She left searching for adventure, her country and herself, and found all three, but along the way she also discovered her life’s passion and her faith.
Part travelogue, part wildlife encounters and part dangerous, risk-filled adventure, this compelling memoir follows the journey of a female 1950s biologist frustrated by the conservative gender and social confines of the Midwest and disillusioned with the country. She leaves for two decades of real-world adventures in the Costa Rican Jungle, Hawaii, Asia, the Philippines and Guam, before finding her way back to the United States and home in Seattle.
Along the way, she battles family opposition, the frustrations of working in a male-dominated field, and the challenges of an interracial/intercultural marriage in an era when this was very unconventional. The adventures and dangers she faced helped her rediscover her country, find her life’s passion, and eventually discover her faith. She also provides a valuable message of how going against what is considered “normal” allowed her to discover a world far greater than she could ever have imagined.
Joan’s forty-year career in biology and environmental protection spans research, academia, consulting, and government service. After her years abroad, she spent twenty-three years with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, and also edited the Aquatic Invasive Species Newsletter for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in Portland. She has lectured extensively on environmental programs, invasive species, gardening to attract wildlife, and native plants. A world traveller and Master Gardener emeritus, she lives outside Seattle with her husband Carlos, a large organic garden, a flock of chickens, and occasionally, a great blue heron.