Littleton author talks about traveling with his daughters

LITTLETON — From a Buddhist monastery in Nepal to rural Colombia, writer Meg Stafford visited her daughters on their travels.

These experiences are the subject of his new book, Who Will Accompany You? My mother-daughter travels far from home and close to the heart.

Stafford, a social worker in private practice, is familiar to Eagle-Independent readers as a regular columnist.

Stafford’s 2011 memoir, Topic of Cancer: Riding the Waves of the Big C, won six literary awards (including the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Awards for Best First Book).

What can readers expect in your new book?

Readers will be transported to Nepal and Bhutan with Kate, 17, and myself as she experiences being the youngest of her group – learning meditation and Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu – as I trek to Annapurna base camp.

Be right next to us as we each reflect on what it’s like to be so far from home with new people.

Next, readers are dropped off in the remote Colombian countryside with 23-year-old Gale as she works with a non-governmental organization to support peace and community neutrality there.

Meg Stafford enjoys a moment with her daughter, Gale, during her visit during her stay in Colombia.  Stafford's book, Who Will Accompany You?  describes meeting his daughters on their travels.

I visit her for a week, I need to be where she is and calm my fears about her life in such a dangerous place.

Author Meg Stafford included this photo of prayer flags near Takstang Monastery in Nepal, where she visited her daughter, Kate, in her book, Who Will Accompany You?

Discover all of our perspectives, understanding and love of places, people and each other.

Finally, I place our travels in the context of my life as a whole, my marriage, and what I’m learning about how best to support my daughters’ travels, both within and on our amazing planet. .

How did your daughters and family react to your idea for this book?

The family supported me in writing the book, but they didn’t fully understand my intention to have readers see all of our points of view until they read one of the first ones. versions.

With the two girls, I used material that they had written during their trip — or just after.

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Also in both cases there were things I needed them to add/update/clarify and it sometimes took a bit of time especially before they could see the situation in his outfit.

Generally, however, they know how important my writing is to me and champion this cause on an ongoing basis.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Because I combined our thoughts and experiences, it was like putting together a mosaic that was huge and took up a city block.

I first tried to do it by subject, but it was too jerky, so I went back to combining them in chronological order.

In the section with Kate it was much easier because we were there for the same amount of time.

Gale spent a year and a half in Colombia, while I was only there for a week.

Even including my before and after thoughts, it was a challenge to make sure the vocals were balanced and the pieces fit together as a whole.

I also needed the objective eye of a professional editor to help bring the pieces together seamlessly into a cohesive and compelling whole.

It was important to include not only our travels, but also our relationships with each other and what we learned.

Why was this book important for you to write?

I was compelled to write this book because not only were these trips delicious and fascinating.

But, I believe it will be absorbing and helpful for people to learn more about my experience as young adult parents — and what that balance of staying close while encouraging the freedom to explore in real time looks like.

It’s a dynamic, ever-evolving process, and it’s always so fascinating to see how other people have navigated this colorful terrain.

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Lola R. McClure