zondag 2 december 2012

Interview with Savannah Grace - Sihpromatum

First of all I want to thank Savannah Grace for her wonderful book, her time to 
take this interview, the pictures and the great video! 

Who is Savannah Grace?

Savannah Grace was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. By the age of 21, she'd already traveled to nearly 100 countries and completed her first book. Currently living with her Dutch partner in The Netherlands, Savannah is writing her memoir series titled, "Sihpromatum."

Visit the website too! 

Some things we wanted to know (curious as we are) ;) 

1. How did you get the idea to share this beautiful journey with others and to write a book about it?

Mauritania local host family

The idea of writing this book was put in the air early on in our adventure, as evidenced in journal entries I’d written in Mongolia.  Once our adventure started developing into something bigger than any of us had ever anticipated, we were constantly being told by fellow travellers that we needed to write a book. The giant task of picking up the pen and creating a masterpiece about our travels was almost immediately handed over to me. We felt that telling the story from my perspective as the youngest member of the group and the fact that I was forced to go was the most unique. Also, when comparing our journals I was quickly dubbed the writer in the family.

2. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned on this journey?  

I am an entirely different person as a result of this trip. I learned first hand about the world, people, cultures, history and most importantly myself and my family. I discovered my strengths, pushed myself to achieve goals I considered impossible and learned that dreams are worth following! This is a world full of possibilities. 
I learned to appreciate and be grateful for the things I have, which is something I try not to lose. I realized that I don’t NEED all those things I thought I needed when I was living with millionaires’ kids in Vancouver.
The biggest lesson would probably be realizing that people are nice everywhere in the world. We all have the same basic wants and needs. A world considered to be wrought with hunger, despair, corruption and danger turned out to be one full of love, family values and respect. Ironically, it seems that the less people have the more willing they are to share.  

3. Which country has inspired you the most?

After visiting so many countries, all beautiful and unique in their own ways, it’s so hard to pick out just one.  How can I choose amongst trekking the Himalayan mountain range in Nepal and seeing the sun rise over Mt. Everest, snorkeling with the colorful fish in the Maldives and sun tanning on the soft white sands, canoeing through the tangled jungles of Suriname with parrots flying overhead, riding atop camels through endless mountains of sugary sand dunes across the Sahara desert in Mauritania and experiencing the historical genius of Pyramids in Sudan or the beautiful architecture of any European village, town or city. 
Almost any form of scenery gives me inspiration in my writing. 

My top countries are: Nepal, for its gorgeous mountains trekking and people; Mongolia, especially its countryside with its horses and extremely friendly people; Surinam for its jungles and multicultural atmosphere; Switzerland and its villages and great skiing; Canada’s amazing nature with waterfalls, mountains and lakes; China’s beautiful authenticity and villages; Italy’s amazing history and artwork; Maldives priceless islands, blue waters and white beaches, plus many, many more! 

4. Which ones are still on your bucket list and why?

Japan is definitely high up on my bucket list. It was one of the only countries I actually had an interest in before the trip. I grew up with lots of Japanese ESL students living in our house so I would love to go visit them. They are such incredible people!! Though I have not yet been, I think I love everything about Japan and Japanese culture. Also, my dad lived there when he was younger and speaks the language. 
I have yet to discover South East Asia. I have heard amazing things from family members about the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. with their amazing sights, people and beaches. 
I just love how Asia is so friendly, lively and beautiful. You can be comfortable and wear any kind of clothing, eat fresh, flavourful food, interact with the locals and have an adventure at the same time. 
Still need to go to Australia, New Zealand and a South America trip has been in the air for years now. 
Luckily, I have my whole life ahead of me to tick off the bucket list.

5. Are you writing a sequel and can you share with us what’s the next stage in the journey you’ll describe for your readers?

