Alan Parks: Good Morning!! I hope your Sunday is as sunny as mine is!! I would like to welcome Savannah Grace to our Sunday Spotlight today. Savannah’s book, Sihpromatum- I Grew my Boobs in China, http://smarturl.it/Sihpromatum is an Amazon bestseller!! This is your chance to ask Savannah any questions!!
Savannah Grace: Good morning everyone! I let my crazy writer’s schedule take over last night and was awake until 3am but I’m excited to be joining #WLM this relatively sunny Sunday morning. Thank you so much for the opportunity! Fire away
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Good morning Savannah – 4 years – 80 countries – wow what a busy lady you are – how the heck did you find time to write?
Cherry Gregory: Good morning, Savannah. Thanks for agreeing to be in Spotlight Sunday. Enjoy your day.
–Where are you living now?
Savannah Grace: Oh, I feel honoured to be invited as the spotlight author. After the big family trip ended when I was 18 I followed my young heart and moved to Holland. Still here and loving it as a central base to continue traveling at a slower pace. I started this year with a 5 day ski trip in the French Alps. It’s been really wonderful. – Cherry Gregory
Savannah Grace: Anne Wine O’clock Durrant I kept a journal every single day to the point that it became an addiction. I documented every smell, meal, site, thought, even dialogue. I didn’t start writing the actual book until the trip ended. It was only intended to be a one year RTW family trip around Asia, South East Asia, and down to Australia… We got a bit carried away and I’ve still never been to Oceania. – Photo is a line of the family journey. Black represents flights, red is ALL by land using local transport until the later stages of Africa where we basically high jacked my now BF’s truck.
Joy Hughes: I have to confess that I have not yet read your book Savannah although it is on my Kindle along with many others. I was intrigued by the title initially and then the blurb drew me right into the purchase. From your young age (in comparison to me), I have been wondering what have been the best and worst aspects of such a nomadic lifestyle?
Savannah Grace: I’m glad to know you have a copy! Would love to know what you think when you get the chance to read it Joy Hughes. One of the best aspects to a nomadic life is the amount of freedom I get. Being able to have the choice to do what I want when it feels right is important to me. The negative to this i,s like I said at the beginning of this chat (going to bed at 3am), I have absolutely no structure. Sometimes that can be tiring and I miss out on the regular flow of things. I can go anywhere in a moments notice but most people need more time than that to plan, so I sometimes miss opportunities, if that makes sense.
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: I admire the fact that you kept a journal – hope I can be so dedicated with mine when I start my next adventure in March. Do you still keep up the daily diary?
Savannah Grace: Oh, that’s exciting Anne Wine O’clock Durrant! Where are you off to?! I am not nearly as dedicated to the journal now. I suppose my life isn’t as exciting anymore. I think it’s strange that on the road I was doing so much more but had the time to write. When we travelled we didn’t have any electronics, only a book and a journal so reading and writing were my only two options for night time activities. Nowadays I jot down weekly notes on my iPhone. I do feel like I lost a part of my soul and structure when I stopped journaling. I definitely make a point to write a journal on trips, it’s so important. So please please make sure you keep some notes at the very least. You will you be so happy you did!!
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Hubby and I have just retired, bought a campervan and are going to drive, with our dog, from UK to Corfu – fpr 3 months. I am planning on writing a blog/journal/diary.
Savannah Grace: Oh lucky you! That is so exciting, sounds amazing. I’d love to do a camper van trip one day. Will you stop by in Holland? We will be sure to follow you here on WLM!!
Joy Hughes: I am interested in your comment Savannah, that you felt you lost a part of your soul when you stopped writing a journal. My journal writing started out as a child, recording thoughts related to family events but quite unintentionally evolved into something more personal, my spiritual journey through fifty-plus decades, unpacking my soul to myself, if that makes sense?
Savannah Grace: I think you can really relate to the feeling then. For me my journal, in a sense was my escape/friend. Being on the road and having all those experiences was an amazing experience but sometimes it was lonely. My journal defined who I was in a way. When a trip like that ends it leaves you feeling a bit lost too.
Dodie Shea: Where are you originally from Savannah?
