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
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—
“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!”
“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.”
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—