If you love stories of personal growth, goat puns, and adventure, then why haven’t you read Unbound by Steph Jagger yet? Answer: because it just came out this year, so you probably haven’t heard of it yet. Let me just tell you that it’s the next Wild and Eat, Pray, Love. That’s right, people! It’s another story about a woman going on an adventure around the world and she’s gonna learn stuff about herself and emerge a whole new person! And you’re going to love it.
Before I get into my thoughts on the book, let me just say that the book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review by TLC Book Tours. You can get your own copy from HarperCollins here and read more reviews here, here, and here! Below you’ll find a full synopsis of the book and you can learn more about Steph Jagger.
Ok, now that we’ve got some of that business out of the way. Let’s talk adventure!
I have some serious travel lust and Unbound does not help that. Steph traveled all around the world, chasing winter, mountains, and discovering more than she expected about herself. I went to the Netherlands once and discovered that I am capable of napping in the Van Gogh Museum when I’ve been awake for a day and a half. Not the same thing.
Steph is funny and insightful, which is what you should be if you’re writing a book about how you became your best self. You might think that for someone to ski 4 million vertical miles in a year, they’d have to be really tough. And you’d be right, but not in the way you’d expect. Steph talks about how she always tried to be like her dad and avoided being too feminine. But in the end, it was her feminine strength that let her keep going through her insane journey.
Full disclosure: I grew up in flat Illinois and I’ve never been skiing. But I can imagine that skiing 4 million vertical feet in a year is a really difficult thing to do. But add onto that the stress of traveling to unfamiliar places, the unpredictability of weather, and just the sheer physicality of it all, and you are faced with a literal mountain of difficulty (pun intended). Steph started out looking to prove something and add another medal, another accomplishment, to her box of blue ribbons. In the end, her trip ended up forcing her to face herself and all of the parts from which she’d been hiding.
But what I didn’t know at the time was that becoming one’s best and being one’s bravest involves cracking open.”
– Steph Jagger, Unbound
You’re never going to find out who you really are if you stay with your herd and keep your head down. Look up. See the world and all it has to offer. You don’t necessarily have to ski 4 million vertical feet in a year (especially if you’re like me and you’ve never skied before in your life). But if you feel like something isn’t quite clicking in your life, make a change before it’s too late.
TL;DR: Graduation season is coming up. Give this book to new grads to encourage them to travel, experience adventure, and to love life. 10/10 would recommend and re-read.
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (January 24, 2017)
A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir, full of heart and courage, that speaks to the adventurousness in all of us.
Steph Jagger had always been a force of nature. Dissatisfied with the passive, limited roles she saw for women growing up, she emulated the men in her life—chasing success, climbing the corporate ladder, ticking the boxes, playing by the rules of a masculine ideal. She was accomplished. She was living “The Dream.” But it wasn’t her dream.
Then the universe caught her attention with a sign: Raise Restraining Device. Steph had seen this ski lift sign on countless occasions in the past, but the familiar words suddenly became a personal call to shake off the life she had built in a search for something different, something more.
Steph soon decided to walk away from the success and security she had worked long and hard to obtain. She quit her job, took a second mortgage on her house, sold everything except her ski equipment and her laptop, and bought a bundle of plane tickets. For the next year, she followed winter across North and South America, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand—and up and down the mountains of nine countries—on a mission to ski four million vertical feet in a year.
What hiking was for Cheryl Strayed, skiing became for Steph: a crucible in which to crack open her life and get to the very center of herself. But she would have to break herself down—first physically, then emotionally—before she could start to rebuild. And it was through this journey that she came to understand how to be a woman, how to love, and how to live authentically.
Electrifying, heartfelt, and full of humor, Unbound is Steph’s story—an odyssey of courage and self-discovery that, like Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, will inspire readers to remove their own restraining devices and pursue the life they are meant to lead.
About Steph Jagger
Steph Jagger splits her time between Southern California and British Columbia where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She holds a CEC (certified Executive Coach) degree from Royal Roads University and she believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber.