One of the best parts of my day job is the travel. I have had the opportunity to see parts of the world I never would have on my own, and to live abroad. The downside of that is that it keeps me busy more than I would like these days.
While I haven’t made much progress on any novels lately I have collected new experiences that will shape stories that haven’t even begun yet.
While this site, and my blog is predominately devoted to sharing my insights into the publishing world I feel like I would be remiss not to share a little about my journey.
So two parts to this new chapter.
A bit about the man behind the author. Small town kid from Colorado, raised mostly on ranches in Wyoming and Texas in the States. I’m a College grad who decided to spend a little time adventuring in the U.S. Military… 8 years later still doing it as long as it’s fun, and trying to balance a prospective writing career with that obligation.
I currently live in the sweltering but charming country of Bahrain in the Middle East. This alone would be one of those, ‘tell us something interesting about yourself’ facts, but to make it better I’m a member of the LGBT living in the Middle East, and thriving.
So why tell you that bit of biography information?
Because for one I hope it helps you to understand my writing. I write characters from all walks of life, and I try to help people to connect to their stories even if they are very different from them. I don’t write LGBT characters for the sake of them being LGBT, but I write them sometimes because they have stories to tell, and I write hetero characters that deal with real issues of their own. The other big reason being I think the world has a gross misconception of LGBT life abroad, and I hope even if I can open one persons aperture to the world a bit I’ll consider it a win.
I recently had the amazing opportunity to explore Nepal. It’s a land-locked country between China and India that recently (2015) suffered a devastating earthquake and is still recovering. Likely the most well know thing about Nepal is that it is home to Mt. Everest and the Himalayan mountains.
The thing that struck me and made me realize I need to be sharing these experiences was the people. It doesn’t matter where you go… the States, Europe, The Middle East, Asia… humanity looks more similar than we are different.
In Nepal I ate with locals and laughed with the girls as my friends and I sucked at the Water Buffalo dance. I danced with people to an amazing band I didn’t understand. I drank with new friends thousands of kilometers from the place I call home and felt safe with them. I walked through terraced fields and saw a world as foreign to me as the moon, and yet totally connected through our shared humanity. I was looked after by the locals, and I was welcomed in a world that wasn’t my own. I learned about their religions, history, culture, quirks, and fears.
Everywhere you see the five colors of buddhist prayer flags. At first they are mostly just colorful and a reflection of the bright colors of the culture surrounding the ancient temples, but as you spend a little more time you realize they are more. They stand as a constant reminder of the values and the culture that the place is built upon.
Unlike in America their is history EVERYWHERE in Nepal. Their is a temple as often as we place our coffee shops, and they all have a dignified calm in the bustling day.
There is an equal part Hindi influence in the country and the cow reigns supreme here. They languished in the streets, seemingly the only thing immune from the frantic pace of the traffic and the constant flow of busses and mopeds.
There is a rugged beauty to the place once you leave Kathmandu behind. Modern technology makes an interconnected life a reality, but there are still villages operating much as they have for hundreds or thousands of years. The line the slopes of the mountains, and they rely on these bridges to cross the rivers to reach the roads.
As beautiful as the temples are during the day they shine at night. I didn’t get to learn the history of this one, but one not 30 meters away was built (from wood) in the 16th century and it’s still standing watch over the city. The intricacy, the care, and the love that goes into these effigies was awesome in the most literal sense.
Nepal is only one of the places I have had the chance to visit lately and I’m going to share move of them over the coming days.
The message I want to get across is a simple one… there is more to the world than you see on TV, and more than you learn about in class. There is a whole world, and a population of people out there.
Good things come to those that go.