Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Eye Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (14 Feb. 2014)

ISBN-13: 978-1903070826

Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm

The Good Life

Dorian Amos

£7.99

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

Dorian Amos – a painter from Cornwall and his wife decided that they were in need of adventure. Having searched their world atlas they decided to sell up and move to Canada in search of a new and better life.

Having bought Pricey the car, Boris Lock their faithful dog, a canoe and their fishing equipment they set off into the Yukon Wilderness to find a place they could call home.

After months of camping alone in the great outdoors where they encountered bears and madmen, they eventually arrived at Dawson City, home to one of the great gold rushes of the 20th century. It was here that they found a run-down log cabin in the mountains nearby and began a new and fascinating life. A life they had always known they wanted.

Extracts

More than anything, this experience was giving me a perspective on life. Nothing made me more aware of this than thinking of Pete, a friend of ours. The trees, the smell, the sense of realness, the adventure, the call of the ducks, the splash of the grayling and the love Bridget and I felt for everything, are all something he would never feel. He never allowed himself to. He had busied himself trying to be successful and to fit into society. But he failed – and so hung himself from the rafters of his home.

Nobody found him until the paper lady enquired about her bill. He was a happy go lucky chap, always ready for a debate and had a smile to brighten any room. He was intellectual and knowledgeable, and it really angers me to think he would dare do such a thing. He had money troubles that wouldn’t go away, which is apparently why he escaped. I really hope that is not true. Money troubles are the worst reason to kill yourself. Life is not a free meal, and should not be thrown away when you’ve had enough or it’s cold and a bit tough. It’s worth fighting for and it can be whatever you want. That’s the amazing thing. It can be whatever you want. I feel so sad about Pete. With a little help, and a lot of fight, he could have got out of his troubles and be lying here smelling the pines just like I was.

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Extracts

More than anything, this experience was giving me a perspective on life. Nothing made me more aware of this than thinking of Pete, a friend of ours. The trees, the smell, the sense of realness, the adventure, the call of the ducks, the splash of the grayling and the love Bridget and I felt for everything, are all something he would never feel. He never allowed himself to. He had busied himself trying to be successful and to fit into society. But he failed – and so hung himself from the rafters of his home.

Nobody found him until the paper lady enquired about her bill. He was a happy go lucky chap, always ready for a debate and had a smile to brighten any room. He was intellectual and knowledgeable, and it really angers me to think he would dare do such a thing. He had money troubles that wouldn’t go away, which is apparently why he escaped. I really hope that is not true. Money troubles are the worst reason to kill yourself. Life is not a free meal, and should not be thrown away when you’ve had enough or it’s cold and a bit tough. It’s worth fighting for and it can be whatever you want. That’s the amazing thing. It can be whatever you want. I feel so sad about Pete. With a little help, and a lot of fight, he could have got out of his troubles and be lying here smelling the pines just like I was.

Unfortunately, a post-mortem revealed [the bear] had no one’s buttocks in its belly. The girl survived but with serious injuries. She was on holiday from university, where she was on a basketball scholarship. Dawson, a town of 2,000 people, raised $20,000 in two nights to help pay for her medical expenses. What a town! The place is incredible. It is full of people that look as if they should be selling The Big Issue outside WH Smiths, but instead they break trail, shoot grizzlies, chew tobacco, dig for gold, shit in the woods and that’s only on Tuesdays. One couple, only two winters ago, went into the Tombstone Mountains on a dog sled. They got lost and only made it back several months later, having survived by eating their dogs and walking out.

“Go on, shoot,” whispered Brent as I lay in the snow with the cross hairs of the scope on the chest of the young bull. I didn’t want to tell him that I had trouble putting a worm on a fishing hook, never mind killing such a perfect creature.

