MY WRITING JOURNEY
OMG, I have to share this at the top of my Books page. I AM A REAL AUTHOR! On December 8, 2023, my short story, 'Flying Solo At 55,' was published in online magazine "Better After 50.' I am so pumped!
Now...if you want to skip right down to MY FAVORITE BOOKS, just click on the link. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy reading a little about me.
I began my writing journey in 2017. I'd just returned from my year-long backpacking trip through South America, still buzzing from the high of a year of adventures in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. It had been an amazing trip but one that confounded me a little. A lot, in fact.
I've been a vagabond since 1983 after reading a wonderful book by Ed Buryn - Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa. Ed's words got my blood thrumming and, not long after I set his book down, I went off to hitchhike around Europe for as long as my money would last. I spent as little as possible - $6/day got me a bed and 3 meals. I didn't return for two years, a year longer than I'd hoped. I loved vagabonding, hitchhiking, staying in backpacker hostels, living off street food, taking local buses. I thought I'd travel like that forever. I'd imagine myself at 70 (when 70 felt old!), still backpacking.
But at 55, something changed.
While I was traveling through South America like I was still 23 - sleeping in budget hostels and taking chicken buses, suddenly those stinky hostels filled with teenagers and those filled-to-the-gills chicken buses aren't as appealing as they used to be.
This confounded me. I decided to write a book about it. Maybe I'd figure out why, suddenly, I longed for soft beds and clean bathrooms.
I hope that lots of you will see yourself in my tale. Perhaps you, too, are an older traveller, no longer that appealing young thing that both boys and girls flocked to at hostels. A traveller who finds her or himself alone in backpacker hostels more than not. Maybe, like me, those stinky dorm rooms and crowded, exhaust-belching chicken buses are a little harder to take than they used to be. Maybe you're starting to look longingly at the crowds in the higher-end restaurants around the plazas, wishing you were that kind of traveller every once in awhile. Maybe you'll find some comfort in my stories about those getting-older challenges. Laugh and realize that you're not the only one who's struggling, trying to find another path. Maybe my story is your story.
It's taking much longer to write my travel memoir than I'd thought. There's a lot I've had to learn about writing, and I'm so grateful to all the authors, editors and agents out there who are generous with their advice and stories of their own journeys, and to the Shuswap Writing Group who support me and each other in our writing aspirations.
It's been a great journey as I explore the challenges I've faced as I've grown older. I hope that when I finish this book, find an agent, and (cross my fingers), publish it, you'll enjoy sharing that journey with me.
GOOD READS (MY FAVES)
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS - Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
I loved, loved, loved this book. I'd read her first memoir, Wild, and loved it, and found this by accident on a shelf in a Mexican hostel. So glad I did. A true story, Cheryl takes on the role of 'Sugar,' a columnist who, with the greatest empathy, wisdom and humour, answers letters. Letters from: a young gay man whose parents think his homosexuality is a disease; a woman whose love has cheated on her; a young girl whose father has left her mother and her for a younger woman. This book is going on my 'keep forever' shelf.
ALL OVER THE PLACE - Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter
Hilarious, laugh out loud accounts of Geraldine's mostly self-inflicted misadventures. Always lost when she travels (I have the same sad directional deficit), and always freaked out about something or other - but why wouldn't you be if you find a grenade in your mom's purse at the airport), Geraldine's stories made me chuckle so often my hubby began to glare at me. I'll be reading everything Geraldine writes after this!
ALL OVER THE MAP by Laura Fraser
A gorgeous jewel of a book written by a travel writer with a lust for life, a need to expose injustice through her writing, and a penchance to run away to some exotic location when, yet again, another date ends in heartbreak. Equally enamoured of spontaneous adventure and the idea of a settled, safe life with the perfect man, the author shares her struggle with much vulnerabilitiy and humour. With a perfect balance of humour stories in exotic locations and her personal struggle and journey, she both entertains and helps those of us going, perhaps, through the same struggles. I loved this book!