Wow – a year ago this past weekend was my official book launch of The Same Sky, my travel memoir in Tibet and Southeast Asia after a failed relationship. Looking back on that special night of the launch held at the splendid Tibet House, I feel blessed that more than 115 people came out for an evening of readings from my book, Q&A and stories from other travel writers. And it wasn’t just any random audience – they were travel enthusiasts coming together to share the love of culture, exploration and self-reflection.
In the past year since the book launch, I’ve held three more events: two Same Sky Cafe: Evening of Travel Storytelling in New York and another book launch in Vancouver, my old stomping ground. There has always been a great turnout of interested travelers who come and listen to travel stories by me and other writers as well as view photography from Bhutan and Cambodia. Wow the buzz and excitement in the room afterwards!
So why do I bother doing any of this?
To me, I want to pay it forward.
I moved to NY in 2000 feeling brokenhearted, lost and vulnerable after a particularly bad breakup. I wanted to write about my story and how I escaped with just a backpack and journal to far-flung Tibet, Laos and Cambodia for three months to rediscover myself. I needed to share what happened and to give hope and peace to others who also suffered calamities of the heart. Now, years later, I finally published my story that has helped me pay it forward to others through my book and the travel storytelling events I put together. Not only do I share the love of travel but other main messages surface: you are not alone. As you travel along your emotional and physical journey, you meet locals who have experienced war and death, and they can inspire you to believe in a strength you never knew you had.
And if those messages can touch someone’s heart whether through my book or at my event, then it has been well worth the effort.
Here’s to another opportune year for The Same Sky!