Susan Smillie

The Half Bird
  • The Half Bird

  • Pre-order now and discover the incredible true story of one woman's solo journey across the Mediterranean, and the unexpected joy of solitude, self-discovery and resilience

    'We have no idea how much resilience there is inside us until we have to draw on it. We learn that we grow through adversity only as we go through it. That we crave happiness like plants leaning toward the light.'

    After leaving her job, disillusioned with her life in London, Susan unexpectedly set sail from the south coast of England one day, heading west across the channel, on her beloved sailboat, Isean.

    This spontaneous departure was the beginning of a three-year journey spanning several countries, voyaging through storms and navigational dangers, experiencing encounters with wildlife and humans, and witness astonishing natural spectacles.

    With only the very basics on board, resourcefulness becomes an unexpected source of joy and contentment. The highs and lows of living in such an extreme way awakens a newfound appreciation the beauty of her surroundings, for being safe - for just being alive.

    For all the physical and navigational challenges of her journey, the other side of her story reveals a more important change - her inner journey - that took place along the way. This wasn't merely a challenge, a mid-life adventure or gap-year career break; it was much gentler than that, but much greater too.

    She was seeking nothing less than an entirely different life, having left the land far behind to call the wild, unbiddable sea home.

Susan Smillie is a former food editor for G2 and, and wrote mainly on travel, food and the arts. She's the author of one previous book, The Last Sea Nomads, published by Guardian Shorts. She is based between Scotland, with her family, and Greece, where her her boat, Isean, is currently moored.

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