Savannah Grace: I’m from Vancouver, Canada
Sue Clamp: If you had to choose one place you had visited as a place to live, where would it be (not counting Holland!)?
Susan Joyce: Good morning Savannah Grace! Sorry to be late joining you. It’s still early in South America. I have a friend named Savannah Mae. Love the name Savannah. Journals have been my friends since childhood, so I understand your feelings about their importance, especially when traveling, wanting to remember the sights, sounds, and smells of new places. How did you choose Holland as your home base? Is writing your livelihood?
Savannah Grace: Hi Sue Clamp, hmmm, that’s a hard one! I really loved Mauritius when I was there last year… I think I could live there. Or Italy.
–Susan Joyce, whereabouts in South America? It sounds so warm, when I’m sitting here in the brrrr cold. I’ve only been to Suriname in S.America. Would love to discover more. Thank you for the compliment. Exactly! I am obsessed with trying to bring the memories to life and to be able to keep them with me forever. Yes, I write for a living while doing some projects on the side like real estate. I’d actually never been to Holland before I moved here nearly 5 years ago. I met and fell in love with a Dutch guy while we were travelling in Africa. The whole family ended up “high-jacking” his overland truck and traveling another 8 months with him. I’m so happy to have found someone who shares my passion for travel. We’ve been to something like 35 countries together already. -photo taken 2008 Kenya.
Susan Joyce: Savannah, thanks for answering my questions. I suspected there was a loving man reason for Holland. Hollanders are special people. I live in Uruguay. A country little known until the World Cup four years ago. Put the country on the map. Are you writing a book now?
Savannah Grace: Yes, the Dutch can be quite blunt sometimes, lol. Oh that’s lovely! I may have to give you a call if I end up in your neighborhood . How did you end up there? Yes, I’m writing the sequel to “Grew My Boobs in China”. The first one covers family drama prior to taking off and our travels through China and Mongolia. The one I’m working on recounts our travels through Russia, Kazakhstan (country little known before Borat), Kyrgyzstan, Western China, Tibet, Nepal, India and The Maldives. I’m currently working on the trek to Everest Base Camp.
Susan Joyce: Savannah Grace, look forward to hearing from you when you make it to SA. Your new book sounds fascinating as well as your first. How did you come up with the title? What age were you when you started traveling with your family?
Sarah Jane Butfield: Hi Savannah Grace, sorry to be late, I love the Maldives which islands did you visit?
Savannah Grace: Thank you Susan Joyce! I can’t wait. Sihpromatum is a made up word that means a blessing in disguise. I was 14 when my mom decided we were going to backpack around the world. I was LESS than thrilled by the idea. Actually, I thought my whole world had ended…. in a sense it did, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. My boyfriend actually came up with the subtitle. It really was the perfect one because it covers everything; coming of age, travel and humor.
Savannah Grace: We stayed on one of the smaller island. We went straight from the airport to our island, Asdu Sun Island Resort by boat. You are right, The Maldives are absolutely incredible. Definitely at the top of my list of “to go back to”. Whereabouts were you?- Sarah Jane Butfield
Sarah Jane Butfield: Awesome we have been to Kuredu island twice and Male once, I love the seaplanes. I could go again and again. I keep hinting that for my special 50 birthday in a couple of years we could go, but no one is taking the bait or making an offer yet!! I am currently in South West France, we came here after four and half years in Australia.
Savannah Grace: Wow, sounds like you’ve been all over the place!!! Oh, luckily you’re in France, I can’t imagine how long or expensive flights would be from the states. I will totally go with you for your 50th!! Where are you originally from? I still haven’t been to Australia, would love to go. My sister did the “Best Job in the World” down there and was on National Geographic for the 6 episode show. It looked amazing.
Sarah Jane Butfield: Australia is amazing, so much we didn’t get to see, we will definitely return, even its just to do ‘the lap’ which would be awesome.We used to have a camper called ‘Itchy feet’ when we were in Qld and we always said we would do ‘the lap’ in her. Maldives here we come!! I am originally from Suffolk in UK, you must visit Australia put it on your bucket list, you can;t be outdone by your sister.
