A Brief Review of
Sailing Faith: The Long Way Home.
Paperback: [Self-Published] 2009.
Available now from the author.
Reviewed by Jasmine Wilson.
Not many books create a relationship akin to friendship between the reader and author by the end of a book. Sailing Faith, however, did. While reading this travelogue I felt like Gregg Granger and I were simply having a thrilling conversation as he explained to me in a very personable manner how he sailed around the world with his family for over four years on a boat named “Faith”. Granger and his family started in Michigan and sail around the world, visiting hundreds of countries in all areas of the world.
Some of the experiences he relates are jaw-dropping, whether it is swimming in water inhabited by sharks three meters long (twelve feet), or eating bugs, or kissing the place where Jesus was born. Granger and his family did all these things and more in a story that sounds like something right out of a movie. But what makes Granger’s story all the more important is the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) commentary he gives as he relates how his experience shapes how he sees his own country, his openness to people who are different from himself and his humbleness as he recognizes his own status as an outsider, and his steadfast faith and dependency on God through every experience they encounter.
What really struck me about this book is that it was not catering to a sense of tourism that is prized in the United States where all we want is an adventurous thrill. Instead, it dealt with the gritty, unsanitized experiences that most of the world find normal. Granger was openly critical of how tourism, along with many other concocted realities of the United States, is a created reality that in fact obscures the true beauty of the world God created and the true beauty of the people in it.
Granger has a writing style that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Most of the time I was in awe of his humility as he downplayed the wisdom with which it would take to make a trip like this, and the bravery of him and his wife to choose to raise their three children in this sort of environment (one young boy and two teenage girls). Their ability to allow their children to experience the world in this manner without trying to fearfully protect them from the dangers of the world was encouraging, and it leaves me both a little jealous and a little sympathetic to the way those children have been shaped by this experience. They have been able to see the world in a unique and beautiful way, but I cannot possibly imagine the challenges of now being back in a country that does not understand the way in which they see the world.
In the United States, we feel the imagined borders of our land keep us safe and make us the most important people in the world. Granger and his family chose to intentionally live outside of those borders, and outside any borders really, for a number of years meeting people that by their intentionality, were not strangers, but friends. This book, if it is about anything, is about openness to others in order to experience the belonging that comes with communing with others. Whether it is the community of Gregg Granger’s family, or the friendships he develops with all manner of people, this book is a beautiful reminder of how big the world is and how we can be rewarded by friendship when we decide to put our fear aside.