Adventuring Author: The story of a sea cook

Adventure is both a noun and verb.

I like the verb version best. “I’m going adventuring,” not “I’m going on an adventure,” although both are perfectly acceptable.

Inside my chest is a tiny adventure gremlin. It spends about six months to a year growing and sharpening its little claws before it starts scratching. It starts a little itch that grows and grows and practically explodes until I embark on an adventure. Once the adventure ends, the gremlin rests for another six months…

Next week, I am going adventuring.

Where shall I be? Why, at sea, of course! I shall be the sea cook aboard the A’ la carte–a 44 foot sailboat. The four-person crew and I (I guess that makes it a five-person crew) are traveling from Charleston, South Carolina to the Bahamas.

Now is the time for you to close your eyes and envision Finding NemoPirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, Horatio Hornblower, and everything else sailoresque only with my face on the cover. For this can be nothing short of epic.

I’ll be embarking upon this escapade on November 3rd with:

  • My husband (title: the deck cadet)
  • My younger sister (title: sea cook #1 who actually knows how to cook)
  • My sister’s boyfriend (title: the galley slave!–ahem, I mean the shipmate)
  • My father (title: Captain AARGH)–the owner of the ship and the human encyclopedia of all things nautical.

That’s our crew: three men and two women (aka. three sets of rope-pulling, sail-hoisting, anchor-dropping muscles and two cooks in bikinis.) It’s approximately a 7-day sail to the Bahamas and here is our course:


Once we arrive at the Bahamas, we hope to sail around the islands for five days, scuba dive once or twice, and gain some permanent sea legs. Our course doesn’t look that lavish in the above picture, but if you think about every one of those tiny charted lines equaling 12 hours of sailing, it helps put it in perspective. Yes, we’ll be sailing around the clock and even the sea cooks are part of the night shift. [grin]

So, why am I going on this adventure? Well, because I’ve been invited and it sounds amazing. Yes, I’m a little intimidated by the thought of being cramped on a tiny 44-foot ship with four other people in the middle of the sea night and day, without a clue how to get us to land. I’m also frightened of going through a storm. Of getting sea sick. Of falling over board. Of the captain falling overboard. Just every day fears, you know. 😉

Why am I writing this on my author blog? Well, I could say this adventure has nothing to do with writing, but life experiences and adventuring have everything to do with writing! It’s probably a little out of character for an author blog, true, but let me explain why I want to post about it:

  1. I want to live out my book’s message. My debut novel, A Time to Die, is about a girl trying to discover what it means to pursue an active life. It’s not just a story I’ve written, it’s a life I try to live–choosing to take the opportunities presented, even if they interrupt a busy work-life. I value this active side of living much more than my to-do list. I want to live out this message in my book.
  2. Adventuring creates stories. Stories I can use in my future novels, stories I can write about for you to use in your future novels, stories to inspire others in their future novels. Or stories that don’t have to be in novels at all–they can just be memories! My life is my greatest story. I’m a storyteller and writing is what I’m called to do. I can’t just limit it to fiction.
  3. It’s important to share our adventures with others. Often times, watching others live active lives inspires us to do the same. Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, completely changed how I live my life (I highly recommend it!) Love Does is just a book of stories that come from his life of active (and adventurous!) living. They’re inspiring. They changed me. So I want to share my stories. 🙂 Now, I’m not saying an active life means you have to sail the Atlantic every other month. Living actively is a state of mind. Mine just happens to include (by God’s grace) adventuring.
  4. God is all about story. I won’t even try to sum up every moment Jesus says, “Go tell what God has done” or “Remember what you’ve seen” to someone He’s interacted with. The entire Bible is the story of God pursuing His people! Way back in summer camp, I told God to take the pen from me and write my story. Everything I share is a testament of His interaction in my life.


I can’t begin to plan out what I’ll encounter or what I’ll write about during these next two weeks, but my hope is to have at least two stories to share. Ideally, I would share these the next two Wednesdays, as is my blogging schedule, but I have no idea when or if we’ll have internet aboard the A’ la carte. If we do have internet access (it’s a crew of four iPhones, anything is possible!) I have an inkling I’ll be wanting to share more than two stories. We’ll see what the wordsmith inside me does.

Until then, I would love to hear about some of your adventuring or adventuring you hope/plan to do in the future. So…tell me a story in the comments below!



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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Yes!! LOVE! So excited for you! I could be jealous, but I’m living my own adventure, every day! He’s come to give us life and more abundantly! I would love to sail on a replica of a 1600’s ship. To travel the world…I’ve been to Peru twice, loved it. Don’t have any grand stories, except maybe the time I almost hanged (hung???) myself or when the homemade go-kart caught fire. 😀 I shared them on my old blog, time to move them over to my new one. Have fun!

    And now I know whose brain to pick when I start my next project. 😉

    • Thank you! And yes, every day is most certainly an adventure. Your go-kart story sounds like quite the escapade! Look forward to seeing the story/stories on your new blog if you repost them.
      Peru sounds amazing. I’ve never been to South America, but hope to visit someday!

  2. Great blog. My wife and I have a handful of adventures/goals on our list. My favorite is that I want to see my wife (a huge animal lover) pet a lion. Cubs count.

    Enjoy your trip!

    • Nadine Brandes

      Thank you, Clint! I love that you and your wife have an adventure/goals list. My husband and I do the same and it really keeps our mindset more adventure focused. 🙂 That would be awesome for your wife to pet a lion! Take a picture when it happens. 😀

  3. I live in Haiti 🙂 It blows my mind every time I say that. Thank you for reminding me why we should be living adventuring stories.

  4. My hubby is chuckling over your adventuring, remembering a small girl curled up in the back of a plane reading when everyone else was oohing and ahhing over the Alaska scenery. ENJOY, sweet girl!!!

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  8. Well, I HAD to click your link from your other article about Looking Back…wow! What a fabulous adventure! Way to live big. Sounds amazing. I LOVE the sea (and live, basically, landlocked in Texas. Yes, sadness.).

I love hearing from you!