Yesterday, we spoke with OF FOREIGN BUILD author Jackie Parry. The transcript of our chat is below. Enjoy!
LRR_Mandy: Welcome one and all to Literary R&R's meme, THE BOOKISH INQUISITION! We welcome author Jackie Parry to the chat today.
Jackie Parry: Thank you - I appreciate the opportunity and everyone coming along
LRR_Mandy: Jackie - For those that may not be familiar with your story, can you give us a quick background leading up to your first book?
Jackie Parry: Well, the first book was a 'technical book' about living on boats, the second book is far more interesting, it took 15 years to write, so I'll try and be brief! Noel (hubby) and I sailed for 9 years on our 10 metre boat. It is about that story - but much more - basically I lost my fiance, ran away to Australia, met and married Noel and set sail!
Lupe: Ok so my first question is: Why boating? Why not aviation?
Jackie Parry: Good question. I guess because Noel had sailed before and he knew a bit about it - if he had been into planes, it would have been aviation!
LRR_Mandy: Did you have experience with sailing before meeting Noel?
Jackie Parry: No! None, nothing, nada - I didn't know the front end of a boat from the back-end... it all suddenly becomes very real when you set off out to sea! We crashed pretty early too - actually 24 hours after buying our first boat!
Lupe: OH NO!
Jackie Parry: Yes, a gear coupling went and we had no forward or reverse - this is when we were trying to dock on a fast river!
Glen: Did Noel have extended time at Sea?
Jackie Parry: Noel had a fair bit of time, not as much as he wanted - he had sailed to Vanuatu and back (from Australia) and had sailed the east coat.
Jackie: Hi Jackie. I read your book Of Foreign Build. Really enjoyed it. Are you planning any other trips at sea? Or any upcoming books?
Jackie Parry: So pleased you liked the book Jackie. No trips at sea just yet - we are currently living on a Dutch Barge in France - this is our latest escape. I will do another box on my next project.
Noel (hubby) and I did a trek in Australia (on the Bicentennial National Trail). There was just our 5 horses , us two, and a tent... we did a few months. We’d rescued our horses (they were going to be put down). It was an incredible journey... a percentage of proceeds from this book will go to help rescue more horses.
Jackie: That sounds interesting! When are you hoping to release it? Is this another area you didn't have experience in? Why horses!
Jackie Parry: Good question Jackie. It goes to the editor in April - I am editing at the moment, so hopefully May/June time. Horses are my first love, I grew up with them - I simply adore them and I would rescue every horse if I could.
Lupe: I'm sure you've met a lot of interesting characters on your travels and have lots of stories. Has there been anyone that has made a big impact on you and your husband that sticks out in your mind?
Jackie Parry: Thanks Lupe: Just every day people doing extraordinary things.... that is what we really liked about it - we met people of every nationality, the two Cook Island guys that were the care-takers of Suwarrow Island were pretty amazing.
Jackie: It sounds like you will never settle down to another office job! Are there any places you really want to go back to that you visited in Of Foreign Build?
Jackie Parry: I could never - ever go in an office again - ever... oh so many Jackie... Suwarrow was mind-bending - an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you can only get there by boat - no roads..no airport, no shops... but we went there on our second boat - (another story) - On Mariah (Of Foreign Build book) Borneo - it was amazing, we played with the Orangutans!
And the Cook Islands - wow!
Kathy: Any places you would NOT return to?
Jackie Parry: Oooh, Egypt probably- that is a 'once is enough' place -interesting - but not again thanks!
Jackie: Another boat and so another book in the future? Cook Islands as tourists know it?
Jackie Parry: Thanks Jackie - Yes more books in the future... :-) and no, not as the tourists know it - we sailed up on a boat and had to figure out the local shops - checking into countries is very different on a recreational boat, than a plane (or commercial ship) - so we really got to see the real people and how the live... fascinating - and just beautiful, helpful people - all over the world!
Lupe: I'm sure you have tried many different types of cultural cuisine. Is there any that you can remember thinking to yourself "oh my goodness. that was NOT a good idea!" ?