There will be a few more books in the series to come. It would be impossible for me to wrap up the entire 4 years and 80 countries in one book. The next installment covers our overland journey through Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Western China, Tibet, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. The characters will continue to grow and develop, with the group dynamic ever evolving and fluctuating. New characters and their reactions are introduced when our friends from home flew out to join us for a few weeks, each at different times. You will experience parts of the Silk Road, Tibetan monasteries, the strength of Nepali sherpas in the incredible Himalayas, the colors and chaos of India and then contrast this with the relaxing beauty of the Maldives. And of course it’ll all be tied in with the same kind of adventure, humour and excitement that was found in my first book, “Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China”. 

6. How do you feel about Europe?

I really like Europe. It’s modern but all the old architecture and history gives it a real special atmosphere. From my experience in Holland, it’s a nice place to live. It’s an ideal, central base for travelling and you can experience loads of different cultures, languages, and landscapes within a short distance. I sometimes find the people can be a bit busy and not as excited or happy but that comes from the superficial pressures of a materialistic lifestyle. 

7. What’s your favorite place to write a book?

My favorite place to write is driving in the car next to my boyfriend.  I love this because, first of all I love my boyfriend, but second the passion and inspiration lacks a bit in the stale air of an isolated room staring blankly behind your computer screen. I love being on the road in a car. I love the feeling that I’m going somewhere, that I’m on the move, even if it’s somewhat a fake sensation. Watching the beautiful Dutch scenery go by was where and how I got most of my writing done for the first book. I have a brand new computer and beautiful desk now where I can     write the second but I think a lot of it will still be done on the road. :)

8. Do you need special items around you while you’re writing?

Would coffee be considered special? Nah, I’m kidding, there were times where I’d have some small stones.. I forget the specific names for them, but I had a black one which I wore on a bracelet and another clear one which I’d wear around my neck. My boyfriend always makes fun and thinks I’m ridiculous, but whether or not the stones actually work is not important. What’s important is provoking your belief in something because we have the power to do so much. If you fully trigger that little “faith button” in your brain, unimaginable things become possible. It’s so important to believe, even if you have to put the responsibility on a lucky item. 

9. What’s your writing day like?

Oh goodness, it varies so much. Though I do have a sense of self-discipline, I cannot say I do it one way or the other. It’s all just a matter of feel for me. Sometimes I feel inspired, sometimes I don’t. At times my brain will go wild while I lay in bed at night, words and sentences forming like magic and I am forced to get out to write them down. Nights like those can easily turn into a 4am bedtime. Other times I have to sit at the desk and force myself to write. Luckily I have amazing support and with the first book my Mom was always taking care of me, bringing warm food and refilling my coffee. This time she is not with me, so I’ll be a lot more lonely and it will make things harder. I’m all over the place really, which is why I’m so impressed that I actually completed and published a book. 

10. What would you like to have achieved in ten years?

Ten years, wow! By age 32 I hope to be married and have started a family of my own.…. If everything could go exactly how I plan in the meantime I want to have completed my Sihpromatum series, become a bestselling author and make a living from my writing. This way I will be able to have the freedom to travel and live wherever I want. I’d love to learn a couple of languages (Japanese, Spanish), though that might be adding a bit too much on my plate. A 6 month-1 year South America road trip from Alaska – Antarctica is in the works.
Later on I’d like to buy a big fancy camper van and see the USA and Canada when I’m old and lazy with back problems. Though I think the trans Canada will likely come before then.
There are so many things and yet I don’t dare predict the future, because my life has been so full of twists and turns like a roller-coaster ride I never signed up for. 

I want to thank Savannah again for her GREAT answers on these questions!
Yet again she proves to be a special person with a warm look on the world 
and the people in that world!
I hope she'll become a bestselling author and I'll definitely help by reading her books and promoting them! 

My favorite quote from this article: The biggest lesson would probably be realizing that people are nice everywhere in the world. We all have the same basic wants and needs.

Castle on hill - Slovenia

We also need to thank Savannah's boyfriend for making this really cool video about the book. Enjoy this trailer and don't forget to buy 

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