I had a writing professor in college once asked my class if we wrote because the world had something to tell us or because we had something to tell the world. That day in class, I stared long and hard at the blank piece of notebook paper I was supposed to be answering this prompt on and couldn’t decide.
Five years later, I still don’t know which one I choose, but I know now why I write, and why travel writing is what I am drawn to.
It is because, first and foremost, I think the world has some amazing things to teach us. From exploring natural diversity, to learning about other cultures, to simple things like trying new foods and learning some words in another language, the World with a capital w if life’s great teacher.
I may have officially been a teacher when I lived in Colombia, but of course the roles switched a around bit, and I was certainly a student as well, soaking up the culture and history of the country I called home for a year. (Why I went to Colombia in the first place is its own story, which you can read in my blog post Why We Travel.)
And so I arrived back in the United States, a little wiser, and with a much more nuanced idea of the country of Colombia. And I wanted to share what I learned with everyone I talked to: friends, family, strangers.
So why did I write a book about Colombia?
Because the world had something to share with me, and I then needed to share that with the world.
This past week we threw a book release party with friends and colleagues, some of who knew little about Colombia or my year there. It was an opportunity not just to celebrate the publication of Misspelled Paradise, but another opportunity for me to share the reasons I wrote the book in the first place: to share what Colombia had taught me.
Misspelled Paradise: A Year in a Reinvented Colombia is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.