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Follow the Joy: A Memoir

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At 27, I bought a one-way ticket to India. I had no idea what I'd do when I landed, but in the past my most rewarding experiences came when I let intuition be my guide. So, I traveled without an itinerary and found myself searching for an elusive monkey temple, teaching Tibetan monks to sing, "You Are My Sunshine," and holding the hand of a dying man at the Mother Theresa At 27, I bought a one-way ticket to India. I had no idea what I'd do when I landed, but in the past my most rewarding experiences came when I let intuition be my guide. So, I traveled without an itinerary and found myself searching for an elusive monkey temple, teaching Tibetan monks to sing, "You Are My Sunshine," and holding the hand of a dying man at the Mother Theresa Homes for the Destitute and Dying. Throughout, I followed an inner sense of joy. I could not be sure it would lead me to the happy life I dreamt of, but it was the only choice I had.


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At 27, I bought a one-way ticket to India. I had no idea what I'd do when I landed, but in the past my most rewarding experiences came when I let intuition be my guide. So, I traveled without an itinerary and found myself searching for an elusive monkey temple, teaching Tibetan monks to sing, "You Are My Sunshine," and holding the hand of a dying man at the Mother Theresa At 27, I bought a one-way ticket to India. I had no idea what I'd do when I landed, but in the past my most rewarding experiences came when I let intuition be my guide. So, I traveled without an itinerary and found myself searching for an elusive monkey temple, teaching Tibetan monks to sing, "You Are My Sunshine," and holding the hand of a dying man at the Mother Theresa Homes for the Destitute and Dying. Throughout, I followed an inner sense of joy. I could not be sure it would lead me to the happy life I dreamt of, but it was the only choice I had.

54 review for Follow the Joy: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alisa Bowman

    I interviewed the author, Jason Kurtz, for an article for Spirituality & Health magazine and, during the course of the interview, he shared two stories from his self-published memoir. I'm usually wary of self-published books. They haven't been vetted by an agent or a big house. But every once in a while, there's a gem, one that big publishers should have noticed. After the interview I could not stop thinking about what Jason had told me. His stories were powerful and moving. Could his book be su I interviewed the author, Jason Kurtz, for an article for Spirituality & Health magazine and, during the course of the interview, he shared two stories from his self-published memoir. I'm usually wary of self-published books. They haven't been vetted by an agent or a big house. But every once in a while, there's a gem, one that big publishers should have noticed. After the interview I could not stop thinking about what Jason had told me. His stories were powerful and moving. Could his book be such a gem? I went to amazon and read the free preview of Follow the Joy. It was gripping. How could I not buy the book? I downloaded and for about a week, I could not put the book down. I kept telling myself, "Just one more chapter.... just one more chapter..." Each chapter was full of moving tales, all with a meaningful message. The details are exquisite, so much so that I felt I was right there with him during his travels through India. Follow the Joy is a well told yarn, one with a important message about true happiness.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John McCaffrey

