About Me as a Writer

Loren and Walter elephants

I started writing at the age of seven.   In a diary, that is.  I wrote often and candidly.  You know, about my elementary-school crushes and slumber parties.  I started dream journal-ing and dabbled in fiction writing, children’s literature, and poetry, thanks to a high school creative writing class.  All the while, I kept writing in my diary – this time mostly about how my hair wasn’t straight or curly -but some horrible mix of in-between – and about the embarrassment of losing my 10th grade election to a class troublemaker who traded Tiger Beer for votes and was sitting solo in detention when the results were announced.  I doubled up on English classes so I could forgo AP Calculus.  At the University of Virginia, I honed my political writing skills by earning a degree in Foreign Affairs.  Not sure how I ended up with a second degree in Economics – too many numbers, too little writing – but some part of me must have thought it would have been a good idea.

After university, I spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer, serving in Mozambique (2003-2005), Venezuela (2005-2006), Sudan (2008-2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), and Thailand (2010-2011).  Took a year off in there somewhere to earn a master’s degree in International Studies. I wrote often and I wrote – well – pretty candidly as a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service.  About the fragile, but successful democracy and giant prawns in Mozambique; drug dealers and the animated rants of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; the nefarious regime of Al Bashir and the imminent secession of the south in Sudan; and the disappointing U.S.-China climate negotiations in Washington, D.C.  Before I had a chance to write at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, I resigned my work as a diplomat to be a stay-at-home mom.

The one part of my personal time that I was unwilling to sacrifice completely to full-time parenthood was my writing.  So I started freelancing – writing about wonderful travel destinations (with family, in particular) and the joys and frustration of parenthood.  I also started this blog – Toddle Joy –  a blog on traveling the world with children and the wonderful discoveries in foreign countries that I thought others should know about.

My primary job is still to be a full-time mom to my three little ones (ages four, two, and 10 months).  But when the kids sleep, I write.  Which means I need a good make-up artist to cover the now-permanent bags under my eyes.   I’ve written for The New York Times, CNN Travel, Travel+Leisure Southeast AsiaBangkok Mothers and Babies International Magazine, and guest posted for premier parenting blogs such as World Moms Blog.

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