Meg Stafford enjoys a moment with her daughter, Gale, while visiting her during her stay in Colombia. Staffords book, Who Will Accompany You? describes meet up with her daughters in their travels. Courtesy Photos/Meg Stafford
Littleton author's book describes visiting her daughters in their world travels
By Margaret Smith
February 4, 2022
LITTLETON -- From a Buddhist monastery in Nepal to the countryside of Colombia, writer Meg Stafford visited her daughters in their travels.
These experiences are the subject of her new book, Who Will Accompany You? My Mother-Daughter Journeys Far from Home, and Close to the Heart.
Stafford, a social worker in private practice, is a 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 being named Best First Book by the Independent Book Publisher's Association Benjamin Franklin Awards.
What can readers expect in your new book?
Readers will be transported to Nepal and Bhutan with seventeen year old Kate and myself as she experiences being the youngest in her group learning meditation and Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu while I trek to the Annapurna Base Camp. Be right beside us as we each consider what it’s like to be so far from home with new people. Next readers are dropped into the remote Colombian countryside with twenty-three year old Gale as she works with a nongovernmental organization to support the peace and neutrality of the community there. I visit for a week, needing to be where she is, and calm my fears about her living in such a dangerous place. See all of our viewpoints, understanding and love of the places, the people and each other. Lastly, I put our travels into context of my life as s whole, my marriage, and what I learn about how best to support my daughters’ voyages— both within and on our astounding planet.
How did your daughters and family respond to your idea for this book?
The family supported my writing the book, but they couldn’t completely understand my intent to have readers see all of our viewpoints until they read one of the first versions of it. With both daughters I was using material they had written during the time of their travels (or just after). Also in both cases, there were some pieces I needed for them to add/update/clarify and that sometimes took some prodding, particularly before they were able to see the bigger picture. In general, though, they know how important my writing is for me, and champion that cause on an ongoing basis.
What was the most challenging 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. First I tried doing it by topic, but that was too choppy, so I went back to combining them chronologically. In the section with Kate that was much easier because we were there for the same amount of time. Gale was in Colombia for a year and half while I was only there for a week. Even including my thoughts beforehand and after, it was a challenge to make sure the voices were balanced and that the pieces fit together as a whole. I also needed the objective eye of professional editing to help put the pieces together in a way that flowed smoothly in a cohesive and cogent whole. It was important to include not only our travels, but our relationships to one another 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 delightful, fascinating trips, but I believe it will be absorbing and helpful for people to learn about my experience parenting young adults and what that balance of holding close while encouraging freedom to explore looks like in real time. It’s a dynamic process, ever evolving and it’s always so intriguing to see how other people have navigated this colorful terrain.