Islands Apart : A Year on the Edge of Civilization Lecture

Thursday April 18, 2013 – Thursday April 18, 2013

113 Harbor Way, Suite 190

View MapMap and Directions | Register


by Ken McAlpine
Where: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, California

What: A look at our fast paced times through the lens of our lovely Channel Islands

When: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 7 pm

Members only Reception at 6:15 pm

Cost: Free (members), $5 (non-members).

To Register: Go to or call (805) 962-8404 x115
(please register for tickets early to guarantee admittance)


Author Ken McAlpine stands in his front yard one night in Ventura, California, trying to see the stars. His view is diminished by light pollution, making it hard to see much of anything in the sky. Our fast-paced, technologically advanced society, he concludes, is not conducive to stargazing or soul-searching. Taking a page from Thoreau’s Walden, he decides to get away from the clamor of everyday life, journeying alone through California’s Channel Islands National Park. There, he imagines, he might be able to “breathe slowly and think clearly, to examine how we live and what we live for.”


Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization is a humorous and wise look at contemporary American life—and how time spent alone in nature can give us a fresh perspective and greater clarity about what matters most.

In between his week-long solo trips through these pristine islands, McAlpine reaches out to try to better understand his fellow man: he eats lunch with the homeless in Beverly Hills, sits in the desert with a 98-year-old Benedictine monk, and befriends a sidewalk celebrity impersonator in Hollywood. What he discovers about himself and the world we live in will inspire anyone who wishes they had the time to slow down and notice the wonders of nature and humanity. McAlpine, notes American Way Magazine, is “a humorous and humble guide who takes his contemplation of our busy world into unexpected places.”  .


Author Bio: Award-winning writer Ken McAlpine is the author of four books. His just released novel Together We Jump was praised by Sunset Magazine as “lyrical, evocative and deeply moving… a luminous American novel”, and by the Los Angeles Review as “a poetic roller coaster ride through the mind and soul… rendered with eerily realistic plot and dialogue”. His novel Fog, an eerie maritime mystery that unfolds on the wreck-strewn coast of Cape Cod in 1882, was described by a reviewer as “one of the most intelligent, richly detailed, deeply felt and evocative novels I’ve read.” His first book, the non-fiction work Off Season: Discovering America on Winter’s Shore, was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. His follow-up non-fiction book Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization was called “a rumination on what it means to be human.” McAlpine’s magazine articles have earned three Lowell Thomas awards, travel writing’s top award. More important to him, assignments from magazines ranging from National Geographic Traveler to Sunset, have provided him unbridled opportunity for play; from diving with white sharks, to running the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, to sparring with the world shoot fighting champion (you cannot learn a martial art in a week).Most important, Ken lives in Ventura with his beautiful wife Kathy and their two sons. He likes to stand in his yard at night looking at the stars, but he does not like to spend any time during the day doing yard work.