Adventures in Opting Out
by Cait Flanders
We all follow our own path in life. At least, that’s what we’re told. In reality, many of us either do what is expected of us, or follow the invisible but well-worn paths that lead to what is culturally acceptable. For some, those paths are fine — even great. But they leave some of us feeling disconnected from ourselves and what we really want to do. When that discomfort finally outweighs the fear of trying something new, we’re ready to opt out.
After going through this process many times, Cait Flanders found there is an incredible parallel between taking a different path in life and the psychological work it takes to summit a mountain — especially when you decide to go solo. In Adventures in Opting Out, she offers a trail map to help you with both. As you’ll see, reaching the first viewpoint can be easy — and it offers a glimpse of what you’re walking toward. Climbing to the summit for the full view is worth it. But in the space between those two peaks you will enter a world completely unknown to you, and that is the most difficult part of the path to navigate.
With Flanders’s guidance and advice, drawn from her own journey and stories of others, you’ll have all the encouragement and insight you’ll need to take the path less traveled and create the life you want. Just step up to the trailhead and expect it to be an adventure.
“No two paths are the same, just as no two people are the same.”
I really enjoyed Cait Flanders‘ “The Year of Less”, a personal memoir that I read earlier this year. When I finished, I immediately placed a hold on Cait’s second book “Adventures in Opting Out” at the library and was so pleased that the wait was a lot quicker than predicted.
Unfortunately I found that the two books are worlds apart from one another, and I didn’t really get on too well with the second. I was expecting an extension of the memoir I’d first read, perhaps picking up where Cait left us in book one and continuing in the same kind of style. Instead, this was more of a self help book, with Cait using some of her personal experiences and several references to others too.
Cait talks about the idea of ‘opting out’, of taking the path less travelled, of doing things because you want to and not because society expects it of you. The premise is great and definitely sounds like something I’d enjoy. Throughout the whole book, Cait uses the analogy of hiking to tell us about the journey that these kinds of decisions can take you on: taking a break at the halfway point, enjoying the view at the top, turning left at the next signpost, packing the essentials etc. I like walking and hiking too, so it’s fair to say that this read started well for me!
As I continued to listen though, the book became very repetitive and several stories were actually repeated. At one point I had to check my phone because I was sure that the audiobook must have accidentally skipped backwards in my pocket, but it hadn’t, the same story was just being told again!
I feel that the author had a great idea for a book but wasn’t really able to meet the required word count with her own experiences and therefore there was a lot of padding that I didn’t enjoy too much. I think this would have been better as a short read, about half in length. Or perhaps if a few more years had passed, there would be a few more stories and anecdotes to tell.
The dodgy pronunciation of some British town names really grated on me too, although I know that’s not the author’s fault!
Overall rating: I enjoyed the overall message, and for a short while I enjoyed the extended metaphor, but as the book continued, I lost concentration and interest. “Adventures in Opting Out” was a 2 star read for me.
See my other reviews of books by Cait Flanders here: