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Award-winning memoirist Meg Stafford has an adventurous spirit, and this time she takes us along for the ride. When her daughters venture into terra incognita—one of them meditating in the Himalayas and the other providing unarmed accompaniment in the Colombian countryside—Stafford decides to go along. In the process, she reflects on her own lifetime of wanderlust and what it means for a parent to love and to let go. Generous, insightful, and deeply funny, Stafford is the ideal tour guide for a journey as big as the world and as intimate as the human heart.
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A Message from Meg
Parenting & Family
Travel: Guides & Essays
Global Book Awards
Gold Award: Parenting and Relationships
Gold Award: Travel and Guidebooks
Silver Award: Biographical/Travel
Reader Views Literary Awards
Silver Award: Parenting and Families
Bronze Award: Body/Mind/Spirit
Nautilus Book Awards
Memoir/Personal Growth/Travel Memoir
IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards
Silver Award: Travel
Showcasing her impressive storytelling skills that fully engage and entertain her readers, "Who Will Accompany You?" will have a very special appeal and value for readers with an interest in parenting girls -- and teenage/young adult girls at that! Blending elements of the memoir, with a travelogue, and illustrative parenting anecdotes, "Who Will Accompany You?" is an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "Who Will Accompany You?" is also available from River Grove Books in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Midwest Book Review
In her book, Who Will Accompany You?: My Mother-Daughter Journeys Far from Home and Close to the Heart, Meg Stafford chronicles her and her daughters’ trips. When Kate, her younger daughter, decides to visit Bhutan for her senior project at only seventeen years old, Meg is understandably taken aback. Two years later, it comes as just as much of a shock when Gale, her twenty-three-year-old daughter, decides to visit Colombia as an accompanier. Regardless, she supports their respective endeavours, making sure to accompany them for a bit of the way. Read on for a vivid byplay of their adventures.
A standout feature of the book is the way in which it was written. The tone was lighthearted and very self-aware—a trait I find most tourist recollections tend to lack. Readers will be gratified to find there is only one minor error in the entire book, speaking well to its editing quality.
An unbroken thread of humour made Who Will Accompany You? a delight to get through, and I appreciated the mentions of unique aspects of the different locales that made it feel as if I were really there accompanying Meg and her daughters. Profanity was present but scarce, so this shouldn’t be too large a deterrent to readers.
I loved the addition of Kate’s journal entries and the emails from Gale. The photos were also a boon, and I always feel content of this nature only serves to boost the realistic quality of nonfiction books. Weirdly enough, I loved Kate’s inability to connect with some of the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and the practice of meditation. She questioned karma, dharma, and the separation of ‘I’ from the rest of ourselves, all without dismissing what was being taught in the course. It’s a stark contrast to the travel guides that typically boast of an immediate connection with the ideologies of the places in question. Though it was something she was looking forward to, she was firm in her own beliefs and way of thinking that it was hard to correlate what was being taught with her own search for happiness, outright expressing her frustration at the rather contradicting cycle of Buddhism ideals. This was refreshing to read about.
I think beneath all the travelling ups and downs, the message apparent in the title was always prevalent. When Meg was on her journey, she was accompanied by Lisa and Lila. She went on to explore Kathmandu and Bhutan with Kate and then accompanied Gale for a brief time in Colombia. Through it all, she and her family shared their own little nuggets with each other, doing frequent checks on each other without intruding on their enjoyment of their chosen destinations. At home, she always had the support of her husband, Duke. That they allowed their loved ones the freedom of choice was something I respected and admired.
Towards the end of the book, Meg imparts some wisdom on personality types and how they affect those around them (especially relating to people bit by the travelling bug), using her knowledge as a therapist as a sort of foundation for this.
Who Will Accompany You? deserves no less than a full five out of five-star rating. With an excellent style of writing, a conversant retelling of events, and multiple perspectives showing how each woman was affected by each place she visited, the positives of the book are varied and numerous. I enjoyed being able to viscerally witness and experience the sights through Meg, Gale, and Kate. This book will be a fitting read for fans of travelogues and vacation journals. Those with an interest in Nepal, Bhutan, and Colombia are sure to glean pearls of wisdom for their potential trips to these places.
by Sara Schmidt, OnlineBookClub.org
Who Will Accompany You?: My Mother-Daughter Journeys Far from Home and Close to the Heart
Award-winning memoirist Meg Stafford has an adventurous spirit, and this time she takes us along for the ride. When her daughters venture into terra incognita—one of them meditating in the Himalayas and the other negotiating with the Colombian military—Stafford decides to go too. In the process, she reflects on her own lifetime of wanderlust and what it means for a parent to love and to let go. Generous, insightful, and deeply funny, Stafford is the ideal tour guide for a journey as big as the world and as intimate as the human heart.
Meg Stafford's book Who Will Accompany You?: My Mother-Daughter Journeys Far from Home and Close to the Heart is a wonderful literary journey that takes readers on a captivating adventure through different lands and cultures. Her writing is vivid and descriptive, creating a sense of being right there with her as she explores new and exciting destinations. You will love how she supports her daughters' decisions and the choices they make, especially when it comes to travel.
