With its world class diving sites, corals beyond compare, natural beauty, warm weather and people to match, the paradise-inspired island of Saipan in the north Pacific might be just the ideal setting for a nomad’s adventure, except that few people are familiar with this furthest east American commonwealth just 150 miles north of Guam. But Notes from a Jamaican in Saipan, a new book by Walt Goodridge, which chronicles the author’s escape from the rat race in search of a private dream, may yet change that fact.
“I wanted to tell a different story,” Goodridge explains, “from a perspective and through eyes you don’t normally experience.” And he does indeed. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised for half his childhood in Jamaica, New York, Goodridge, a self-described “mobile, mac-enabled, mimimalist nomapdreneur who happens also to be vegan” reveals a personal vision of happiness he’d been searching for all his life. His story begins with his challenging, almost aborted “escape from America,” his arrival and acclimation to Saipan’s unique culture and lifestyle, adapting as a vegan in a meat-centric paradise, finding opportunities for making money, achieving fame, and even cross-cultural dating on a Pacific island.
A graduate of Columbia University, a civil engineer who walked away from his career to be an entrepreneur, former radio personality, author of 12 books, e-business guru, public speaker and career coach, Goodridge amassed an impressive resume in his “former” life in the states. Even so, he’s not afraid to risk baring the ignominy of some of his experiences on the other side of the world–such as one humorously chronicled episode of having no money or credit card and having to call friends back in the states in the middle of the night for Paypal loans to purchase a ticket, or his “rats in the kitchen” situation, or finding out too late that he hadn’t done sufficient research to know that he needed a visa for travel to certain countries.
With its wide coverage of life in Saipan, the book also doubles as a travel guide, touching on a wide range of topics of interest to potential visitors, retirees, tourists and fellow nomads who will find his “notes” not just entertaining, but also educational, and a great way to round out one’s knowledge of this relatively unknown, but quite unique island paradise. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know enough about Saipan’s culture, lifestyle, economy, tourist spots and even some of the local celebrities to feel like you’ve been there, or at the very least, to decide if you want to go.
Goodridge’s story is a personal, inspiring, at times embarrassing often amusing, but never dull account of the adventure that life often gives as reward to those with the courage to live their dreams. With a Jamaican’s eye for cultural anomaly, a coach’s desire to teach, and a poet’s way with words, Walt chronicles his year-long experience in a collection of personal emails, blog posts and private journal entries. The result is a hard-to-put-down adventure peppered with insightful observations and analysis on everything from global warming, to finding economic opportunity, love and happiness in paradise!
TITLE:Notes from a Jamaican in Saipan: The True Story of One Man’s Escape From the Rat Race to Live a Private Nomadpreneur’s Dream…(a Unique Travel Guide for the Rest of Us)
6 x 9; 150 pages; ISBN 978-0-9745313-9-7