I’m thrilled to announce that Tumblehome: One Woman’s Canoeing Adventures in the Divine Near Wilderness is going to be published! Part travel adventure, part spiritual memoir and great part ode to the Earth, Tumblehome will arrive in the world, thanks to the generosity of Inanna Publications, in spring 2021. Stay tuned for details!

Tumblehome chronicles an interior journey within a series of solo canoe trips that blew all my perceptions of romance, God and my own self (gently) out of the water. In the healing, and testing, semi-wilderness of Ontario’s vast Algonquin Provincial Park, I paddled and portaged my way through the illusions about romantic relationships and the nature of God that had prevented me from accepting love, and myself. Each encounter with weather, wildlife and other trippers brought me to a place of growing acceptance and compassion, for myself and others, and to an ever-evolving and deepening experience of the Divinity in all creation (even bears).  In our high-tech urban age, when so many people are disconnected from the natural world, Tumblehome is a timely and important exploration of where our real roots lie.

Here’s the dust-jacket-style summary:

On a warm summer evening, Brenda Missen, a single, unattached writer in her late thirties, pitches her tent beside a lake in Canada’s vast Algonquin Provincial Park an hour’s paddle from the take-out. She is on a “reconnaissance mission” to find out if she has the capability—and nerve—to go on a real canoe trip by herself one day. Paddling and portaging from her campsite base by day and surviving imaginary bear attacks by night, she believes she does. Then a park ranger arrives to check her camping permit, and an unexpected, powerful intuition tells her this is the man she is going to marry: she will not need to go solo after all.

Two summers later, Brenda embarks on her first real solo canoe trip, still reeling from her brief, now broken engagement to the ranger. The experience has brought to the surface the deep-seated belief, rooted in her church upbringing, that she is not worthy of love. It also awakens the knowledge that the wellspring of Love is inside her (if she could just find it…). So begins her real journey, beyond the illusion that she, like so many others, has internalized, that our fulfilment comes from seeking love and happiness outside ourselves. On successive summer canoe trips in the healing and testing backcountry, she peels away long-reinforced beliefs about God and romantic relationships. Each encounter with weather, wildlife and other trippers brings her to a place of growing acceptance and compassion, for herself and others. And each venture into the park interior surprises her with an ever-evolving, ever-deepening experience of the Divinity that is at the core of our being, and in all of creation. She finds herself “tumbling home” to an ease in her own skin and to something that might be considered Grace.

Who’s it for?

I wrote Tumblehome for women—and men too—who have been indoctrinated into the belief that human romantic relationships hold the key to our fulfilment and happiness. I wrote it for those who battle self-criticism and are plagued by guilt and a sense of unworthiness. I wrote it for those who are looking for the source of their fulfilment in a spiritual context but may, like me, be following a path outside organized religion. And I wrote it for those who love to explore the natural world, those who long to explore it, and those who have no desire to get into a canoe at all but care deeply about the Earth. In Tumblehome, you can come on an interior journey with a kindred soul.

To read an excerpt, click here.

What the heck is “tumblehome”?

Besides being a great word, tumblehome is a design term that refers to the inward curve of the sides of a boat (boats can also have straight sides or sides that flare out). In a boat with good tumblehome, a solo canoeist can kneel close one side and lean the boat over without tipping it, which puts the paddle closer to the water and makes the boat easier to control. (A boat with too much tumblehome will tip if leaned over too far—hence the name.) It’s the perfect title: it captures the spirit of this work not only because of its associations with solo paddling but also because it evokes a sense of “tumbling home” on different levels—to one’s literal home, to being at home in one’s self … and to something that might be considered Grace.