Shannon Leone Fowler, marine biologist, loved backpacking all over the world almost as much as she loved her fiancé, Sean, an Australian who shared her love of travel. In summer of 2002, they were in Thailand, when a box jellyfish, the most venous animal in the world, stung Sean, killing him in minutes as Shannon watched. While the authorities tried to label Sean’s death a “drunk drowning,” two Israeli women helped Shannon wade through the red tape to bring Sean’s body home to Australia, to the family he’d left behind and that she was no longer a part of.
Reeling from Sean’s death, Shannon returned home to America, but could no longer make sense of her world. So, she decided to travel as she searched for healing. Poland, Israel, Bosnia, Romania…all places she’d never been with Sean, but she could not escape his memory. Finally, she ended up in Barcelona, where she first met Sean, and confronted the ocean, which took her love away.
Traveling with Ghosts is an immensely personal memoir, about a harrowing loss and a woman’s struggles to heal. The narrative switches between Shannon’s travels after Sean’s death, the fateful trip to Thailand, and their travels when they first met. Her grief coats every page with a patina of sorrow, as she struggles to find a way to deal with her loss.
(Galley provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.)