I'd loved Nick Thorpe's last book, Adrift in Caledonia, so when I spotted he'd been busy scribing again, I stuck in an order pdq. It took a day to get here and then I basically didn't leave the house for 48 hours. I was completely absorbed, drawn in by Nick's candid (but never self-indulgent)and very personal story of learning to let go - and it's not as easy as you think.
Nick's got tired with being tired, weary of 'carrying so much, controlling and marshalling it ever upwards'.
And so begins a year-long quest to find out whether there just might be another way to live. His journey takes him to Cornwall where he hurls himself (literally) into something called 'coasteering' which involves leaping off cliffs and into the sea below; an event called the No Mind festival in Sweden where he encounters other people also looking for ways to relax in a world gone mad including a really moving encounter with an alcoholic; a couple of days at a naturist camp in Cornwall (revealing in more ways than one), mixing with street kids in Durban and winding up at a monastry in New Mexico.
And in the midst of these and other adventures, is the very intimate story of how Nick and his family prepare to adopt a small boy for the first time.
Aong the way Nick asks the questions I guess most of us of wonder about in the crazy, unpredictable times we live in. Can you relax if you're not in control? What will happen if we learn to be really honest with the people in our lives? And how can an anxious guy learn to loosen up a little and let his hair down?
Nick explores these and other predicaments but his writing is never intense and there is plenty of humility and lovely, gentle humour along the way.
Sometimes, you come across a book that leaves an impression which you just know will be there for a while. For me, this is one of those books. In learning to die to a few things, Nick Thorpe has written a book that is full of life.