the emotion that spending so long in such an impartial environment invokes. She shows her backbone. Hers is the story of a deliberate passage from one place to another, from one life into another, burying old ghosts and creating the foundations for a happier future.
—Nigel Foster, kayak designer, instructor and author of numerous books including On Polar Tides and Encounters from a Kayak: Native People, Sacred Places, and Hungry Polar Bears—
Susan Marie Conrad’s new memoir’s title, Inside: One Woman’s Journey through the Inside Passage, is a bit of a misnomer: it is not a “woman’s” book. It’s a book for everyone. Conrad’s narrative is engaging and unpretentious. She comes across as refreshingly transparent. The book is an easy read. Conrad’s memoir isn’t just a self-discovery, pull-yourself-up-by-one’s-bootstraps story. It’s an adventure story and a love story.
—Robert H. Miller, author of Kayaking the Inside Passage: A Paddler’s Guide from Olympia, WA to Muir Glacier, AK—
Nonfiction at its finest as one woman faces her inner fears and the outward challenges of paddling solo up the Inside Passage. Within these pages of eloquent writing and striking photos, readers will sleep to songs of humpback whales, thrill to spectacular scenery, delight in the generosity of strangers, and share in the author’s joy as she discovers the courage and the deep gratitude that comes from experiencing the best and the worst of Nature and humanity. This is a book we highly recommend.
—Chanticleer Book Reviews—
Susan Marie Conrad’s story is an illuminating and inspiring one. She shares both the highlights of her trip and those low moments when the rain seems to last forever and her gear stays soggy and damp. Conrad’s writing style is smooth and conversational, and, throughout my reading experience, I felt as though she were personally telling me her story. I enjoyed every minute of this action-packed and exciting memoir. She also includes a gallery of outstanding photographs, recommended readings, and her inventory of gear in the appendices. Inside: One Woman's Journey Through the Inside Passage is most highly recommended.
—Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews—
“If I had the author to hold when I finished reading this book I would cry and cry and cry. Deep heart sobs. This book is not just a book. Susan Marie Conrad did not just pen words—she cut her heart wide open and laid it all bare. We are all broken people, and Susan’s transparency and vulnerability helps me “get” me. It helps me understand my own struggles. When I read her raw and totally risky sharing of the ugly and real parts of her life, my heart said “THAT IS ME!” That is my exact struggle on my own personal Inside Passage (IP), rife with Susan’s parallel life experiences... I have dog-eared many pages and will read, re-read, and re-read Susan’s heartfelt words about fear, hissy fits, about loving to paddle, even if it means being out of control in the storms. In recording her adventure, Susan has invited us in to a remarkable journey, reminded us that the hard things in life are worth working for, and blessed us with this wondrous gift. Take a journey into your own Inside and read this book!”
“Susan's memoir is a tale of both her inner and outer journey while paddling 1,200 miles of challenging ocean waters and attempting to synthesize 50 years of living—which has its own unique challenges. “Inside" has been called "'Wild' by kayak," but frankly I think Susan's story demonstrates far more self-awareness and awareness of the natural environment around her than “Wild.” Not to mention MUCH more preparation. Without such careful preparation, a person could easily suffer a fatal mishap on a journey like this.”
“The WET version of “WILD”! Susan Conrad’s amazing solo kayak expedition up the Inside Passage is not only an adventure of epic proportions, it is also a journey deep within—an “Inside” vision quest. The fact that she did this arduous trip as a single woman at age 49, and paddled marathon distances (or more) most days is a testament to her strength, courage, and detailed preparation for this trip. Her writing is so genuinely human—gut-wrenching at times, humorous at others that it’s hard to put the book down. You want to see what’s around the next corner, just like she did. And, her sense of childlike wonder at the magnificent scenery, wildlife (big and small), and the kindness of the people she meets along her journey engages you and transports you to her cockpit.”
“This really benefits from reading more than once. The first time to get a sense of what it is all about, the second time to savor the many exquisitely written bits. One reviewer has mentioned this as a "Wet Wild" which is accurate as far as it goes. Yes, like "Wild" this is an intense and deeply experienced inner and outer journey. But it is also so much more. It is multi-dimensional, dealing with inner trauma and life's lessons in how to cope, how to deal with fear, how to develop realistic expectations and strategies, the value of friendship and how to build and sustain friendship, along with concrete information how to plan, prepare and prevail.”