*Like most of the people I know, I headed for corporate employment right after college. I did well. I learn fast and I’m very good at solving problems, and those are important gifts in the world of giant international corporations. But even as I climbed the corporate ladder, there was a persistent dream that kept me from really feeling at home. I wanted to be a writer. I had always wanted to be a writer. But how would I ever find the time to make the dream come true?
Eventually, the answer came to me: just quit. Walk away from the corporate world and write. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but at least I had a goal—to save enough money to get out.
At about that same time, I found that my lifelong interest in Australia had begun to grow. Once I quit, I needed to get far away from the temptation of taking another job, and Australia seemed the best, and farthest, place to accomplish that. So when I finally reached escape velocity and got away from the gravitational field of income and security, Australia is where I went. It is the six wonderfully adventurous months I spent in Australia that are recounted in my book, Waltzing Australia.
As you can imagine, it took a while to rebuild my career, once I came home. There were a few years of beans, rice, and potatoes, but in time, the sacrifice paid off, and the work began to get regular. Today, I am a successful writer with clients that range from Colonial Williamsburg to Hungry Magazine. The years I struggled are almost forgotten, but I shall never forget the beginning of the road I now travel. The dream had a price, but it was a price I was willing to pay.
My parents were a very big influence on my interests, from travel to food to finding joy in sharing. When I was a child, they bought me books that awakened a passion for the exotic and wonderful—stories about children growing up in Bali, China, Hungary, France, Africa. Instead of a teddy bear, I had a koala and a panda. And my dad was always finding interesting museums to explore or ethnic restaurants to try out.
My motivation for writing is the tremendous pleasure I get out of sharing with people the wonder of the world around us—the natural beauty, the history, the fascinating cultures, the delightful people. Not everyone is able to travel—and not everyone knows how to find the stories and the background that illuminate the world. Because it’s not just about going somewhere, it’s about really soaking it up, really digging in. And then getting to share that is a real joy. We live in an amazing world!*