September 7, 2022
At first glance, ‘Going AWOL’ is a celebration of the walking, kayaking, diving and other activities available in beautiful natural environments around New Zealand. I enjoyed this aspect of the book for the memories it evoked of my own trips to Cathedral Cove, the Tongariro crossing, Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman. But it’s more than an armchair travel experience.
Mary interweaves reflections on how those adventures have shaped her life, and includes reflections about how ‘Adventurous Women on the Loose’ (AWOL) events influenced the women who participated in them. These women often moved beyond what they thought they were capable of doing, or would have felt confident to do on their own.
The theme of adventure circulates throughout the narrative of Going AWOL. Mary says “adventure is about attitude. It’s about trying something new or doing something differently than before. Leaving your comfort zone. Facing your fears. Choosing to walk an unknown path.”
Doing this in the company of supportive people is a theme she returns to, as she takes us into a deeper dive – acknowledging that no matter whether we are physically adventurous or not, we all have to face confronting things in our lives, particularly as we age and need to adapt to changes in our life circumstances. Mary writes about her journey to make sense of these transitions, and how to embrace it all with a spirit of adventure.
Going AWOL shares Mary’s inner and outer adventure of transitioning to different phases in her life, and encourages us all to embrace our own pathway to living a meaningful life.
You can find out more about Mary Somervell and ‘Going AWOL’ here.