Billionaire Jet Setters vs A New Life in the Wilderness – chalk and cheese book reviews.
Warning – there might be the a mild spoiler here and there – forgive me. ⚠️
Book 1 Above and Beyond: Secrets of a Private Flight Attendant by Saskia Swann & Nicola Stow.
True, fly on the wall memoir.
With working class roots, born and raised in Tottenham London, and currently living in a shared flat above a pound shop in Wood Green, Saskia’s life changes drastically following a chance meeting with a stranger in a bar.
The sort of thing that can go horribly wrong, but it seemed to be working out for Saskia. Well she didn’t get trafficked off to goodness knows where, thankfully. All above board then….? 🤔
Unemployed and up to her eyes in debt one minute, then she’s off packing her new designer suitcases and getting kitted out by a personal shopper in Harrods for ‘uniforms’ and that was just the start of her new job. No need to worry about travelling light where she’s going!
Hmmm, the glamorous life of a private flight attendant, can’t be bad, surely?
But, as you can probably well imagine, as per the book title, it soon emerged that the requirements of the job had a tendency to go above and beyond the call of duty. Well – depending on what the boss deemed to be a duty!! Need I say more.
Saskia puts a magnifying glass on the (secret) lives of her billionaire bosses, their lavish tastes, frivolous spending and their ‘the world’s a playground’ approach to day to day living.
Saskia made some choices that will no doubt provoke strong moral reactions in some readers – highlighting how easily people can be compromised by money and desired lifestyle, though I sensed a change in her toward end of the book.
Even though I’ll probably pop this one in the charity box – I think Saskia should do a follow up book, as this one ends with Saskia still working as a private flight attendant in her forties – seemingly happy to continue doing so.
But have things evolved, has she had enough, or is a life in the clouds and exotic places still where she still wants to be? ✈️
One for the beach maybe! It’s an easy read with blunt, no holds barred insights – both on the jets and off. Although not the norm per se, Saskia points out that the shenanigans (good, bad and ugly) she witnessed and experienced are pretty common place for many in her line of work.
Funnily, the day I finished reading this I remember someone telling me about how lots of cabin crew in the UK have ended up working for a very well known UK supermarket chain – due to the way the travel industry has been affected of late.
Wonder whether they’ll ever get back in the air? Scanning cornflakes hardly compares! 🛒
Book 2 Impossible Beyond This Point: True Adventure Creating A Self Sufficient Life in the Wilderness!! By Virgil, Marcella and Joel Horn
I gave up on this one before I finished reading it and literally found myself feeling it was impossible for me to continue reading beyond this point – at one point. 😔
This one had been on one of my book lists for a few years. During my last book binge I decided to buy it, especially as I haven’t really read about this kind of ‘off the grid’ true life experience before. Intriguing.
So all the more disappointing to feel like this about it mid-read.
Don’t get me wrong, the theme of the book still interests me and I’d certainly be open to reading about another ‘off to the wilderness, goodbye rat race’ type memoir – just not this one.
I noticed another review hinting at the same thing I thought – that the flow of the book seemed off, drifting and aimless. In the end I think it read more like the script for a film or play than a flowing book. Something to watch and listen to rather than just read. I wonder if there’s an adaptation….? 🎬
It got off to an intriguing start, a beginning, characters with a plan. The story took off nicely, then it just seemed to drift.
No specific storylines after that – and maybe that’s what it intended to do – drift along just like the characters did, taking the reader along with them. It just lost my interest quite quickly, unfortunately.
Anyway – maybe you’ll think differently – it’s rare for me not to finish a book once I start it but this one will end up going in the charity box.
In a Nutshell
Again, it’s not a work of fiction, this is the true re-telling of husband and wife duo Virgil and Marcey going off on their own life changing adventure with their three sons.
Long story short – the family decide the American dream is farce and that true freedom comes from not needing the state/government for anything.
They pretty much kiss goodbye their tick box suburban Californian life and head into the mountainous wilderness to live organically, and more in tune with nature. 🌳 🏞
Virgil and Marcey want their sons to grow up feeling truly free, with no fears.
On the day of the move “Friends and relatives began showing up to help them, to worry for them and to worry for them..…’How are you going to make a living?’ one asked. ‘Where will the boys go to school?’ inquired another. ‘How ’bout wild animals? chimed a third. ‘What if you get sick?’ fretted a fourth.”
With vehicles loaded – off they went.
So!! Billionaire Jet Setters vs A New Life in the Wilderness.
I think you’ll agree, these two books couldn’t be any further apart – worlds apart, extreme opposite lifestyles under the microscope and each with its own intrigue, a fix for the curious. 🧐