An Inspiring Memoir Brought The Adventure to Us: AGC’s First Virtual book Club

Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2020

Zugunruhe is a German word meaning “migratory restlessness,” is usually attributed to birds in the springtime. It’s an urge to get moving, change the scenery, and explore a different part of the world. Does this deep-seated adventure itch sound familiar? It’s something so primal — an actual feeling we can’t escape. Usually, we would be off exploring the world with you lovely women to soothe this nagging adventure bug. But these days, our adventures are on pause, so we turn to the stories of adventuresses before us.

We decided we needed a little escape; a way to roam from home, as it were, and launched our first-ever virtual book club. We put out a list of adventure-themed books, many written by inspirational women, and asked the Friends of AGC Facebook Group to vote. After reading the first few chapters of The Sun Is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds, we were hooked on the intense sojourn of Caroline Van Hemert, ornithologist, author, and avid adventuress.

The gripping memoir follows Caroline and her now-husband, Pat, form the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic. They hike, and paddle - a true multisport adventure! The story is a beautiful blend of personal growth, scientific observation, and passion for nature.

The team at Adventures in Good Company never expected the author of The Sun Is a Compass to join in one of our virtual book clubs, but we loved her story so much that we had to reach out to and inquire about the possibility. To our surprise and delight, she Zoomed right into our next virtual book club event - what a world we live in!

Caroline was just as you’d imagine her to be after reading her book; grounded, thoughtful, and well-spoken. We chatted about her book, our uniting passion for the outdoors, and different perspectives on approaching risk while on adventures.

It’s no wonder that Caroline and her family ended up living in Alaska - the place has a way of ensnaring your heart. Many of our book club participants also have been smitten by the vastly sublime state. Wendy had a life-changing experience in the Yukon during her first trip with AGC and is now an AGC guide. Others, like Amy from Georgia, have not been (yet!), but have “[ed] the book and seeing the beauty of Alaska from [Caroline’s] eyes”.

Something that resonated with the group was the importance of place. For many of us, Caroline included, that place is the outdoors. Our love and connection with nature is something that brings us together, and it’s been difficult for those of us who haven’t been able to get outside as much as we’d like - both personally and socially.

“We need to come from a place of love and connection, and it’s hard to have that without a connection [to place] someway…. even if it’s your backyard,” as Caroline noted during our discussion, we can still have that connection to nature, we just need to get a little creative.

As our conversation bubbled along, Kelly pipped in:

“Do you still have that Zugunruhe?”
“Oh, yeah”. Us too, Caroline. Us too.

Are you ready to embark on a literary adventure? Click here to purchase Caroline’s book - and let us know what you think!

Leave your comment