June 3, 2020

Contributed
Jacqueline Dozier was at her home in Islamorada with her grandchild when she received the first copies of her new book.

Contributed Jacqueline Dozier was at her home in Islamorada with her grandchild when she received the first copies of her new book.

ISLAMORADA — Some experiences never leave a person. They live within, and sometimes find an outlet of expression. An Islamorada woman had a life-changing experience in the Himalaya Mountains and she wanted to share it with others to encourage them to dream and to do.

“Into the Clouds: A Personal Journey” is a 74-page tale of inspiration. The journey began as a plan to climb mountains, and although delayed once, it came to fruition and changed Jacqueline Dozier’s life. She said she became a kinder, more introspective and thoughtful person, in addition to more worldly, as a result of her spirituality-enhancing, guided trek in Nepal.

Contributed
Jacqueline Dozier took the photograph of the Himalayas that graces her book’s cover, but the publisher added the airplane.

Dozier describes herself as an adventurer, but a grounded one who likes travel. As a young woman she got to fly in a glider in Switzerland and Miami and later worked at Pan Am in public relations in Miami after marrying a French Canadian who she first met as a child. She moved into his family home in Miami and three years later had a daughter, Daphne. The couple divorced seven years later in 1977 and Dozier has been in Florida ever since.

She was 40 years old when she had an opportunity to travel to Nepal for a guided excursion.

“It was very rugged, more so than any of the participants expected,” she said. Despite the remote territory, the food was great, she added.

In April and May of 1988, Dozier was in Nepal, climbing mountains, riding an elephant and rafting a wild river. The 21-day trek with seven other women began April 25, and soon thereafter, Dozier experienced stomach ailments from giardia, an intestinal infection marked by abdominal cramps and nausea caused by a microscopic parasite. Undaunted, she carried her pack with a camera and tape recorder and climbed ever higher into the Himalayas chronicling her adventure.

In the late 1980s, technical outdoor clothing was not developed or widespread, so the women opted for long skirts. Dozier’s greatest fear at that time was leeches. To be sure, there were many alarming encounters, including a tiger, avalanches and misplaced footing leading to a headlong fall. Other threats on the journey were a snow leopard, rhinoceroses, thieves, blisters and exhaustion. But, by April 30, Dozier reached 9,000 feet, and before turning back due to snowy weather, the group made it to 13,000 feet.

From those lofty heights, Dozier’s perspective changed. She said she had already lived an interesting life up to that point, and when she returned home, she was able to “look down” on negative experiences and move forward, seeing things in a brighter light. Her book seeks to encourage others to find that experience that will change their life, to pursue a dream, take a risk or try something new.

Despite living at near sea level, Dozier said her years of scuba diving to depths as great as 100 feet, as well as having skied in New England and the Alps, gave her confidence in her lung power to handle the altitude and physicality of the climb.

“I never thought about altitude. I thought if my lungs were strong, I could handle it. I was more worried about my physical and mental strength,” she said.

When Dozier returned, she did not have time to put her book together. She ended up serving on a grand jury for a year-and-a-half that reviewed drug cases that had transpired in the Keys, and several interesting jobs came and went. But in February 2019, she had both hips replaced and was sedentary and stationary enough to transcribe her tape recordings while recuperating at her daughter’s home in Fort Lauderdale.

She flipped through her two albums of more than 200 photographs that refreshed memories of her adventure, finessed first drafts and submitted a completed draft to her publisher, Page Publishing. Because of the long timeframe between the adventure and the publication, her style is not overly flowery or descriptive. This memoir is more matter-of-fact and insightful.

For a little exotic armchair traveling, “Into the Clouds: A Personal Journey,” is a available in paperback at bookstores, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes and Noble.

jzima@keysnews.com