Jackie Parry: Yes, Lupe.... Goat in Egypt! That is not a good idea and a Groper fish with Cicatere (can't spell it) in it - made us very ill! (That was in the Bahamas)
Kathy: What made you decide to write about your experience?
Jackie Parry: Kathy - to start with it just happened. I have loved writing all my life. I kept a diary and started writing articles for magazines about our adventures. So I had a lot of material already.... I worked on it for almost 15 years (on and off) and thought it may help people - I lost Martin my fiance when I was 26 and ran away to Australia. I felt like my life had ended - I wanted it to end.... but then I met Noel (very quickly!) - Noel had had a bit of a hard time too - he had the idea of buying a boat and sailing around the world and it sounded good to me!
Kathy: Sounds like you've had some very interesting life experiences!
LRR_Mandy: Are there ever days that you and Noel wish you didn't live on a boat/barge? That you had a permanent residence on land somewhere?
Jackie Parry: Yes Mandy! Some days it is really tough - we are renovating at the moment (you can see pics on www.jackieparry.com - going to update the renovation pics soon) - the hardest thing though is being away from friends and family and when Noel and I do an adventure we are 'all in' so we have 'started again' many times - new house or boat, new clothes, tools etc....
Jackie: How hard was it to part with your first boat? She must have developed in to more than a floating room by that time?
Jackie Parry: Jackie - yes - we were very attached to Mariah, we loved her - she had taken care of us in some very rough and scary weather... we never thought we'd sell her. But it was time to earn some money and to be honest, we wanted to stop moving for a while - that' didn't last long though, 2 years later we bought another boat and sailed across the Pacific again... we know the owners of Mariah and keep in touch, he sends us pictures of her!
Jackie: I guessed she would become personal. I had wondered what happened to her. Do you still have the next boat?
Jackie Parry: Jackie - no, we sold our second boat two - we spent two years crossing the Pacific (on a more southerly route Pitcairn and Easter Island etc) - it was a tough journey - but then we had to earn money - I had become a commercial skipper by then and a teacher - so I was teaching maritime.... hard work but good money - we saved... then did the horse trekking, then came to France.... exhausting eh?
Glen: On magazine articles during the journey - did you have the contacts before you left? Or did you query along the way?
Jackie Parry: Good question Glen, I didn't have the contacts, I found them along the way. It is very tough (but so is writing a book) - the important thing to do is know the magazine and download their writer's guidelines, and if your work is not published, don't take offence, it is very competitive, you just need patience and to keep trying!
Lupe: When you come back stateside, do you ever have frantic catching up to do with pop culture and major events? Do you isolate yourselves from that while you are gone?
Jackie Parry: Oh yes, Lupe, we are so far behind with everything - we are from a different era - Noel's daughter thinks it is hysterical when I say we watched suchandsuch movie and she says "that has been out 7 years!" - We rarely delve into the news either - it is so depressing - after returning from our sailing adventures, we watched the news and ended up in tears....
Lupe: When you are out sailing, I imagine you must send letters and postcards back home?
Jackie Parry: Lupe, we did, on Mariah it started out as postcards and letters....my mum kept them all and put them on a wall with a big map of the world.... with our route on it - if was fabulous. Now it is internet - but I tried to keep the letter thing going - nothing like a personal letter that you actually physically open!
Jackie: Has it been a role reversal. Noel taught you about sailing and life on the sea. Your next book is about something you said you did. Horses. Did you have to teach Noel?
Jackie Parry: Great question Jackie - absolutely. When I started sailing, I didn't know a thing - I felt so daunted. I was in a strange country, with a new husband, no friends.... and then a nautical word where I couldn't understand what anyone was talking about! Noel knows a little about horses but not as much as me - and it was interesting to see him go through what I did. That said, I really felt all the responsibility of the horse trekking - we rescued five scatty, scared horses that were going to be put down and somehow we turned them into, what I call "war" horses - they were amazing - brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it - sadly Noel and I ourselves weren't as good as the trail riding as the boys - the book will make you laugh - we were pretty hopeless! And as the better rider I wasn't supposed to fall off!
