27 April 2022

#BookReview Anywhere But Home: Adventures in Endurance by Anu Vaidyanathan

About The Book

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to complete Ultraman Canada: a punishing 10-kilometer swim, a 420-kilometer bike ride, and an 84.4-kilometer run. She placed sixth. Which is breathtaking. 

But what is your typical good Indian girl, super-nerd doing at the Ultraman? Anywhere but Home is the funny, heartbreaking, unexpected story of a woman who would not give up. As she followed her passion on the roads of Bangalore and across several Indian cities, coaches advised her to get married. 

She was stuck in sports facilities that lacked basic support systems, even toilets. If she wanted to compete, it would need to be on her own salary. All she could rely on were her own two feet and the seat of her bike. With self-deprecatory humor and characteristic curiosity, Vaidyanathan tells the story of how she found the triathlon, how she came to be training in one of the most challenging sports in the world. She writes of her many firsts in the Ultraman, Ironman, Half-Ironman, but also of motherhood and pushing the boundaries of what a body can do. 

My Thoughts

The first thing that interests me about the book is that is about a female athlete. In India where sports mean cricket, a female runner achieving her dream is a brilliant premise for a book.

The writing is simple, easy to understand, and did what it intended to do; motivate others. Anu Vaidyanathan painted herself with such honesty that touches one's heart. She is nerdy, fanciful, resilient, street smart, relentless yet so vulnerable at times. So many of us are like this in our twenties. That makes it so easy to relate to her struggles, challenges.

Anu Vaidyanathan wrote about her training period; training for 90 hour weeks, living in hostels, having limited resources for daily necessities, feeling like she didn't fit in this world.

She also mentioned her relationship with her parents and friends she met along the way. How she had to make hard life choices to survive and achieve her goals. Among all the hardships, she manages to remain humorous and not take herself seriously.

This book is a glaring example to motivate and achieve one's goal in life.

Book Links

Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Author

Anu Vaidyanathan is the founder of PatNMarks, an intellectual property consulting firm. Anu received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at UC Canterbury, setting the department and university record in twenty-six months. 

She has been teaching courses in computer architecture, innovation, and business policy at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Anu is a regular speaker at forums on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. 

She is also an endurance athlete representing India in long-course triathlon. She became the first Asian female to have competed in the Ultraman Canada triathlon, comprising a 10-km swim, a 420-km bike ride, and an 84.4-km run. She backed this up with Ironman Canada comprising a 3.8-km swim, a 180-km bike ride, and a 42.2-km run, four weeks later.

Author on the Web

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