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Risking Wreckage: A Memoir of Adventuring Out and Settling In by Jan Hogle

Risking Wreckage: A Memoir of Adventuring Out and Settling In

by Jan Hogle

230 pages
Jan's memoir chronicles her life's adventures in nine states and two African countries. Her risky passions involved mountains, oceans, and the chaos of marriage and motherhood, eventually leading to a Virginia forest.

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Category: Memoir
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About the Book
Some adventures are chosen, and some are not. Ironically, Jan’s worst adventure happened when a pickup truck sent her flying to land in the road while walking to work in Wisconsin in 2016. Risking Wreckage is a personal story of venturing out into the world to find a way home. It begins with a brief description of the hit-by-truck experience. That incident jolted Jan during recovery into a final decision about where to end her nomadic existence following retirement.

Her life of moving around began in the 1950s as her family left Ohio for New York after her mother’s hospitalization and electroconvulsive therapy. Her parents’ instabilities and her mother’s mental illness prompted Jan to escape her Florida-based household of origin at 18, seeking adventures in a quest for a satisfying place to settle permanently. Following her intuition worked best as a strategy for eventually finding a “last home”. Escaping her family of origin for college, she continued to seek out new experiences in different locations including at the University of Florida, Jackson Hole, University of Connecticut, California, New Mexico, Niger, Kenya, Virginia, and Wisconsin. A quick summary is: nine states, two foreign countries, 19 cities, and more than 30 dwellings.

Along the way, she climbed mountains on two continents, put her anthropology degrees to use, and survived the hit-by-truck calamity. Jan’s journals, letters, and memories reflect adventures on winter mountains, ocean wreck-diving, the Sahara Desert, and hot-air balloons, plus interactions with charging rhinos, Rwandan gorillas, dehydrated nomads, gun-toting African teenagers, hurricanes, and the chaos of marriage and motherhood. Avoiding wreckage with luck and some skill, and hiking through life’s thrills and challenges, she and her husband eventually settled in a forest.

Writing this memoir helped Jan to understand and explore life's needs and influences that led her to do things that no one in her extended or ancestral family had done. She wanted a life different from the life she’d been raised in. She was good at going to school, so she kept going. Along the way, she found she had skills in research and writing, interviewing, and analyzing information. She collected degrees because she was able to get funding. Then she got jobs, studied other languages, and experienced other cultures.

There were many locations where Jan could have dug in for the duration, built a life, and made commitments to geography and to a social environment, but for some reasons, which emerge in the memoir, she kept the journey going. She wants her descendants to understand who their ancestor was before, during, and after the family of four lived together. Risking Wreckage is about searching for a home by journeying through risky adventures.



About the Author
Jan Hogle Jan Hogle lives in a forest in Virginia after six decades living in nine states and two foreign countries. Prior to retiring, she worked as an applied-research medical anthropologist internationally and domestically.



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