Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Fuze Publishing, LLC; (November 7, 2011)
Book Summary: In 2005, Mark Saunders and his wife, with their dog and cat, packed up their Audi Quattro and left Portland, Oregon, for San Miguel de Allende, three thousand miles away in Mexico. Things fell apart almost from the beginning. This is their story.
Welcome Mark, and thanks for telling us how you came to write your travel memoir!
Mark: My wife and I were both in our late 50s and working in high-tech, for different companies, in Portland, Oregon, when the first thread unraveled: we discovered our jobs were going away. Suddenly, we felt boxed in—or out.
We could stay in Portland and try to find new employment. We could work as freelancers, start our own business, go on the dole. We could move and try someplace new. We weren’t sure what to do.
Of course, there were the clichés to consider. Life is short. You only go around once. Seize the day. Products of a well-rounded liberal arts education during the rock-and-roll sixties, the needle of our lives seemed stuck between the refrains of “What’s it all about, Alfie?” and “Is that all there is?”
About this time we visited a friend in Guanajuato, Mexico, over what amounted to nothing more than an extended weekend, and immediately fell in love—hook, line, and guacamole—with the colonial central highlands. It took several months to accomplish, but we dropped out, sold almost everything, packed up what was left, and moved to Mexico.
We picked San Miguel because it’s historically and culturally significant. It’s high in the mountains, semi-arid, with year-around sunshine. It’s easier if you speak Spanish but it’s not required. The town is affordable, especially by U.S. standards. Best of all, it’s a town of, by, and for artists—of all types. In fact, you can’t swing an artist in this town without hitting a writer, and if the writer ducks you’re bound to hit a jazz musician.
Funny things happened to us almost immediately and I thought I should start writing about our experiences. My first effort was a letter to friends describing the different classes of dogs. That letter became an essay, which was published in an anthology, and that essay eventually became a chapter (“Yes, We Have No Chihuahuas”) in my book.
I continued writing essays. But after two years, we hit what we now refer to as the two-year homesick wall and moved back to the States.
Re-entry was difficult. Almost immediately we regretted our return and I stopped writing the essays. Nearly three years later, we decided our hearts were still in the highlands and we were on our way back to San Miguel. It was at that point when I realized I had a book to finish. I now had my Act 3.
An independent publisher courageously offered to publish my humorous memoir. An amazing editor took my stand-alone essays and molded them into a compelling and funny narrative. A talented book designer understood my vision and exceeded my expectations.
Henry James said, “It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.” In my case, I believe I’m doing him one better. I’m living the life I could not have imagined. "
Mark Saunders' Bio:
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