Recently I did a book review of Vicki Kuyper’s wonderful book which you can read by clicking here.
The following is a Q&A with the author.
What inspired you to write Wonderlust?
I wrote this book because it was the kind of book I wanted to read, but couldn’t find. Although the general market carries a large selection of travelogues and travel-related titles, within the Christian market the only titles that ventured into other parts of the world seemed to be the biographies of missionaries. Although I enjoy reading those, I wanted more. I wanted to read about journeys that took me to parts of the world I was unfamiliar with, journeys that didn’t just offer information or vicarious adventure, but challenged me to fall more deeply in love with God and His world—and the people in it.
Also, for as far back as I can remember I’ve always experienced life as a series of parables. Since travel (especially international travel), means leaving the comfort zone of my usual routine, it’s usually a time when I’m intensely alert and aware, dependent on God and ready to learn. That’s probably why some of the most memorable “parables” of my life have happened on the road. I wanted to get these stories down on paper, so I wouldn’t forget what God had taught me. In the process, I felt that others—especially those who may not have had the chance to experience firsthand the amazing places I’ve seen—could learn from the lessons I’d been taught, as well as simply enjoy catching a unique glimpse of God and His world.
What would you like readers to take away from reading Wonderlust?
We’re all on a pilgrimage in this life, a journey that will either lead us closer, or farther away, from the heart of God. When we travel, we’re often more open to trying new things, paying attention to details, and allowing ourselves to be pulled out of our comfort zone. In other words, it’s the perfect opportunity for God to stretch our understanding of ourselves and Him. The more we get in the habit of treating each new day like a journey to a foreign country, the more open we’ll be to learn and grow.
My hope is that Wonderlust will do more than expand readers’ knowledge of, and interest in, the amazingly diverse world that surrounds us. I want to challenge readers to take a fresh look at the truth of Romans 1:20. If God’s invisible attributes are visible through all He has made, what can the world teach us about the character and power of our heavenly Father? I hope this book will be a catalyst, that it will open the eyes of those who have an interest in travel to look for God, instead of just adventure, in each journey they take—even if that journey leads them no farther than their own backyard.
What is your favorite chapter in the book?
Every chapter has a very special place in my heart, because every journey God has taken me on has been a unique learning experience. Though I can’t really use the word “favorite” to describe it, the chapter on my trip to Morocco would probably be the one I’m most proud of. Perhaps that’s because it was the most difficult to write—and to live. This chapter was not part of the original outline for Wonderlust, but the more I wrote, the more this journey just seemed to belong in this book. I’ve met so many people who have experienced abuse and struggled with forgiveness, that I hope sharing my story will help others talk about, and deal with, pain from their own past.
What has been your favorite place that you have traveled?
I’ve often said that if I had two lives to live, one would be spent teaching English in Cambodia. Although visiting Angkor Wat was a longtime dream, and fascinating from your basic “tourist” point of view, it was meeting the people of Cambodia that was the biggest delight. Here were people who had experienced almost unfathomable heartache throughout the era of the “killing fields.” But, instead of being despondent or bitter, the people I spent time with seemed to have a deep sense of joy and a grasp on what was truly important in life. Even though their culture was so different from my own, I felt right at home there. Who knows? Someday I may wind up leading that “second life” in Cambodia. God’s filled my life with lots of unexpected twists and turns.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’ve been married to a wonderful guy named Mark for almost 30 years and have two extremely fun grown children. I love spending time with them doing anything and everything. Also, I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, and any time the temperatures dip below 110° I like to head for a good hiking trail. I also love to travel, as anyone who’s read Wonderlust can certainly guess. Whenever I can squeeze a trip in, particularly to somewhere I’ve never been before, you’ll find me with a suitcase in hand, usually stuffed with more books than clothing.
What is God teaching you these days?
The longer I’m in relationship with God and the closer I draw to Him, the more I realize how big He is and how little I know. In that respect, every day brings up new questions that keep me coming back to my heavenly Father and the Bible with an open heart, ready to learn. I think right now He’s showing me how little faith has to do with our feelings—how true faith is continuing to move ahead and draw closer to God on those days when it feels as though God is silent. Patience, perseverance and learning to be comfortable with the quiet are all lessons I’m in the midst of learning.