At forty, Mary South seemed to have it all: a beautiful home in Pennsylvania, a group of close friends, the companionship of two loving Jack Russell terriers and a successful career in book publishing. But shuttling between the conference room at work and her couch in front of the TV at home, South couldn't help feeling that she was missing something intangible but essential. So she decided to go looking for it where so many have before: at sea.
Six months later, she had quit her job, sold the house, graduated seamanship school and was living aboard a 40-foot, 30-ton steel trawler. Despite South's total lack of experience, the maiden voyage of the rechristened Bossanova was to be a journey up the eastern seaboard. Along with her crew (the dogs and her buddy John—her odd-couple opposite in politics, lifestyle and pretty much everything except a love of the open ocean), she set off on a fifteen-hundred mile odyssey from Florida to Maine. But what began as the fulfillment of an idle wish became a crash course in navigating the byways of the self.
The Cure for Anything Is Salt Water traces South's voyage from the charming Americana of Florida's Intracoastal Waterway out into the often stormy waters of the Atlantic. As the trip progresses, South grapples not only with whatever Poseidon throws her way, but also with the ghosts of family and loves lost. For anyone with a secret dream that's gone unfulfilled, here is a reckoning—both funny and poignant—of what's really involved in casting off an old life and making a new one.