Newly married and established in her career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, Maggie Downs quits her job, sells her belongings, and embarks on the solo trip of a lifetime: Her mother's.
As a child, Maggie Downs often doubted that she would ever possess the courage to visit the destinations her mother dreamed of one day seeing. "You are braver than you think," her mother always insisted. That statement would guide her as, over the course of one year, Downs backpacked through seventeen countries-visiting all the places her mother, struck with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, could not visit herself-encountering some of the world's most striking locales while confronting the slow loss of her mother. Interweaving travelogue with family memories, Braver Than You Think takes the reader hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, white-water rafting on the Nile, volunteering at a monkey sanctuary in Bolivia, praying at an ashram in India, and fleeing the Arab Spring in Egypt.
By embarking on an international journey, Downs learned to make every moment count-traveling around the globe and home again, losing a parent while discovering the world. Perfect for fans of adventure memoirs like Wild and Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, Braver Than You Think explores grief and loss with tenderness, clarity, and humor, and offers a truly incredible roadmap to coping with the unimaginable.
About the Author
Maggie Downs is an award-winning writer based in Palm Springs, California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Palm Springs Life, and McSweeney's and has been anthologized in The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True Stories from the World's Best Writers and Best Women's Travel Writing. Braver Than You Think is her first book. Find out more at maggiedowns.com.
"Downs has a fluid, conversational writing style, zooming in to particular anecdotes that illuminate her experience rather than trying to cover the entire year . . . The travel sections are compelling and lively. A poignant tale of connection and disconnection through travel." -Kirkus Reviews
"With a mother in the final stages of Alzheimer's, Maggie Downs tries to run from her grief, but instead takes us to the far reaches of the globe, cuddling (and being bitten) by endangered monkeys, bonding with elephants, and working to save sea turtles. It's a journey to make any of us wonder if we're braver than we think." -Diana Marcum, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Tenth Island