Hi friends :)
A few months ago, I received a couple messages asking why I wasn’t promoting my new book more. The most honest thing I can say: I was scared to promote something that wasn’t done yet. Some of you had found it online, but the book itself wasn’t done going through its rounds of copyediting, proofing, etc. And at every stage of this process, I thought, “I won’t believe it until I see it.” Now, I see it. It’s a real thing that will be in our hands in just TWO months! Today, I am finally ready to introduce you to: ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT.
I first came up with the idea for this book while hiking the mountain in my backyard. It was one of those hikes where every step up was more of a mental challenge than a physical one; where I had to talk myself into carrying on, rather than giving up and turning around before reaching the summit. It wasn’t just a voice inside my head. I was saying the words out loud. “Keep going, Cait. You’ll be glad you did.” And then I thought, I bet people don’t know that this is what most hikes feel like for me.
Despite what you might think when you look at my Instagram account, I am not a confident hiker. I don’t always trust that my body is capable of doing what I want it to. And for most of my life, I was afraid of taking a wrong step, and risking slipping or falling down. It’s not that I was afraid of hurting myself. I was afraid of failing. And I was especially afraid of daring to stand out, and letting anyone see me take a risk and fail.
That same fear is one that has crept in, every single time I’ve thought about changing paths in life. Before doing something big, like quitting drinking or giving up my home to travel. But also before making some of the seemingly smaller lifestyle changes, like becoming a vegetarian or doing that shopping ban we’ve talked about a few times before. ;)
When you decide to step off the path you’re on and go down a different one, it’s scary. It’s especially scary when you don’t have anyone in your life who has made the same choice as you. Who has somehow quieted the messaging they’ve received since they were a child. Who has walked away from what is expected of them or what they think they should do. Who has actively chosen to brush up against the situations you will face when you decide to hike your own hike in life, so to speak. And who can tell you if it will “work” or not.
What I have noticed in the months and years since publishing my first book is that this is a conversation that’s missing from the minimalism/intentional/simple living space—and really most of the self-help books I see and read. We are so quick to share overly simplified statements about how “letting go” or following a few steps will magically make everything better. But in that process, we send you off with no warning of the kinds of tougher situations you might find yourself in when you’re out there on your own, or how to work through them.
That’s why I wrote this book. We need to have more conversations about what really happens when you decide to do something different than everyone around you.
I’ve gone through this process a few times, as you know. But it wasn’t until I quit drinking that I started hiking more regularly. Using my two feet (and occasionally my hands for help) to walk off the main roads and out into nature. And what I have come to learn over the years is that 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. What’s often missing from the beautiful images, and the conversation about both opting out and hiking, is the truth about how hard it is.
To opt out is to step off the path you’re on and start doing what feels right for you. To do it, you have to embrace the fact that it will be an adventure, filled with risks and uncertainty, but also rewards and lessons that could potentially change your life in ways you have never imagined. It will be hard. You might make mistakes. You could even lose friends along the way. This is not an easy journey to go on. Personally, the only reason I keep lacing up and doing both is because I know I will never regret trying. You won’t just be rewarded with a view. You will return feeling a little bit more like yourself.
ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT isn’t another memoir or a self-help book filled with steps that take you down one particular path. It’s a field guide filled with stories (mine + stories shared by some of my friends) about how to lead an intentional life. I wanted it to feel like a conversation between two people: you and me. And while it’s not a traditional choose-your-own-adventure book, it will help you choose your own adventure. I hope this book leaves you more equipped for your own journey and that you pick it up whenever you feel alone out there. :)
HOW PRE-ORDERS HELP AUTHORS
This book only exists because a handful of people could envision what I wanted to create. In a way, its undertaking was an opt-out of its own. I proposed to write a book in a style I hadn’t seen before and couldn’t provide any clear examples of what to compare it to. Few people understood the idea, let alone trusted that it would sell. But Little, Brown Spark could see the path I was already on, and offered to help me carve out the next section of it. That’s how we got here, and I am so grateful.
When my editor sent back notes on the first draft of this book, she said: “It was such a pleasure to read and edit ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT. It’s meditative and thoughtful, yet also lively and engaging. I love that you try to meet readers wherever they are in their opting out journey and also don’t sugarcoat the rough spots they are likely to encounter.” My friend Alanna witnessed me reading this email for the first time, with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. This is exactly what I wanted to create for us.
ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT will be released in North America* on September 15th. Yes, THIS YEAR! And in this pandemic. Which has been about as confusing to navigate, as you can imagine!
If you’re as excited about it as I am, I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering a copy of ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT. Pre-orders help bookstores decide whether or not to carry your book, and help publishers calculate how many copies to print. It’s also a vote with your dollars, and a way to signal that you believe in an author—which helps them write more books in the future. There’s no “one right way” to pre-order. Through your local bookstores, online retailers, etc. It all counts. Here a few links that might be helpful:
*Note: We are still waiting to hear from publishers in the UK and Australia, so I will send you more information + release dates as soon as I have it!
That’s all for now, friend. Thank you for being so patient while I worked on this. That is one of my favourite qualities in a friendship: trusting that you might spend some time apart, but you will always come back to each other when the time is right.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I can’t wait to chat more soon. Until then—
Be kind and be safe,