Wild Roots - Coming Alive in the French Amazon

Genre: Non Fiction

Book Summary

Donna Mulvenna had everything she wanted in her modern Australian life: a rewarding career, a spacious home, and an around-the-clock connection to mobile technology. But for all these comforts, she couldn’t shake the feeling something was missing.

So when a Frenchman entered her life and invited her to move to France, she instantly daydreamed of strolling through lavender fields and sipping espresso in Paris. How could she have known he had two tickets to an obscure, mosquito-infested French territory in South America: French Guiana?

After that life got a little crazy. Donna found herself hacking through a perilous jungle, canoeing along anaconda-infested rivers, and overcoming a tropical disease: in a place that became more hostile by the minute. Harrowing ordeals became just another pothole in the road as she battled with bureaucratic nightmares, befriended a bizarre assortment of lively characters, and encountered oddball creatures in a chocolate-colored sea.

Then it happened. Forced out of her comfort zone and cleansed of the beliefs that had sustained her in a materialistic world, Donna dug deep within herself to unearth a long-lost hidden spirit. At that moment, she came alive in the Amazon rainforest.

Written with humor, a respect for nature, and an awareness that we must somehow rebuild our relationship with it, this fascinating and uplifting memoir will make you want to reclaim your life and live out your wildest dreams.


“To me everything in these pages melds together in an exciting journey and enjoyable balanced learning experience, and I applaud how the author both entertains the surface reader, and speaks to those that realize there is much more to life on our exciting little blue canoe than we're conscious of. I truly hope that for all our sakes some of the author’s insight and passion finds its way into the minds and hearts of readers.” — L. G. Cullens, Calan's Eden, US.

“The very essence of travel is exploration and discovery, the excitement of the search. Some places are best forgotten, others remembered fondly. Rarely do we find somewhere that, as individuals, we should have discovered a long time ago. Wild Roots is the story of such a place and delivers the travel experience with sincerity, wonder, and humour.” — Keith Foskett, Best-Selling Amazon Author, UK.

"Wild Roots is one of those rare books that has the potential to change your life. Beware! After reading this heartwarming, generous, and compassionate memoir of one woman's journey to finding meaning in her life, you might be inspired to do something similarly crazy. It's okay, take a deep breath, and... go for it! Whether it's an expedition to the Antarctic, a camping trip to the nearest natural beauty spot, or just a day spent dreaming in the garden, Donna's story shows the rewards of connecting with your own wild roots may exceed your—yes, wildest—expectations." — Jessica Groenendijk, The Giant Otter — Giants of the Amazon, Peru.

“Wild Roots took me into the heart of the Amazon and into Donna’s heart as well. Warmly personal, informative, and inspirational — Wild Roots is a captivating journey and nature writing at its best.” — Ron Harton, Editor, Naturewriting.com, US.

“Wild Roots provides an engrossing and detailed glimpse into a world I barely knew existed. Donna grabbed my hand and walked me through jungles, paddled me down rivers, and opened my eyes to an amazing culture tucked into a small corner of South America.” —Charlie Hills, If Cancer Doesn't Help, I Don't Know What Will, US.

“It’s not enough to like nature. Donna Mulvenna shows us what it is to live nature. One cannot emphasize enough the giant leap of faith she took when she moved from Australia to French Guyana, to the Amazonian rainforest where caimans lurk, and snakes slither, spiders tickle your imagination, and giant cockroaches try to live together with the author and her husband or the other way around. Preserving the rainforest and its indigenous population must be our main goal. I hope this book will contribute.” — Chris Honingh, Dutch author of English short stories, The Netherlands.

“Donna tells her stories with humor and an unabashed love for the natural world that surrounds us. Wild Roots is a wonderful story of one woman’s personal journey, and is a testament to the transformative power of nature. Donna Mulvenna gently reminds us of the wide world beyond our televisions and laptops, a treasure that many of us neglect to our detriment.” — Michael LaReaux, Three Authors' Tales, US.

“An enlightening narrative which takes place in the wilds of French Guiana. Rich with stunning, descriptive passages, Wild Roots shares Donna's experiences and observations of the natural world that surround her. Wilderness has a way of revealing itself if only we took the time to embrace it. As Donna discovered, it's life changing! I've always felt story telling is at its best when it comes from the heart and an author can seamlessly introduce wit into a sequence. She has accomplished that feat. Well worth the read.” — Ron Melchiore, author of Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness, Canada.

“A new nature writing classic has been born. It is a rare gift to be transported, effortlessly, into someone else’s real life, through a journey of beautiful and complete vignettes that we live as a fellow traveller through the French Amazon. In the union we delight in her discoveries, shudder with her horrors, elevate with her inspiration and laugh at her constant wit. We find quite soon that our soul also touches French Guiana’s wildness and we yearn to uproot our lives and follow in her footsteps. This is an eclectic, deeply satisfying and remarkable journey of coming to understand the wildlife and the wildness of a place and yourself, told by an incredible and wise author. Good books are read many times. I will read Wild Roots again, very soon.” — Margi Prideaux, author of Birdsong After the Storm, Australia.

"Offered a plane ticket to a mysterious destination, Donna takes a huge leap of faith. She finds that by following her heart she opens up a whole new world of adventure, discovery, passion and awe. Follow her inspiring journey deep into the majestic green heart of the Amazon, you too might realize that your true self lies just beyond the edge of your comfort zone." — Ian Usher - author, A Life Sold

"In Wild Roots, Donna Mulvenna guides us through the beautiful and wildly exotic nature of French Guiana. Mulvenna's humor and down-to-earth storytelling encourages us to find the genuine happiness that comes when we reconnect to the wilderness around us." — Mary Woodbury, curator at Eco-fiction.com and owner, Moon Willow Press, Vancouver, BC.

“Wild Roots is one of those books that stays with you long after you finish it. The love of nature runs through the pages as the Amazon finds a place in the reader’s heart.” — Alice Woodrome, Author Grayson's Journey, US.

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About the Author

Donna is a horticulturist and writer living in French Guiana on the fringe of the Amazon forest.

She left behind decades of corporate writing to write about nature, health, and living simply and sustainably — in essence, her code for living a good life. In her ramblings she hopes to give a glimpse of the fascinating world of the rainforest, reveal its profound effect on each of us and inspire readers to build a connection with the natural world.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to people who are not her kind of wild, but Donna refuses to own a mobile phone, rarely wears shoes, and is passionate about living on a whole food, plant-based diet. If she can’t be found swinging in a hammock with a laptop in hand or somewhere off the coast reading from her sea kayak, you will find her hurtling along the great Amazonian rivers in a sprint canoe.

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