    Follow The Joy is a book that will take you places - to an exotic world in India, but also to that deep place inside yourself where positive change happens. Jason Kurtz has done a masterful job sharing his story with readers so that it resonates and inspires. -- John McCaffrey, Author, The Book of Ash (Boxfire Press)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    At the beginning of his fantastic and thought-provoking new memoir "Follow the Joy", Jason Kurtz is a shy and nervous young man. Follow the life of this insightful and introspective author, and you will be amazed at his ability to grow by helping others. You will learn from a poet-impressing, Tibetan-monk-teaching young American who travels to India pursing his own path. Imagine traveling to Costa Rica without concrete plans. Imagine getting invited to an gathering of esteemed Costa Rican write At the beginning of his fantastic and thought-provoking new memoir "Follow the Joy", Jason Kurtz is a shy and nervous young man. Follow the life of this insightful and introspective author, and you will be amazed at his ability to grow by helping others. You will learn from a poet-impressing, Tibetan-monk-teaching young American who travels to India pursing his own path. Imagine traveling to Costa Rica without concrete plans. Imagine getting invited to an gathering of esteemed Costa Rican writers. Imagine wowing Laureano Alban, the famous poet. You would think that the author's youth and lack of self confidence would make that sort of story unlikely. Already deeply introspective, Jason impresses the Costa Rican poet. Early on the reader is treated to many pearls of wisdom that Jason never dares utter. As his wisdom and confidence develop, you will be compelled to continue reading to see until both Kurtz and the reader realize how much he has to offer by speaking his mind. As I followed along on this journey with Kurtz, it was his stay in a Buddhist monastery which struck me passionately. His ability to improvise and teach language so successfully appealed to me intellectually. The fact that he was able to bring happiness to these men from the other side of the world would connect with anyone emotionally, and keep them reading for more. If you gain self-confidence, you can use your inner strength to help others. Kurtz shows us this with the moving climax set in a Catholic mission for the sick and dying. He confronts his own worries about not being a Catholic, and about facing death and disease. With these tests passed, true joy is found by fully giving himself to helping others. It's a powerful lesson and an example we can all learn from. Jason Kurtz went on a spiritual quest and ended up discovering his own abilities and his own calling. In an era when many of us struggle with life’s hardest questions, "Follow The Joy" can serve as a beacon of hope and happiness. If you have ever wanted to find more contentment in your life, this is the book for you!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I could feel India. That’s how vibrant the writing was for me. The smells, the sights, and the people all were in front of me. The writer is suffering from wanderlust with a desire to find himself. This leads him to India. The characters he meets along the way are like any people you would meet in any part of the world. Everyone has the same needs: to learn and to tell their story. I enjoyed this book as I learned so much about India. I think anyone reading this book will come away with a deep s I could feel India. That’s how vibrant the writing was for me. The smells, the sights, and the people all were in front of me. The writer is suffering from wanderlust with a desire to find himself. This leads him to India. The characters he meets along the way are like any people you would meet in any part of the world. Everyone has the same needs: to learn and to tell their story. I enjoyed this book as I learned so much about India. I think anyone reading this book will come away with a deep sense of gratitude for life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinion is just that...mine...and completely unbiased. Enlightening, humbling and masterfully written. From the over-crowded trains/buses, and the language barriers, to helping the devastatingly ill in hospices, I felt like I was experiencing the culture first-hand. You'll count your blessings and be more careful about what you take for granted after reading this! I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinion is just that...mine...and completely unbiased. Enlightening, humbling and masterfully written. From the over-crowded trains/buses, and the language barriers, to helping the devastatingly ill in hospices, I felt like I was experiencing the culture first-hand. You'll count your blessings and be more careful about what you take for granted after reading this!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    At age 27, the author bought a one-way ticket to India determined to let intuition be his guide. If that sounds like the introduction to a travelogue, you’d be right. But this book is indeed memoir, because the story is less about Jason’s travels than it is about a spiritual journey he undertakes as he strives to find meaning in his life. I don’t read many memoirs. Perhaps I should, because I certainly enjoyed this one. I selected the story because I’ve always found Eastern religions—in this insta At age 27, the author bought a one-way ticket to India determined to let intuition be his guide. If that sounds like the introduction to a travelogue, you’d be right. But this book is indeed memoir, because the story is less about Jason’s travels than it is about a spiritual journey he undertakes as he strives to find meaning in his life. I don’t read many memoirs. Perhaps I should, because I certainly enjoyed this one. I selected the story because I’ve always found Eastern religions—in this instance, Buddhism and Hinduism—fascinating. They seem to embody the concept of selfless love and a search for oneness with the infinite but without the social, structural (and financial) trappings I associate with Christian religions. Jason’s trip started in a most inauspicious manner, and rapidly went downhill from there. From the minute he landed, he was harassed by beggars and hustled each time he attempted a financial transaction with the locals. His failure to plan for or even anticipate what he was undertaking exposed him to a raw edge of Indian society far removed from glossy tourist posters featuring the Taj Mahal, or idealized Bollywood movie scenes. Throughout, I admired his ability to look again, to challenge his initial impression of each place, or each person he met. This patience often enabled him to penetrate the superficial layers and gain a better understanding of why a person behaved as they did, or why a cultural structure existed. Jason started his journey in the hopeful belief that in India he would find a purpose in his life. He was driven by a need to address certain character weaknesses that he believed were holding him back from achieving happiness. Did he succeed? Yes and no. Of course, everyone has their own route to happiness, but through Jason’s experiences, I came away with a better understanding of what is really involved in a search for inner-peace. His route would not be mine, but I’m glad he shared his journey with me. Disclaimer: This review was originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. I may have received a free review copy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Awesome Indies Book Awards

    Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include FOLLOW THE JOY: A MEMOIR by JASON S KURTZ in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients. Original Awesome Indies' Assessment (5 stars): ‘Follow The Joy’ is a true story of what happened when, at 27, Jason Kurtz bought a one-way ticket to India and let intuition be his guide. He studied meditation, taught English to Tibetan monks, and volunteered at the Mother Theresa Homes for the Destitute and Dying. He learnt to live day to da Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include FOLLOW THE JOY: A MEMOIR by JASON S KURTZ in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients. Original Awesome Indies' Assessment (5 stars): ‘Follow The Joy’ is a true story of what happened when, at 27, Jason Kurtz bought a one-way ticket to India and let intuition be his guide. He studied meditation, taught English to Tibetan monks, and volunteered at the Mother Theresa Homes for the Destitute and Dying. He learnt to live day to day, be open to unexpected possibilities and ultimately to follow his joy. The thing that is immediately and wonderfully apparent in this memoir is that the author knows how to write well. This book is a real pleasure to read. The author skilfully teases out the theme of how to live a compassionate life and imbues it with the kind of tension we expect in a novel. We share Jason’s hopes and fears, and his struggles with the reality of life for a foreigner in India and with his own insecurities. India comes alive on the pages of this book, and the story itself reflects the extremes of spiritual peace and bustling activity of India itself. This ultimately spiritual journey builds to the point where Jason finds himself holding the hand of a dying man in one of the Mother Theresa Homes. The whole section of Jason’s experiences in the Homes is highly moving. I could talk about how well-drawn Jason is, and how alive are the other characters; I could talk about how good the prose it, how well described the settings, and how well-constructed the story is, or I can simply say that I cannot fault this book. It is, quite simply, an excellent example of a memoir. I received this book free of charge from the author in return for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I read this book at a time of transition in my own life. Jason’s openness to learning about himself by leaving his comfort zone was inspiring. His willingness to examine his perspectives and place in the world so he could be more mindful of his impact was really quite beautiful to read about.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aimee Ann

    Memoirs with a travel theme are my favorite type of books to read. I adore memoirs because they give the reader insight into a person’s fascinating life. In particular, I love memoirs with travel themes because the reader is whisked away on a journey and if the author of such a biography is brilliantly descriptive about the places he and or she visits, the reader will feel as if they are right there experiencing every moment the author is. Follow The Joy: A Memoir written by the extraordinary Ja Memoirs with a travel theme are my favorite type of books to read. I adore memoirs because they give the reader insight into a person’s fascinating life. In particular, I love memoirs with travel themes because the reader is whisked away on a journey and if the author of such a biography is brilliantly descriptive about the places he and or she visits, the reader will feel as if they are right there experiencing every moment the author is. Follow The Joy: A Memoir written by the extraordinary Jason Scott Kurtz is just this type of read; it is an incredibly powerful travel memoir that whisks the reader away to India. The reader, thanks to the author’s impeccable descriptions will feel as if they are right there so already I would have to implore you lovely readers to have a read of Follow The Joy! Follow The Joy is written by the incredible Jason Scott Kurtz, and he has written the story of his life which takes the reader on a journey as he discovers his calling, as he finds his career path, his marriage and lastly how he decided to buy a one-way ticket to India. Jason’s story is incredible, and all readers will be able to relate to Jason in one way or another. Everybody at least once has felt stuck and felt clueless about what to do with their life; whether it be stuck with career choices, struggling with your marriage or simply wanting a change from everyday life. Jason was a man who wanted change, and that is why he decided when he was 27 to pack up everything and travel to India with no plan and only his intuition to guide him on his journey. Once in India he found his way fast and started to teach Tibetan Monks English as well as volunteer at Mother Theresa Homes for the Destitute and Dying. His inspiring journey will inspire almost everybody to take on an adventure, whether it be big or small. You can either travel afar and live with no plan or you can travel somewhere locally and try something new. My point is that Jason’s wise and knowledgeable words will inspire you to better your life and to change your circumstances if you are unhappy with them. The profoundness in Follow The Joy is sensational, and many readers will feel a host of different emotions while reading this book. Jason effortlessly inspires thoughts and feelings in his readers as well as compel them to read from beginning to end. I found myself reading Follow The Joy at an alarming rate because it was captivating as well as engrossing; his incredible literature will have you turning the pages like a mad woman, and I adored how he was able to do this. As well as Jason writing his novel in an incredibly compelling way, he also is excellent at describing the settings and places in this book. His beautiful descriptive writing of India will make the reader feel as if you are right there, this is how I felt, and because I did I felt as if I was with Jason on his journey of discovery and that for me was incredibly wonderful. Follow The Joy is an inspiring, moving memoir and because I adore memoirs as well as memoirs with a travel theme, it is no surprise that I have fallen madly in love with Follow The Joy. Follow The Joy, of course, gets a dazzling Five Stars from me!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pamela King