I was going to teach Noel, but he had a natural ability with the horses....
Kathy: You mentioned you are at sea now ... where at?
Jackie Parry: Kathy, We are actually in SW France on the canals. We bought a 1920's Dutch barge 7 months ago - we are currently renovating it. We did part of the French canals on our sailboat Mariah (Of Foreign Build) 14 years ago! and we always thought it would be great to come back - we made it... we miss sailing from time to time, but I don't miss the night-watches!
Glen: How did you handle money? Would you use credit cards? Have money wired to the larger ports?
Jackie Parry: Glen - great question - this is such fun! We used our bank in the UK and in Australia and just withdrew money from cash machines.... we learned that if you are with a big names bank they are usually affiliated with many other banks around the world - so you avoid some charges.... that helped. Also, we always carried a fair bit of American Dollars - everyone accepts American dollars - but you have to keep the 'clean' ones for some countries!
We also bartered at some countries - in the Marquesas, the women went mad over perfume, I had a small bit left in a bottle and they gave us a beautiful wooden bowl in exchange... also pens and pencils for fruit, from kids (I think they nicked the fruit though!)
LRR_Mandy: What are "clean" dollars?
Jackie Parry: Mandy - clean money is basically, flat, smooth money, no tears and no grubby bits - some countries, the officials only want new looking notes!
Lupe: I was looking at your pictures...Those photos are amazing...is photography another area you are going to explore as well? Will we see a book about that?
Jackie Parry: Lupe, thanks for asking that - I have a collection of pictures on FineArt America/UK - either site (I think!) - under my name and/or Noel and Jackie's Journeys (which is also our FB page).... all our pictures aren't up there yet - am working on it - but there are quite a few - if anyone likes any, come through me - I may be able to get you a better deal! My photography improved as writing for magazines, photos are a big part - still learning though!
Thanks for the lovely compliment Lupe on the photography...
Glen: Have to ask- after being at sea a few days, how long would it take to regain your land-legs :-)
Lupe: Or vice versa-How long before you don't feel sea sick!!
Jackie: As the conditions change do you still get seasick. Or does your body adjust enough that no matter what is thrown at you your body is fine? Meaning after you have been at sea for awhile.
Jackie Parry: A few days Glen! It was worse when you got in the shower and closed your eyes, quite often you'd almost fall over. It was a very weird sensation.... Gaining your sea-legs took 3 days - the first three days at sea was always hard.... both Noel and I got sea-sick!
Ha Lupe - answered that one - 3 days pretty much - but if we started to cork-screw (as we did in the Red Sea (horrid, horrid journey)) - then I will always get sick.... great diet!
Jackie, we generally settled down after 3 days and could cope with most things - but if we were in a storm (a few - yikes! ) then it depended on the motion - if we were going with it - it was okay - the boat just went over the following seas - but if we were going into it and the seas got big, the boat could get a horrid cork-screw motion - that would set me off every time - our first off-shore trip - to Fiji - was a failure, we ended up in a huge storm (one other boat was lost) - and had to turn back - I could hardly keep water down - very dangerous - we really confused customs though as we checked out and check back in - they didnt' know what to do with us (that was after 2 weeks at sea in horrid conditions!)
Jackie: That's interesting - I did wonder if seasickness would pass completely.
Jackie Parry: Jackie - Sea-sickness is such a strange thing - my mum gets sick if we sit on a lake... I do think you get used to it though!
Jackie: Any countries you have not visited that you hope to get to?
Jackie Parry: I'd love to get to South Africa one day. We got to Eritrea and that was amazing.... just the most beautiful, kind people who have suffered so much - you must read about the coffee ceremony! I'd like to see the safari animals - I think they are incredible.
LRR_Mandy: Do your children ever join you and Noel on your excursions?
Jackie Parry: Mandy, Noel has two kids - well, grown ups - actually Noel is a gramps - he is 15 years older than me (but fitter than me!) - his kids have been on board a few times- Melanie came out to see us in Tahiti, which was great - girl time ! and no talking about engines for a while! Leon has been on a few times - no major trips though - the boat was small, only 10 metres with two pointy ends (canoe stern) so not much room!
