My Search for Tea and Transformation in India
In 2011, an unexpected gift provoked Bill Giebler to leave a 20-year career and embark on a solo journey across India. What followed was the dance of hope, dread, excitement and anxiety that engulfed him through a distinctively austere and gritty ten-week journey, and the deconstruction of the roles—father, lover, partner, careerist—that had come to define him over recent decades.
Steeped: My Search for Tea and Transformation in India provides a vicarious trek—part understated humor, part personal development, part journalism and mostly travelogue from enchanting Himalayan tea village to filthy Rishikesh ashram—through the contemplations that arise when taking such a leap, and the realization that the answers we seek are always inside us.
“This book is about finding self-love while learning to become more involved as a parent or a partner, as well as a human being. I would heartily recommend Steeped to readers who appreciate travel stories as well as those who are interested in visiting India themselves.
–Readers’ Favorite 5-star review
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Reviews and Testimonials for Steeped
“Devoured your book in a three-day gorge. It’s absolutely delightful, so sensorily evocative. Your prose provided extremely vivid visual and auditory experiences … Beautifully written: understated humor, surprises, a felt sense of India building up line by line… Pulled me right in from the first paragraph. I was THERE. Bravo!”
– Patricia Kendall, author of Opening into Light
“Giebler is both well-read and well aware that he is not the first Westerner to undertake the path of the pilgrim, visiting India, at least in part, as a spiritual quest. While his moments of spiritual transcendence are brief and fleeting, there is a refreshing candor in his willingness to express his discomfiture with the physical hardships and inconveniences attendant upon such a journey.”
– The BookLife Prize
“When Bill Giebler’s ex-wife gifted him with a trip to India, it was as much a welcome respite as it was an opportunity to rediscover his life. A tenuous job, the responsibilities of two teenage sons and an occasionally strained relationship made him yearn for a much-needed break. From the cool hillsides of Darjeeling to the unbearably hot Jaipur deserts, from the bustling cities of New Delhi and Varanasi to the serene Rishikesh, his travels took him to the heart of India. At times terrifying and confusing, at other times calming and rejuvenating, his experiences helped him to reflect on himself. Steeped, a travelogue chronicling his escapades in India, is also a profound story of self-realization.
His book reflects his innermost thoughts and recounts a gradual move from constant worry to trust and acceptance. This book is about finding self-love while learning to become more involved as a parent or a partner, as well as a human being. I would heartily recommend Steeped to readers who appreciate travel stories as well as those who are interested in visiting India themselves.”
– 5-star review by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers’ Favorite
“I have read my fair share of travel memoirs and am really comfortable saying that Steeped ranks among the top of my stack in terms of enjoyment and overall storytelling. Bill Giebler provides strong but level doses of intelligent wit and acerbic perspective as he weaves his way through a profoundly honest narrative. I’ve not had as much fun reading a memoir since finishing Alison Wearing’s Honeymoon in Purdah twenty years ago.
A lot of the writing plays out in a stream of consciousness that complements the eccentricities of the experience, while other parts are far more nuanced. We get a front row seat to Giebler’s evolution but not in the way that we, or even he, expected. It’s less of a full demolition and rebuild and more of a work of spiritual planning … Steeped is definitely worth a read.
– 5-star Readers’ Favorite review by Jamie Michele, award-winning author of Mount of Hope
“Steeped is not an ordinary travel book. It’s as much an inner journey, as the narrator grows through his experiences, as it is an outer journey, where he explores and experiences India for the first time. This is what made the book so captivating and fun to read, the dynamics of these two journeys dancing with each other. The descriptions of Giebler’s new environments are gorgeous and compelling, and like the tea he seeks throughout, you find yourself slowly charmed by the subtlety of the book, wanting to open it again and again.”
– Steve Adams, award-winning author
“Steeped contains the introspections and experiences of a man transitioning from one stage to another while he was on a trip to India … in yoga, meditation, tea, train rides, and the community projects he organized and participated in. Words cannot describe this amazing and beautiful book enough. You just have to read it for yourself to get the full experience.”
– 5-star review by Foluso Falaye for Readers’ Favorite
“Bill’s writing throughout is strong and evocative, especially on the metaphor of tea, from root to leaf to cup, as a reflection of his personal development. And I loved his push for self-improvement and mindfulness.”
– Larry Habegger, executive editor at Travelers’ Tales