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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Of Foreign Build: From Corporate Girl to Sea-Gypsy Woman is a travelogue written by Jackie Parry. The author's predictable and safe life changed forever when her fiance, Martin, died after a grueling fight with illness. She decided to leave her native England and emigrate to Australia, where she met Noel. He was older, divorced and had children, but they had something special and went with it. Noel had some experience sailing, and the two decided to find a sailboat and travel. After seeing a number of boats that didn't catch their fancy, they found Mariah II, a 38-foot sloop. They lived aboard and took short trips for the first few years, and then started off on a world voyage.
Jackie Parry's travel memoir, Of Foreign Build: From Corporate Girl to Sea-Gypsy Woman, is likely to start corporate girls and boys thinking seriously about their own chances at freedom. Her book details the marvels and exotic locales they visit, while at the same time the reader shares in the many hardships that can accompany such a lifestyle. There's life aboard a ship that has no refrigeration and features hasty-tasty meals from tins, and heaving seas that leave Jackie and Noel seasick for days on end. Jackie also details her coming of age, as it were, as she learns to be herself, free of the constraints and expectations of the corporate world, and as she gains confidence in her own abilities. She shares with us a view of life aboard ship with all its rigors, discipline and marvels, and her descriptions of their adventures at sea are fabulous. I found myself following the Mariah II's voyage on Google maps and learned a lot of the geography I had avoided in school along the way. Of Foreign Build: From Corporate Girl to Sea-Gypsy Woman is a remarkable memoir and travelogue, and it's highly recommended.