authors / Guest blogs and bloggers

Chatting with Liesbet About Her #1 Debut Novel

I have rarely enjoyed a memoir as much as I liked Liesbet Collaert’s, Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary. Maybe because at my core, I’m nomadic. She does what I wish I would (and don’t). Here my review if you’d like to read more about this wonderful life story.

No surprise, I had a few more questions she didn’t cover in her book so Liesbet agreed to drop by and answer them:

  • Do you like wandering on water in a boat or land in a van better?
  • Will there be a sequel to Plunge?
  • I get the sense that you and Mark don’t worry about problems (with some notable exceptions you mention in the book). You trust yourselves to handle most of what you face. Right or wrong?

***

Thank you, Jacqui, for inviting me to your informative, entertaining, and diverse blog WordDreams after you already surprised me with your fantastic and detailed five-star review of Plunge – One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary on my birthday in November.

  • Do you like wandering on water in a boat or land in a van better?

What a great question. And, not an easy one to answer. I tend to think that there is a good time for everything, based on our circumstances, desires, and fate. Hopping on a sailboat seemed like the perfect adventure at the time and I enjoyed (most) of that eight-year experience in the Caribbean and South Pacific, until there came an end to it and we moved into a 19ft campervan to explore North America and, hopefully, beyond.

What I’m trying to say is that there are advantages to both lifestyles. While adventuring on land is less challenging than on the water (less life-threatening conditions, less maintenance, lower costs, more freedom to go wherever, the weather is less important and all-consuming, more outdoor space, and prepping/planning isn’t an ordeal), there are many factors that I miss about the boat life.

Wandering on water allows for more peace, quiet, solitude, and – most important to me – being one with nature. Wildlife interactions, jungle hikes, snorkeling with colorful creatures, immersing ourselves in exotic cultures, … these are things that I currently miss on the road. Plus, we managed to isolate for longer periods of time, since we could be self-contained for a month or longer.

On our 35ft sailing catamaran Irie, we collected rainwater, created electricity with solar panels and a wind generator, had a fridge and freezer, grew herbs and sprouts, caught fish, and were able to store more food and water. I also enjoyed being self-sufficient, making bread, pizza, snacks, yogurt, granola, … you name it. And, we did laundry by hand. Not that I would want to go back to that!

At the moment, I enjoy roaming about on the road and I have no reason or intention to hop on a boat (yet). We can cover more ground, stay in places as long as we please, and I don’t get seasick!

  • Will there be a sequel to Plunge?

I hate to disappoint you, so I’m going to say “I don’t know yet.” At the moment, I am focused on promotion possibilities for Plunge, which is taking up a lot of time. My husband and I are in our upper forties, so we still have to work for a living and attempt to combine that with an adventurous lifestyle that requires lots of time for errand runs and solving issues.

All that being said, I have heaps of ideas for sequels, a prequel, and a stand-alone memoir that I plan to call “How (Not) to Become an American.” I also have been playing with creating a nautical photo/poem coffee table book for many years. I am a writer and a traveler by heart, so I could never give up either of these passions; I just have to find time and a balance to combine them!

  • I get the sense from your book that you and Mark don’t worry about problems (with some notable exceptions you mention in the book). You trust yourselves to handle most problems you face. In that way you reduce the stress so many of us struggle with. Right or wrong?

Right and wrong! As you picked up, we are a fan of the “Let’s see what happens” method, if there is such a thing. We rarely plan, are flexible, and trust that everything will work out when you have common sense, the aptitude to learn or research, and the desire to take care of as much as possible yourselves. That belief – or trust – lessens stress. Especially when you add experience, handiness, and knowledge to the mix. I’m also a true believer in not worrying about potential problems before they exist and not fearing the unknown.

Where the stress appears is from never knowing what will be next. While I enjoy that feeling of being “completely free,” having somewhat of a routine or a plan you know will work out brings familiarity and comfort; factors that reduce stress. To be honest, for choosing this “life of leisure” and even naming our previous boat Irie (which means “all is good,” a Jamaican expression to be relaxed), Mark and I are way too stressed still, being A-type personalities.

Here are a couple of examples where stress levels rise… We use an app for free campsites and don’t know where we will spend the night, until we consult this app, either hours or minutes before it’s time to get settled. Usually, everything works out. But when the places mentioned don’t exist (anymore), can’t be found, now sport a “no overnight camping” sign, or feel unsafe, we have an issue that adds hours and heaps of stress to the day.

Or, we have planned a day of running errands in an unfamiliar town. This happens at least once a week. Stop one – a grocery store – has only half of the products they normally carry, so another stop is required. Stop two – the post office that is supposed to have our general delivery package – happens to be the wrong post office, so another stop has to be added. Stop three – an Amazon locker that is reported to have a package for us – is not located where Amazon showed, so we have to drive an extra 20 minutes to the right address. Stop four – a free dump station – is either not free (anymore), doesn’t exist, or the line is five RVs deep, adding precious time lost.

There are often issues that obstruct our progress or time line and add to the stress level. But it all works out in the end, whenever that end is. 😊

The bottom line is that we enjoy our lifestyle and take the cons with the pros. In general, yes, I do think we have less stress (and less expenses) than the average person living in a house. Or we should anyway…

Buy Plunge:

For general info including purchase links: https://www.roamingabout.com/about-plunge/

To buy on Amazon (global): www.amzn.com/B08NHP3NHC

For eBook versions worldwide: https://books2read.com/plungememoir

For paperback distributors worldwide: https://www.ingramspark.com/how-it-works/distribute

For reviews on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/55848458-plunge-one-woman-s-pursuit-of-a-life-less-ordinary

About Liesbet

Liesbet Collaert’s articles and photos have been published internationally. Born in Belgium, she has been a nomad since 2003 with no plans to settle anytime soon. Her love of travel, diversity, and animals is reflected in her lifestyle choices of sailing, RVing, and house and pet sitting. Liesbet calls herself a world citizen and currently lives “on the road” in North America with her husband and rescue dog. Follow her adventures at www.itsirie.com and www.roamingabout.com.