Savannah Grace: Hhahah, you’re right Sarah Jane Butfield. I suppose I can’t! But I’ll have a hard time catching up since she’s in Mexico right now petting baby leopards and then off to Guatemala and Belize. I will definitely go to Australia one day and will ask some tips from you. You wouldn’t believe, I’ve never been to England either… Sometimes I don’t believe I’ve been to 99 countries.
Susan Joyce: It’s a big world, but gets smaller when you dream big.
Sarah Jane Butfield: Get out!! how can you not visit England, let me know when you go to both UK and Aus for tips!! Leopards are cool but seeing endangered species like cassowary birds walking across the road whilst you wait and report the sighting is pretty awesome too
Savannah Grace: I will, I will!!! I want to, I do. I feel completely ashamed now, lol.
Elaine Beckham: This might seem like a simple question to you Savannah Grace, but – how the heck do you make sure you do a journal every day? I’ve tried, sort of, to do a journal and just haven’t been dlsiplined enough…. I’m 68 and am selling up and traveling the world for 9 to 12 months later this year…. I need help on how to journal!
Savannah Grace: Hhah, oh my goodness, for such a simple question it’s a hard one to answer. When I started out my Mom forced me (luckily) to keep one. It wasn’t until I realized my passion for writing that I was able to commit to it. If you love to write and you are observant, journaling will come naturally. It’s easier to keep one while traveling because there is so much to write about. I’m not sure what kind of travels you’re planning (would love to know more! Where, when, how) but try to minimize distractions like t.v., internet and pick a TIME of day to write…Also, deciding if you prefer handwriting or typing will help. I personally enjoy writing by hand better, that way it feels like more of an art. If you can’t find the umph to write every day, perhaps write weekly on a blog, or just jot down the highlights. Don’t be too hard on yourself, that’s my struggle. I hope that helps, Elaine Beckham
Susan Joyce: Good advice!
Elaine Beckham: Definitely helps Savannah – I’m hoping to do a little blog – more with photos that words as I find people only read just so much before they blank out I’ll try not to be too hard on myself !! I’m planning on spending 3 months in Australia and 4 or more in England and Ireland…. and then there are the stops in between, where ever those may be
Susan Joyce: Elaine, sounds like quite the adventure. Look forward to following your journal.
Elaine Beckham: I’m wondering if I should start it now…. with all the emotions I am having about selling my house and most of my possessions….. kind of wish I could just walk away and let someone else handle it, but thats not completely possible.
Savannah Grace: Elaine Beckham I would definitely start taking notes of your emotions now! It’s so important and nice to
–Look back and read it. That does sound exciting. And warm!! I agree with what you say about the photos too.
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Elaine and I have already spoken about this – we are both selling up and downsizing for our adventures. I dont suppose we will have the internet for part of our travels so handwriting, photos and then typing up as and when – but I don’t know where to record it all – that is my problem at the moment.
Susan Joyce: Anne, Back in the day, when I first started traveling, I kept a small spiral notebook. It fit easily into my purse and was handy to get to when I had a thought or image to jot down. I still use small notebooks when I travel.
Savannah Grace: Really smart and handy! Sometimes I miss older, more basic ways.
Cherry Gregory: I like to carry a small notebook with me anyway, even if I’m only travelling a few miles into the nearest town. Then it’s always there if I get an idea!
–I haven’t read your book yet, Savannah, so I don’t know why you mum decided to take you backpacking around the world, but who did you travel with? You mentioned a sister, have you any more siblings?
Susan Joyce: Savannah Grace, top of page states your book is an amazon best seller. Congratulations! Please tell us how this happened. I understand it has to do with the number of 5 star reviews one receives. I see you have received many.
Savannah Grace: My parents separated and that triggered the idea. Mom decided to go traveling instead of taking over the family business. We initially went with mom, sister (17), brother (25) and me (14). Then Dad joined. Then my other brother joined for 5 months in west africa. We had six of us at one point backpacking and couch surfing with locals in Africa.
Cherry Gregory: It sounds absolutely fantastic, though daunting too. I know travelling itself is an education, but did you keep up with any formal learning?
