I Am the Ocean: Book Review
The bulk of the books I read are in some way travel related, mostly travel memoirs. Travel memoirs are the perfect blend for me, with a mix of discovering new locales, or new perspectives on an old destination, and biography. I get to hear first hand how travel digs deep into another person, how they maneuver the world and how travel has changed them.
What happens when a strong, driven young woman from Toronto finds out life isn’t what she thought it would be?
I Am the Ocean is Samita Sarkar’s travel memoir about her trip down through the east coast of the United States. She’d spent her life being the dedicated student, with a mission to get good grades and land her dream job after graduation. But after graduating and on the hunt for a job she comes to a crossroads. She’d always been on the straight road, but now she feels like she’s lacking a destination. Samita decides to abandon convention and opts for a three-week solo trip down through the United States. With limited funds she resorts to cheap, long overnight bus rides, couch-surfing, and hostels. She does have one companion, her trusted book, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, an ancient Indian yogic text. It not only helps keep her close to Krishna, but it guides her, warms her heart, and in the end steers her in the right direction. Her journey takes her from her home in Toronto and down to Miami, but it also takes her closer to herself.
From a studious graduate on the road to the perfect job to a young woman who let wanderlust pull her away, I Am the Ocean is a relatable memoir for many new age women. Samita abandons the conventional life and heads out on a journey, figuratively and spiritually. Throughout her journey she consults her beloved book, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, to help encourage her, inspire her and keep her grounded. While I may have felt her references to it were at times excessive, I understand her desire to share this special part of herself.
“I was just being in the moment, absorbing whatever I could about where I was.” ~ I Am the Ocean
As a traveller I could relate to her overnight bus rides. The bus jostling her around, chatty riders disturbing her slumber, but all the while part of the journey. And how each state she travels through feels like a new country in itself, I couldn’t agree more. As a solo traveller I could relate to her lust to visit places she wants, whether her new friends are with her or not, to explore or sit back on a bench and watch the world go by. But it was when she finally realizes that the fear and anxiety that had haunted her all her life was fading away as she travelled, that I paused. I’d been there. Travel changed my life and me, putting the brakes on fear and anxiety that held me back. Travel gave me the freedom I needed.
“I was finished with waiting around for life to happen to me.” ~ I Am the Ocean
And by the time she arrives in Miami, and receives yet another rejection email for another job, she recognizes that she’s no longer bothered by it. There’s been a monumental shift within. Samita starts to realize that the life she thought she wanted might not be what she wants now. That Krishna has another plan for her. Life for Samita will never be the same.
Travel changes you and this book reminds me of the famous quote by Ibn Battuta,
“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
To get your copy of I Am the Ocean click here.
I was given a copy of Samita’s book, I Am the Ocean, in return for an honest review. As always all opinions are my own.