The long story . . .

Janna Cawrse Esarey was born in 1971 in San Diego, California. When she was just an ankle biter, her family relocated to Yokosuka, Japan, where her dad was a dentist in the Navy. When Janna was four, her parents went ocean sailing with friends. They capsized (twice) in a typhoon off the coast of Japan.

The family moved to Seattle where Janna grew up. In high school, Janna fell in love with Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s song “Southern Cross” and swore she would one day sail the world. Janna’s mom, recalling her own typhoon experience, didn’t know if this was an idle threat or a cruel joke.

Janna attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she fell in love with a fisherman and fellow philosophy major. He dumped her. She recovered, and graduated from Whitman cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, receiving the William Soper Prize in Philosophy.

Eager to put her philosophy major to good use, Janna worked on a dude ranch in Wyoming, baked pretzels in Bavaria, and ski bummed in Utah. When she grew tired of the phrase “knee-deep pow-pow, dude,” Janna became a Writing Center Fellow at Georgetown University. She earned an MA in English with an emphasis in teaching writing. During this time, that fisherman Janna dated in college came crawling back. They enjoyed a six-month e-romance. She dumped him.

From 1997 to 1999, Janna taught middle school in New Orleans with Teach For America, a program committed to ending educational inequity. She received the New Orleans New Teacher of the Year Award in 1998. Janna moved home to Seattle where she taught high school English and met, yet again, that fisherman she’d dated in college. This time, instead of dumping each other, they tied the knot and set out across the Pacific on a 35-foot sailboat.

The short story . . . (Use for press purposes, please.)

Janna Cawrse Esarey is the author of the Indie-bestselling travel memoir, The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife (Simon & Schuster), the humorous story of a woman who sails across the Pacific with her true love, only to find their relationship on the rocks. Janna writes for sailing magazines and travel anthologies, and was selected as a 2008 Jack Straw Writer. She blogs about work-life-love balance for the Seattle P-I at “Happily Even After.” Watch her book trailer at



“An edgy, unique style and badass sense of humor.”

~TANIA AEBI, author of
Maiden Voyage

Buy the book:




barnes & noble


More praise for

The Motion of the Ocean


Curious how to pronounce my name? It’s easy. 
JAN-nuh Course ES-uh-ree
Rhymes with banana of course yesiree

copyright © 2009 janna cawrse esarey
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Photo by Midori Jordan