It is with great honor that my memoir was published yesterday. After ten years of pouring thoughts, feelings, and experiences into 266 pages and 32 images of my African journey, I feel humbled.
Humbled, because so many authors have bled, cried, and sweated through the writing of their memoir, as well. I now know what they have endured: the blank stares, the doubt, and the agony.
“Write your heart, not the market,” I was taught in writing conferences.
That’s hard to do when raised by a mother who read your diary and burned clothes considered ‘inappropriate’. They were clothes earned from babysitting. You know how young girls dig fashion.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother, but at times, running away would have been liberating. Thank gawd I never did. Mom was great, but nurturing, feelings and support were words unfamiliar to her. One can only teach from past teachers – mothers. I shudder to consider how little support Mom had while being raised on a farm with 8 – that’s EIGHT – brothers in the early-mid 1900’s in a southern, country town. She had more memoir material than Mother Teresa!
Mom is pictured above in stylish safari attire. I took her on all our journeys as she loved to travel. In fact, it was liberating for me. I’m quite convinced she was rather taken aback and breathless through much of our journeying together. At least she listened to me this time.
Why do we write a memoir?
I wrote my memoir because I wanted to make a difference. “Ah, well, stand in line,” you say? “You’re being naive. It’s all been written before you came along.”
I seriously doubt that. Let me tell you: after thirty-five years of experiencing delightful and at times, harrowing experiences, I have something to say.
People are not adventuring anymore. They are glued to their devices, lured into the void of the internet and instant gratification, working to buy more things that they have no time to either enjoy or take care of. I see it happening all around me. People no longer talk about valid political viewpoints. God forbid, they’re not even informed. People are talking about their next job, promotion, the remodeling of their home, or what car to buy.
When it comes to being informed, I was shocked to watch as Gary Johnson asked his interviewer a question. “What’s Aleppo?” Are you kidding? You’re running for President of the United States, representing the Libertarian Party, and you’re not current on foreign affairs? Aleppo is the center of abject pain, heartlessness, tragedy, and death. What TV show is he watching at night? The Simpsons?
See what I mean?
If everyone running for President took a gap year and visited ten top developing nations and stayed awhile, they might have something important to say. Guaranteed. If everyone even held a valid passport and visited 10 top developing nations and stayed a while with locals, there would not be war.
Get out and adventure. Explore. Learn. Discover. Write your memoir.
I’m not talking about traveling via cruise ship, either. I’m talking about taking a JOURNEY. Journeys teach you survival skills that enrich your life. Cruise ships teach you…you tell me. Personally, I’m not attracted to viewing wonders of the world with 500 people simultaneously.
When I traveled, I always took my entire family, whether our sons were toddlers or teenagers. We got into all sorts of outlandish situations, but at least I knew I was learning a valuable experience – and our sons too – to trust people. Everywhere we journeyed, kind people took us in, no matter if traveling in a Hindu country, Muslim, Jewish, or tribal village.
After thirty-five countries in thirty-five years, I still have very much to say.
Read my memoir. Learn how you too, can find the wonders within yourself and your family through adventurous travel.