Gordon England’s writings have been about his life’s outdoor adventures, tales of boating through storms, fishing around the world, and hunting elusive prey, but his new book Searching For One Particular Harbor: Escape to the Bahamas, is about his most daring adventure- becoming an expat and going to work for the Bahamian government. It’s a great story for fans of Florida-lit, tropical adventures, and outdoor writing. And since the title is a play off the Jimmy Buffet song “One Particular Harbor,” Parrothead fans are a given.
Yes, it’s everyone’s dream to quit their job and take a boat to the Bahamas and live in paradise for the rest of their days. But the reality is often a lot different, and England does a great job of telling the story of finding both that harbor of your dreams and the everyday challenges of living in a second world country where poverty and unpredictable weather can be facets of everyday life.
In 2004, Gordon and his wife took off for Nassau, where he got a job as an engineer in the Ministry of Works and Utilities. Though his trip starts off with some fishing, the approach of Hurricane Francis quickly sets the story in high gear, with the first of many memorable events, from gunshots to nepotism in the government, to the peculiarities of Bahamian culture. By the time another hurricane bears down on the Bahamas, in the last few chapters of the book, Gordon’s idyllic paradise has started to wear him down. But despite it all, he keeps the hope alive that that one particular harbor still exists.
England keeps the narrative moving forward, peppering dialogue with enough description and action not to get too bogged down in any section. As in his previous works, Gordon’s descriptions of fishing trips are a real treat. He keeps the prose terse, letting the action of the fight take over the reader’s mind. Searching is a thoroughly entertaining story about the quest for paradise, politics, and the redemptive qualities of a good day out on the water.
You can find Gordon’s book and read more about him at his website.