Lupe: Are there any places that you've been to enough times that the locals pretty much know you and your boats??
Jackie Parry: Lupe..... ooooh, I don't think so. Noel and I like moving.... we like new places. On Mariah as we were sailing around the world, they were all new places, on the next boat, we did the Pacific again (bought the boat in San Francisco and sailed back to Australia) and we did a more southerly route .... on the east coast of Australia we went into some same ports - didn't really get to know anyone (except in our home port) - but we were always made welcome - in Australia (well everywhere, especially in Australia as we know the marine police (we were both rescue skippers and worked with the police)). Does that make sense?
Jackie Parry: Lupe - that's good! My mind can wander!
Kathy: What "comfort of home" do you miss the most when you're on the boat?
Jackie Parry: Kathy, when we were on Mariah (which is what the book was about) - a fridge and running hot water - we had neither - had a gas stove so we could cook and boil water - but at sea we had to conserve water, so it was salt water showers, with one cup of fresh to rinse off - very refreshing. Whenever we got out to sea I always wanted a roast chicken and ice-cream and if we had bad weather Noel wanted to hug a tree. I guess a full-on shower too - we always had to be so careful with water - aside from that, we had lots of comforts, lots of book - comfy beds and the whole world as our back room!
Kathy: Sounds great except for the shower part! ;)
Jackie: Do you stay in touch with any of the people you met while at sea?
Jackie Parry: Jackie, oh yes, we do stay in touch with many people and still do. We have friends all over the world, every nation. Some are still sailing some are not, some are no longer with us... when you are out there in the cruising world you have such a short time to get to know people, so you make friends really quickly,,,, sometimes you go to the same next country, sometimes you don't - sometimes they just turn up somewhere where you didn't expect to see them - we have some wonderful friendships - all kindred spirits! Some of them infact, helped us find this boat.... Friends in Holland we sailed with (they were on a smaller boat...) they loaned us their camper van in Europe!
Glen: What's the next adventure?
Jackie Parry: Glen - we are on the next adventure. We bought this boat 6 months ago, We will renovate it and explore next year and do some boat handling-training... the next book and the one after that and learning French - thereafter - hmmmm - we have a bit of land back in Aus and I want to fill it with horses (scares my husband silly!) - I would love to revisit the trekking again... I want to make a success of it second time around and save more horses (did I mention I love horses!) - oh, and we are wondering whether to sail back to Australia, when we make that decision - hoping to find someone who wants a boat delivery done - this old tub wouldn't handle seas!
Glen: I know your mentioned it, but when is the next book coming out?
Jackie Parry: Next book May/June this year..... a bit shorter than Of Foreign Build - the first set of details are on our website www.jackieparry.com - under books - at the moment it is called A Standard Journey - as the horses were Standard breeds - there are some amazing pics of them - the book is incredibly packed with adventures - it will wear you out!
Glen: Will look for it!
Lupe: Well I can't wait to see more pics of the places you go!
Jackie Parry: Thanks Lupe, Mandy, please stay in touch and let me know what you'd like to see more of - always on FB on Noel and Jackie's Journeys and/or Jackie Parry and stop at the website....
LRR_Mandy: Jackie - Thank you so much for joining us today! We will definitely stay in touch. Perhaps we can have another author chat with you when your new book comes out?
Jackie Parry: Thanks Mandy - it was brilliant - I thoroughly enjoyed it and am so thrilled and thankful to everyone that came up - there were some brilliant questions - they all were!
Absolutely Mandy - would love to! Want to get the word out and help rescue more horses! :-)
LRR_Mandy: Well, looks like we've reached the end. Thank you to everyone who joined us today. Safe travels to Jackie and Noel! We look forward to our next chat together. Have a great Sunday everyone!
Kathy: Thanks Jackie!
Lupe: Thanks Jackie!!
Jackie Parry: Thank you - thanks everyone a real pleasure talking to you all! :-) Bye!