Pamela Morgan’s Memoir of Self Discovery
By Julie Horner
“Once seated in the prop-plane, I realized the wing propellers were my only view outside the window,” writes Pamela Morgan in her new memoir/travelog, Island Dreams: A Solo Journey. “It was a smooth takeoff and a not-too-nerve-racking 15-minute flight, but then I noticed the landing strip below was gravel and grass. I squinted as we neared the ground, and as we rolled to a bumpy stop, I finally exhaled. All passengers were greeted by a smiling Fijian man who chauffeured us in a pull-tractor to the lobby.”
Morgan’s book, released in December 2021, intimately chronicles her solo journey visiting eleven Pacific islands, from New Zealand to the Cook Islands. She describes a ‘National Geographic’ experience in an isolated village in Fiji; and details what it was like climbing to Conical Peak in New Zealand; floating in warm, crystal clear waters during a tropical downpour; and zipping around by scooter in Rarotonga where white sand beaches can extend more than three hundred feet to the outer reef, “then steeply slide into the deep, deep blue.”
The unaccompanied three-month excursion would profoundly affect her sense of confidence and authenticity, helping her let go of insecurities and limiting beliefs. “I wanted to share and inspire others to take a solo journey — anywhere — but preferably out of the comfort of the USA” Morgan said. “By getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing a new place, you gain a more accurate and objective view of the world as well as yourself.”
During exhilarating dives among the coral reefs, she swam with Parrotfish and blue and yellow striped Clown Loaches, and jet-black Angelfish “that made me almost howl under water!” Morgan was on her own to explore: an old church, a nearby graveyard, or a footpath into the jungle. “It may seem lonely sometimes but when you’re with a group or partner it can limit the serendipitous moments of surprise.” To the solo traveler, the world opens to unexpected opportunities.
The Ben Lomond resident and avid outdoor enthusiast is generous about sharing photos of her adventures from all over the world on social media but realized when she discovered old journal entries from the solo trip some years ago that few had heard about the entire experience. “I had shared glimpses and segments of my adventures, but it became important to tell the whole story,” she said. As a Paralegal and Legal Document Assistant, Morgan has written legal pleadings and summaries for decades and has submitted short stories to a variety of local publications but seldom allowed herself to be fully creative with her writing. She found her artistic voice with True Tales, a monthly writing group based in Scotts Valley, and the story jumped to life.
“Another blissful scooter ride home that night…something about the slowness, the warm darkness, and the feeling of pure joy and freedom…my senses were heightened by the darkness; the breeze on my bare skin and the smell of the perfumed tropical air contributed to my peace.”
Escape during these dark dreary months of Winter and depart to the South Seas! Pamela Morgan hosts a public reading from Islands Dreams: A Solo Journey on Sunday, January 9 at 2:00 pm at the Felton Public Library on Gushee Street. The book is available at Bookshop Santa Cruz and online: riversanctuarypublishing.com
Writer Pamela Morgan with her new book Island Dreams: A Solo Journey
Photos contributed by Pamela Morgan