What makes the book even more engaging is Stafford's curious nature, which allows her to immerse herself in different cultures and appreciate the similarities and differences between people from various parts of the world; different bathroom facilities for instance. Her insights are enlightening and provide a refreshing perspective on how we all share a common bond despite our differences.
One of the most moving aspects of Stafford's book is the personal journey of her daughters Kate, and Gale. Through their honest and introspective journal entries, readers gain insight into the challenges and rewards of self-discovery, resiliency, and personal growth in new and unfamiliar environments. Meg's journal entries contain plenty of insight as well and offer a good balance with the daughters' perspectives.
Watching your children struggle is an issue all parents must contend with and that topic is handled well here, as Meg relinquishes much of her control or need to control every aspect of her daughters' lives. Letting go is an important and notable element in the book making way for growth and change for all involved. The book speaks to the power of family support and the resiliency of the human spirit, as Kate and Gale learn to navigate their new environments and come out stronger and more confident individuals.
The book is not just about the travels of a mother and daughter, but also about the transformative power of travel itself. Through Stafford's experiences and observations, readers are reminded of the immense value of immersing oneself in new and unfamiliar cultures and the impact they can have on personal growth and development. Travel is truly an important type of education.
Overall, Stafford's book is a beautiful tribute to the joys and challenges of travel, the importance of cultural exchange, and the power of personal growth and self-discovery. Her writing is thoughtful, fun, and inspiring. Readers will certainly come away from the book with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the world we live in. This book is highly recommended for anyone who loves to travel, or who is simply looking for an engaging and thought-provoking read.
What a heart-warming and emotional ride! This memoir does not stick you in the back seat but allows you the liberty of riding ‘shotgun’. Upfront, you witness the deeply poignant tale Meg Stafford and her daughters weave together. From soaring heights to silent temples, whatever adventure there is to experience and feel is yours too. There is something so complementary about travel and the human mind. We always learn and connect. Who will accompany you on your travels? What different encounters can you enjoy with others? Bilbo Baggins said it best when he told Frodo: “You step onto the road, and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Hayley Haun, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest
"Meg and her daughters’ prose put me right there: trekking in Nepal or bouncing on the bus in remote Colombia. With humor and so much heart, this is more than a travel story; it’s the story of letting go and watching your children fly."
Kathleen Klofft, Travel Educator and Editor of GoSeeItTravel.com
"So profoundly moving, so beautifully crafted, so brave.
This is a story about being true to oneself. Stafford brings all of herself to the reader as she shares her fears, doubts, triumphs, excitement, and love of life. This book is 100% authentic —because it is so human, so real."
Susan Frankl, MD, Harvard Medical School
"Join Stafford as she shares her unusual and adventurous travels, both as a parent and as a global citizen. She explores a parent’s central dilemma: How do we hold our children close and allow them the freedom to grow and be themselves? She asks, Where are we headed in life? Who will come with us on the journey? And she doesn’t hide the struggle as she tries (with love, curiosity and humor) to find the answers."
Fran Booth, LICSW trainer, Internal Family Systems
“Meg is an accomplished therapist, memoirist and organizational consultant. Now with “Who Will Accompany You?,” her second memoir, Meg illuminates how there may be no greater test in parenting than trekking around the globe with your adult daughters. While she will always be mom, this is a delightful masterclass in auditioning one another as adult fellow travelers. A humor-filled, and colorful triumph! The voices of Meg, Kate and Gale are distinct while their love, humor and trust are the bungee cords holding these three together, supple and strong.”
Mark Gianino, PhD, MSW
Clinical Associate Professor
Boston University School of Social Work
“I can’t stop talking about this book! Its touching anecdotes and descriptions of unusual places keep finding their way into my conversation. From exotic or risky parts of the world, Meg Stafford’s courageous daughters meld awareness, service, and international adventure at such young ages.
Shepherded by the keen awareness of a mom who supports their global journeys, “Who Will Accompany You” speaks to many angles of staying true to our own paths. I adore the rotating voices and perspectives of a mother and two daughters, woven together by a warm, golden thread of rich spirituality and love. This book will stay with you. Don’t miss it.”
Thought Leader & Happiness Coach
Author of “The Spark of Self-Love” and forthcoming “Self-Solidarity Solution”
Meg Stafford is a writer who loves exploration of all kinds. Her 2011 memoir, Topic of Cancer: Riding the Waves of the Big C, won six literary awards (including being named “Best First Book” by the IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Awards) for its engrossing and hilarious portrayal of surviving and thriving after a life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer. For 25 years she has been observing how small, remarkable moments enrich our lives in her monthly newspaper column, “A Moment’s Notice.” As a social worker in private practice, she’s been helping others negotiate the terrain of relationships and connections for over 35 years. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two dogs and one large cat.
Gale Stafford has been teaching high school Spanish in Massachusetts since 2016. She continues to pursue her love of dance, seeks out musical performances of all types, and attentively develops her skill in making colorful handmade pasta. She is considering her next pursuits, both professionally and in her top places to explore, including Oaxaca, Reykjavik, and Wellington.
Kate Stafford has returned to the UK to study Developmental Psychology at University College London, based at the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families. Her passion for Ultimate Frisbee led her to captain her team’s championship at University in Edinburgh. She will undoubtedly visit more of the surrounding countries over the next several years.