Social media links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liesbet.collaert/ & https://www.facebook.com/roamingsabout

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roaming.about/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LiesbetCollaert

Blog URLs

www.roamingabout.com

www.itsirie.com

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Liesbet-Collaert/e/B073C9F8TW

120 thoughts on “Chatting with Liesbet About Her #1 Debut Novel

  1. Good questions!

    Stress seems inevitable. Where as Liesbet may experience more stress when things don’t work out – because of less planning, I probably experience more stress planning in order to make sure I know that things will work out. But ultimately when you are traveling everything is happening on the fly and less than desirable situation always happen.

    I agree on the land vs water travel thing. I fell in love with sailing – just the feeling of being on the water. The more secluded a place the better. But traveling on land offers so many more places and things to see and do. Land traveling is a bit overwhelming sometimes – especially if you are like me – or Liesbet – and want to do it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed Plunge so much! It re-ignited my love of reading which had gone dark in 2020. I was very interested to hear the response to ‘will there be a sequel’. Something that has been on my mind as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad to see Liesbet still making the circuit! Great insights. I especially liked the idea for a book – How (not) to become an American. After reading Plunge, and just some of the antics she endured traveling back and forth home to Belgium, it could be a best seller LOL 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I enjoyed reading this post, Jacqui. As soon as you are on land and travelling, you have to comply with a whole lot of rules – these are the things that waste time for everyone including Liesbet and Mark. I am fascinated by this idea but would never want to live in such a small space or travel all the time. I enjoy reading about it but I am a home body. Our holidays are never longer than 14 days because I get tired of travelling.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Did you know that there is a “nomad gene,” Jacqui? I’m serious. I forgot what it’s called, but I’m pretty sure I have it.

        Even though we have been living in our camper van for a while, I just realized today that it has been eight (!) years since I visited a new-to-me country. That is ages! I’m craving new cultures and destinations, but, as you know, because of Covid, that might need to wait one more year. While roaming about in the US in a van is slightly adventurous and fits our lifestyle for now, it’s nothing exciting, really…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robbie! Travel can be exhausting. It often is. The key to being a happy nomad – I think – is to allow yourself to slow down and sit still (and ideally do nothing for a day once in a while, something I haven’t mastered yet :-)) for periods of a time. Either in the same hotel room or, in our case, in the same camping area. Because I’ve been working heaps the last four months (and because of Covid), we haven’t been able to travel around or sightsee much, once we reached the warmer climes of the desert southwest. The positive about that is we are not sick of traveling yet and don’t feel like we need a break from being on the road yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Liesbet and Plunge have sure been “roaming about” on WordPress these days! So great to see. I’m about one-third through this lovely book, although a library audiobook just popped up, which I’ll have to read first. Plunge really is a fascinating read and best wishes for continuing success!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great questions, Jacqui. I was particularly interested in Liesbet’s last answer as to how they handle “stress.” My hubs and I just retired and will begin our much-less-daring travel adventures this summer. It’s comforting to know that even the pros run into challenges and find a way to overcome them. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The whole time I was reading Liesbet’s book, I was thinking, “I’d never have the courage to go for it the way that she and Mark did, but I have to know how this all pans out.” I want honesty when I read a memoir, and I got it with this read.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for more info about Liesbet’s life-style and survival.What an interesting life with lots of fodder for more stories! I understand what she means about stress even when you are free to roam and do your own thing. We full-timed in an RV, albeit much larger and with a microwave, for 8 years plus. Different kinds of stress from those who are in a home, but every lifestyle has stress. I thought when we retired, we would be carefree and happy. But that has its own kinds of problems too. We survived all of it and had a great time. Settling into a house was exciting, but some days, I yearn for the open road. Congratulations to Liesbet and continued success with writing projects!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, J.Q.! I’m so glad you understand what it means to live on the road full-time. Like you said, every lifestyle has its own challenges. And perfect doesn’t exist! We just have to find a balance that makes us happy and, if we’re convinced that whatever we are doing doesn’t bring us (enough) joy anymore, we have to switch gears.

      PS: Our little Zesty has a small microwave as well, which we use for storage. We’d have to run our generator to be able to use it, since we never stay in RV parks. And, we don’t like to use our generator. Solar panels are quieter. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jacqui, after seeing Liesbet around on WP and her engaging comments I feel I know her a bit but it’s lovely to learn more here! Great questions and the first one is not a usual one at all! Most of us live in buildings with firm foundations and I bet many of us, like you and me, yearn a bit for the nomadic lifestyle. Yet, the uncertainty would terrify me … I think! Life is never stress free I imagine, just different ones and probably far less for Liesbet! I really hope she keeps writing and Plunge is on my horizon … with your high recommendation it’s a book I look forward to reading! Happy Weekend to you both! 😀🌺

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Jacqui and Liesbet – it does sound amazing … and I admire you having the capacity to live life like this … and to find a hubby who is happy with a similar life-style. Good luck with your next project and for developing ‘Plunge’ … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Hilary! I’ve often heard from people how I’m “lucky” to have a partner with the same aspirations when it comes to traveling and “roughing it.” While that might be true, and it is certainly very important, I tend to think that if he wouldn’t be up for all these adventures, I wouldn’t be with him (anymore) in the first place. Who knows? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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