Country Girl World Traveler

3 Jul

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Sarah Reijonen is a country girl born to see the world. She’s been living the gypsy life with her husband since they sold their house on 80 acres and quit their jobs to travel the globe for seven months. She shares their life-changing experiences in her debut travel memoir “Country Girl: Letting Love & Wanderlust Take The Reins.”

Enter to win a signed copy of “Country Girl” by commenting below, answering the question: What is your dream travel destination?

The journey isn’t over for Sarah and her husband, ‘Spanky.’ It’s only just started. Sarah returns to her homestate of Washington for book readings and signings this summer. The globe trekking couple has sold their house (again!) and are ready for their next adventure. Sarah will make a stop at Salon Ish in downtown Puyallup, Wash., July 11 at 6 p.m. for a book signing.

“Country Girl” is an unforgettable literary experience. Readers will enjoy the stories of comical mishaps (though I’m sure they weren’t funny at the time), panning for gold, skydiving in New Zealand, spending Christmas on the beach, hiking historic trails, tales of cross-language miscommunication, taking a jungle tour in Costa Rica, and eating gallo pinto for days! The Reijonens left their mark on 20 countries on four continents (they’re now at 29 countries and counting!). Heck, they even have possums named after them in Australia.

I went to high school and college with Sarah (Go Cougs!) and caught up with my classmate for a Q and A. She will also be featured on NWbooklovers.org on July 23!

Q and A with Sarah Reijonen:

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Q: I had visions of the film “Just Married” while reading about the fiascos you had on your Europe travels. Were those crazy moments comical then or only when looking back?

A: Believe me, when my husband put gas in our diesel car right off the bat, I was not a happy camper. Yes, I was irritated at the time, but it didn’t take long to shake it off. This was another valuable lesson on our trip: You can’t hold grudges against your only ally. He was my only friend in Europe, the only person I knew. What good would it have done for me to stay mad? You have got to laugh it off.

Q: How did your trip affect your spiritual/faith journey?

A: Traveling gave me the time to reflect on the things that matter in life. Instead of being distracted by everyday tasks, I was able to be still and hear God’s still small voice. I’m not saying there was a burning bush or anything along the way, but there were definitely some key themes throughout the journey that changed the course of my spiritual walk. I started to appreciate the world around me a little more — beauty, people, God’s creativity. I think my compassionate side also grew. I have always been very moved and affected by the pain of strangers, but seeing real need face-to-face was a wake-up call. When I saw people living in the dump in Nicaragua and struggling to survive, but having no option of collecting welfare or going to a shelter or food bank, my heart broke for them. It wasn’t like, “Oh, that’s too bad.” It was like, “I have to act.” God has called me to action. I think he calls all of us to action, but it’s up to us to seize the opportunities he places before us.

Q: If you could relive one experience from your travels, what would it be?

A: The experiences that stand out most to me are those of physical feats and endurance. Hiking and camping in the Alps was magical, but I would say making it to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail stands out the most. Whether I want to relive that moment is still up in the air.

Q: By now you have more than mastered the art of packing. What are items you don’t dare leave behind?

A: My passport and clean underwear. OK, there’s a lot more than that. A camera and journal are also necessary and when it comes to clothing, a little black dress and a couple colorful scarves so I don’t get bored.

Q: What’s your next adventure?

A: I’m on it! Actually, I am writing from McCloud, Calif., right now on my way up to Washington for the summer. The hubby and I sold our house again and we are back on the road. I am currently visiting bookstores, wineries, coffee shops and salons, you name it — to promote Country Girl. In September Spanky and I are planning a return trip to New Zealand and Australia, but you know our track record with making plans. Nothing is certain until a plane ticket is purchased.

Some of my favorite “Country Girl” moments:

“Despite the trials and meltdowns, I know it will be well worth it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cry every now and then. And again. And again.”

“Most people grow out of their bravery as they get older and become more comfortable in their surroundings.”

“How you live your life is up to you. You have to go out and grab the world by the horns. Rope it before it ties you down and decides for you.”

“Home is halfway around the world if love is present.”

“Living simply is living richly.”

Pick up a copy of Country Girl at Amazon or an indie bookstore!

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2 Responses to “Country Girl World Traveler”

  1. Tina July 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Loved her perspective on life and her journey besides her honesty! It was really refreshing!!! As a horse owner now, and living in Washington, I would love to get a copy of her current book. I am collecting copies of any/all horse related books for the break room in the work-in-progress barn where our 2 horses are stabled, and this one sounded like a perfect fit!:)

    • Tina July 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      The ‘saddle’ on the world (from her cover) is the ‘connection’ to horses that I was referring to, in case I wasn’t clear.:)

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