In the summer before my junior year, I left my college dorm in Tucson, Arizona to begin my life at sea. Inspired by nothing more than storybooks, Hollywood movies and my own tall-ship dreams, I boarded a schooner on the West Coast of Canada to learn to tie Turk’s heads and climb the royal yard. Of course, I had no idea what these things were, but I aimed to not only master them, but maybe swim with dolphins, or even fall into the arms of a dashing pirate. For me, it ended up being genesis of Princess of Pirates: A Memoir, Or How I Ran Away to Sea.
Years later, disillusioned with the shallowness of my land-locked life as would-be writer in New York City, I again took to the waves, this time on a three-masted schooner from the Netherlands. Over the two months it took us to journey from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, through the bewitching isolation of the South Atlantic islands, to the paradise of the Azores, I found myself in turns aggravated, challenged, and eventually, embraced by the extraordinary men and women I met–some with really nice shoulders. All in all, I resolved to preserve the wonder and daring of the pirate lifestyle even when I returned to civilization.
The dawn of the jet age closed off forever the realm of Magellan and Lord Nelson, of Long John Silver and Captain Jack Sparrow. But in the popular imagination, the sea lives, and Princess of Pirates: How I Ran Away to Sea, aims to capture in a bottle that sense of wonder I first felt years ago.