    Follow the Joy is not your usual travel memoir. It starts with young Jason, unsure of himself and what he wants to do with his life, travelling in search of ‘something’. The story smoothly develops as Jason begins his travels. The reasons for his travel choices may have been uncertain initially, but as he moves from one place or experience to the next he is conscious that he is following the joy. His story becomes increasingly more engrossing as he continues to seek fulfilment and happiness. He r Follow the Joy is not your usual travel memoir. It starts with young Jason, unsure of himself and what he wants to do with his life, travelling in search of ‘something’. The story smoothly develops as Jason begins his travels. The reasons for his travel choices may have been uncertain initially, but as he moves from one place or experience to the next he is conscious that he is following the joy. His story becomes increasingly more engrossing as he continues to seek fulfilment and happiness. He realises that each time he “follows the call of his inner voice” he “felt that inexplicable feeling of joy” telling him he actually wanted to go. Kurtz’s writing skills draw the reader further and further into his story as we move from one deeply moving experience to the next even more poignant. Whether he is writing about the quiet monastery and temples; the hustle and bustle of busy streets with merchants and beggars; the unexpected happiness and caring within an aged care facility and a leper colony or the sadness of the street urchins and the dying; the sights, sounds, smells and emotions become real and alive. Apart from the story line itself, I also found the information about Hinduism and Buddhism extremely interesting. This review is also on my website with my other book reviews www.pam.id.au.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Unhappy with his job and life in the States, Jason makes the decision to buy a one-way ticket to India in hopes to find himself and find spirituality. Read the rest of my review here! Unhappy with his job and life in the States, Jason makes the decision to buy a one-way ticket to India in hopes to find himself and find spirituality. Read the rest of my review here!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann Nichols

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen O'Quinn

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grace Pei

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kerri Millett

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ron Frampton

  20. 5 out of 5

    Celia G. Boertlein

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jason Kurtz

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bacsa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sally J Gilbert

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luke Jones

  25. 4 out of 5

    K

  26. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  27. 5 out of 5

    Towandajane

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Ryan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  31. 4 out of 5

    Diana Senn

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  33. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Herston

  34. 5 out of 5

    Yusuf Nasrullah

  35. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  36. 5 out of 5

    Lela

  37. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Mackenzie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  39. 4 out of 5

    Laureen (Ms. Bibliophile)

  40. 4 out of 5

    Richard Tyler

  41. 5 out of 5

    Alana

  42. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  43. 5 out of 5

    Tina Marie

  44. 5 out of 5

    Janelea

  45. 5 out of 5

    Sylvie

  46. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Hart

  47. 5 out of 5

    Laura Dobb

  48. 5 out of 5

    Marion Grassie

  49. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

  50. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Carnes

  51. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

  52. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  53. 5 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  54. 5 out of 5

    Pam

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