I took a deep breath and focused in on the bull once more. Adrenaline was shaking my body as I tried desperately to steady the rifle for the shot. I squeezed the trigger and for a split second everything around me went silent and dark…

…I sank to my knees and took a deep breath as I stared at the poor creatures we had destroyed. The sun was setting in a purple haze framed by tall white mountains on the horizon, but next to me lay death. I didn’t feel proud of myself and fought off guilt as we dragged the carcasses together. I was relieved it was over though, and the thought that we wouldn’t waste their lives calmed me. In front of me was at least six months’ worth of good wholesome meat and three skins that could be made into winter clothes.

quotes

“…it is their utter determination to break with convention and strike out in search of their dream that warms me.” Ray Mears

“The very fact of having gone through with such a crazy adventure is enough reason to want to read this book”

“It is nice to see determination triumph over proper technical knowledge!”

“A must for anyone thinking of doing the same - Hey, make no mistake it can be done!”

“One of the best travel books I have ever read.”

reviews

Boldness, magic, genius

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." The words of JW Goethe might well have been ringing in the ears of

There are certain landscapes where it is difficult to take a bad photograph. By the same principle, a book

This book is highly recommended both to anyone who might be toying with a similar

Superb first-hand account of a new life in the Yukon

Dorian and Bridget suddenly decide that life in Cornwall, UK is just too boring and mundane for them. They want to get out there and live a different life, not based on wages, taxes, mortgages, bills, insurance and the rest. Together they decide on Canada, and before they can wait any longer they are off there.The Good Life tells the story from the moment they feel uneasy in the UK, through travelling around Canada, until they realise that the Yukon was exactly what they were looking for. Then starting their new life up there, with all the adjustments to a completely different lifestyle (hunting for food and collecting wood) in a different environment (fast flowing rivers in summer, and continuous below zero Celsius freezing in winter).There is a lot I liked about this book. I liked the first-hand account Dorian has written from only a few years ago (1999-2001), rather than someone else summarising it. His many descriptions carry the details of someone who was there experiencing these events, and the emotions he felt along the way.I liked that it was about fairly ordinary people from England moving to the north of Canada. Okay, maybe not ordinary to want to do such a move in the first place. But they both had jobs and paid their taxes and bills like the rest of us. They were not hunting, fishing, outdoors types (yet). So what they experienced is what most of us would experience if we tried it.I liked their attitude. This was clearly a monumental change in their life, but they felt so strongly about it that they just got on with it. Doubt never seemed to enter their mind. The Yukon felt right, and they went and stayed there

Inspirational

I found this book a wonderful read. It is such a good yarn. It is nice to see determination triumph over proper technical knowledge! I like the whole concept of this book and I am sure that it will appeal to a wide audience. I am sure that most of us would like to walk away from our jobs and just canoe off in to the sunset. However, very few people would be brave enough to do it. I recommend this for either total escapism or a manual on starting a new life.

Excellent

Great book, well worth a read, this couple got rid of the cobwebs that hold the rest of us back and went and done it. Truly inspiring, no holds barred, story of the many failings and hard times before they finally conquered their fears and built a life in the Yukon, practically from scratch. A must for anyone thinking of doing the same - Hey, make no mistake it can be done! One of the best travel books I have ever read.

extras

ABOUT

Dorian Amos

Dorian was born in Cambridge in 1967. He left home at sixteen and worked as a Gamekeeper in all parts of the UK. In 1987 he met his wife Bridget on Exmoor and they married in 1992 after he had complete a 3 year course in wildlife conservation at Sparsholt Agricultural college. It was during the long lectures associated with full time education that Dorian’s ability to draw cartoons was discovered.

In 1995 Dorian decided to capitalise on his talent and set up a cartooning business called Amosart, in Polperro, Cornwall. The business was successful and in no time at all ‘life became far too easy’ so, in 1998 and on a whim, Bridget and Dorian decided to immigrate to the Canadian wilderness for a bit of adventure. They now live with their 2-year-old son, Jack Julian and trusty dog Boris, in a cabin in the forest outside Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

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