Fear Won’t Find Me Here — A Memoir
About the Book
Chasing Africa delicately explores the loss of identity, the gift of health and adventure, and the courage to put oneself first despite guilt, fear, and the pull of family.
As a teenager, Lisa couldn’t wait to escape suburbia and travel the world. Years later, as a healthy young climber, she was confronted with the depressing realities of her dad’s and her brother’s neurological diseases: Parkinson’s and progressive multiple sclerosis. In 1996, after watching her dad’s and brother’s bodies fail for five years, she was determined to push fear, worry, and guilt aside to reclaim her adventurous identity the only way she knew how: travel to Africa on her own.
Without Google Maps or the internet, Lisa relied on herself, fellow adventurers, and the kindness of locals while navigating unknown territory. She ascended the magical dunes of Namibia in sole-sizzling heat, paddled the Zambezi River among crocs and hippos, went hiking alone in the Chimanimani mountains, and attended a witchcraft healing ceremony on the remote island of Likoma. Lisa’s unpredictable adventures and serendipitous setbacks taught her that wonderful things happen when she lets go of guilt and fear. Despite her solitary nature, Lisa discovered that being brave doesn’t mean she has to do it alone. For over two decades, these lessons stayed with her as she grappled with her dad’s and her brother’s lengthy illnesses and witnessed the toll it took on her mom as their caregiver.
“Lisa Duncan’s memoir Chasing Africa is as expansive as Africa itself. She dreamt of this trip, longed for these travels. And yet, in the years leading up to her departure, her father and brother fall ill with neurological diseases and her mother becomes a full time caregiver. As Lisa decides between following her dream or staying home, the reader feels her strength and cheers for her as she makes the decision to go. Through her beautifully rendered and interlaced descriptions, readers will experience the landscape and place that is Africa, and come to understand both Lisa’s curiosity about and fascination with this place, and the strength of character she possesses that drives her forward.” —Stella Harvey, author of the novels Nicolai’s Daughters, The Brink of Freedom, and Finding Callidora; founder of the Whistler Writers Festival
“Chasing Africa is a beautifully constructed memoir that puts life into perspective. Skilfully interwoven with Lisa Duncan’s story of her once-in-a-lifetime African odyssey are candid personal accounts of her home life. The frank vulnerability in this writing is inspiringly thought-provoking and aligns with the subtitle of the book, “Fear Won’t Find Me Here.” —Angela deJong, author of Be Free and co-author of Polepole: A Training Guide for Kilimanjaro and Other Long-Distance Mountain Treks