Instead captures Maria Coffey’s adventurous life through her biggest decisions along the way, including the decision not to have children. It’s a vivid travelogue, a love story, and a personal commentary on the risks and rewards of choosing unconventional paths.
After two traumatic experiences during her twenties – a near-drowning in Morocco and her boyfriend’s death on Mount Everest – Maria determines to seize every day and explore the world. Mixed with her desire for freedom is a new fear of loss, which convinces her against parenthood. She falls in love with Dag, who shares her dreams, and they begin creating a life of adventure. There is one snag: he wants children and thinks they could include them in their wild exploits.
Instead follows Maria’s trajectory as she shares her guilt-ridden relationship with her Irish Catholic mother; her baby debates with Dag in unlikely situations, like kayaking through a storm; the doubts that rear up in remote cultures where her childfree choice is unfathomable; and how children eventually – and surprisingly – come into her life.
An adventure story with a unique twist, Instead tackles the universal themes of choice and consequence, agency versus fate. It is a must read for anyone curious about stepping off the beaten track, and a testament to the power of being open to the unexpected.