Emma Bamford, author

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We may all dream of running away to a desert island but journalist and author Emma Bamford actually did it.

The 36-year-old from Ednaston near Ashbourne was surrounded by friends settling down to married life and babies when she decided to grasp her life by the roots and reclaim her freedom.

She ran away to sea and joined a complete stranger on a yacht in Borneo.

Casting Off is the story of how  Emma, who is from a non-sailing family and living just about as far away from the sea as you can get in the UK, travels to some of the most exotic places in the world and learns what really matters in life.

She discovers not only love but lost tribes, paradise islands and secret jungle rivers.  And she has a terrifying near miss with pirates.

Emma, who is a former reporter for the Derby Telegraph, was working at the Independent newspaper in London when she made her escape four years ago.

It had been a day’s sailing as part of a friend’s hen party a few years earlier that had got her hooked in the first place.

“I loved it, running around while everyone else sunbathed. I then decided to go on holiday to learn how to sail and I took a sailing holiday each summer after that.”

Emma says that in 2010 she was pretty fed up with her life and had had enough of being the single career woman with a demanding job in the capital. Her friends told her to stop moaning pointing out she was free to do as she liked.

This spurred her to embark on her amazing sailing adventure.

“I hit the web looking at sites that matched crews with boats and came across Steve who seemed fun.

“So I bought myself a one-way ticket to Borneo to go and live on a boat with a man I’d never met and his cat. The rest just happened from there.”

The book was published by Bloomsbury on July 3.

Emma Bamford on Gillaroo