Back in 1996, John Berglund had a dream. It took awhile for it fully take shape, but he soon decided that he was going to leave the corporate rat race behind to establish a perfumery on a Caribbean island. A Beach Less Traveled tells the decade-long story of all that it took for him to go from being an attorney in Minnesota to running Tijon, a small company in St. Martin that makes handcrafted custom fragrances.
Overall, his 272-page memoir is interesting, insightful, and inspiring. I really liked it and recommend it. I feel this book is 95% perfect. The one thing that I didn’t like about this book is that I felt there were a few things missing.
For example, he mentions in one chapter that as he and his wife Cyndi were getting ready to make this big, life-changing move, she was diagnosed with cancer. I can’t help but feel that his wife’s battle with cancer must have provided some interesting moments that a reader could relate to. Did they question their decision to make this move? Did they become more nervous about it or did they assume that if Cyndi can beat cancer they can beat anything? Did they react in the same way as a couple? If not, how did they work through it?
Those are, in my opinion, some interesting questions that would have made a great addition to the book. Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer because he didn’t write about them.
He did spend a few pages discussing perfume bottles. That was an interesting segment. Still, I couldn’t help feeling that his wife’s battle with cancer would have been a more interesting read than the perfume bottles.
Again, though, I loved A Beach Less Traveled. Everything that was included was masterfully written. It left me with a strong desire to visit St. Martin just so that I could see the beaches he describes, spend a few days living the life he wrote about, and shop in the couple’s store.
I loved the anecdotes in this book because each one revealed a snippet of what life was like when you follow a dream that might not make sense to others. There was a conversation with the immigration agent who was shocked that someone would go from the United States to St. Martin. There were several tales of what it was like dealing with legal issues surrounding opening a business in a foreign land, which was quite powerful coming from an American lawyer.
What I most love about A Beach Less Traveled is how it leaves the reader with a sense that if one follows a dream, even a dream that everyone else says is crazy, then there is still a decent chance that it will work out in spite of all the challenges that one will encounter along the way. I feel that this is well worth reading just for that.Powered by Sidelines