Susan Joyce: Couch surfing is a wonderful program.
Savannah Grace: Susan I think it has to do with the number of sales you get in a short amount of time. I’ve been #1 in a few categories. I’m also the #1 seller in Black Bond Books, one of Vancouver’s local bookstores.
–Cherry Gregory because it was only meant to be a year, we put formal schooling to the side. I was the only one of my siblings still in school. After the few years of traveling I went back and they let me skip a few years and I graduated with nearly straight A’s. I did two independent studies which both received 100%. I stressed a lot about my school so was elated with the way it worked out.
–Susan couch surfing really is a wonderful way to travel. Such a great way to experience the culture, local cuisine and meet local people
Cherry Gregory: That you skipped a few years and still got straight A’s etc shows the educational value of your travelling…and how bright you are! It worked out well for you.
Savannah Grace: Thank you. Yes I feel really fortunate. And traveling keeps your mind open and in motion.
Susan Joyce: Yes, congratulations on your A scores and your determination to make it happen. Hearing other languages is a fun part of travel. Do you speak other languages?
Savannah Grace: We never stayed long enough in one place to really learn the languages. But I do speak quite a bit of Dutch now after living here. Problem is everyone speaks such great English that it always flips to English.
Susan Joyce: I understand. All the Dutch people I met spoke at least four other languages.
Jennifer Herrick-Weatherstone: Many thanks for such a great book, I look forward to the sequel enormously. I hope your family are all well, it was good to get to know them in the boobs book!
Savannah Grace: So happy you got the chance to read it Jennifer Herrick-Weatherstone !! I’m working hard at the second book. Everyone is doing really well. Bree is on a trip in Central America right now. And yes, most Europeans speak several languages. So lucky!
Frank Kusy: Hi Savannah, I just read your book sample, really enjoyed it! So sorry you had to give away Harrison your beloved dog, what happened to him? p.s. LOVE your bk cover, what part of the world is that?
Savannah Grace: Thanks so much Frank Kusy! Never saw him again still hurts to think about it. Thank you!! It’s Yangshuo southern China. One of the first place we went and one of my favourite spots.
Alan Parks: Savannah, sorry I have been out all day. I saw you talking about Everest base camp, and comparing it to editing your sequel the other day. How far up Everest did you go?
Savannah Grace: Hiked the Everest Base camp trek. 18,505 feet. It was incredible. I recommend everyone do that once in their life. It’s gorgeous and a relatively easy, trek.
Susan Joyce: Savannah Grace, Thanks for your time today. Great interview! I look forward to reading your book soon.
Savannah Grace: Thanks for joining Susan!!! I’ve really been enjoying let me know when you do. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Linda Kovic-Skow: Wow Savannah Grace! You had such an awesome opportunity, traveling the world at such a young age. I can’t wait to read your book.It sounds like a fascinating journey. How long will it take you to complete your sequel? Can you tell me a little about the process? Do you have a title yet?
Savannah Grace: I do Feel blessed with the opportunity i was given. I cant wait for you to read it . I’m hoping to have the second out by the end of the year. The first book took me 2 years to write. Are you working on one right now? Which part do you want to know? The writing or publishing process? No, no title yet. It’s the hardest part!!! So difficult to choose the right one.
Linda Kovic-Skow: Yes Savannah Grace I’m plugging away on my sequel, so I was curious about your writing process. I haven’t read your book, but I just checked your “Look Inside” and downloaded it onto my Kindle. Like me, it looks like you took your journal entries and expanded them into a book that reads like a novel (narrative non-fiction).
Alan Parks: Do you find you become blasé about you travels, since you have been to so many places?
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: I have been off doing a bit of downsizing – why oh why did I keep so much blumin stuff. Never mind I will get there – the Charity shop is going to do well out of me. I have just caught up with all your comments. I am looking forward to reading your book(s). Are you and your man settled into domestic bliss or are you planning some more adventures soon? xxx
Savannah Grace: Oh that’s great! The first few chapters of before going are all from memory as I had no journal back then. The rest comes from journal entries, brain storming with family, photos and blogs. With the first book I just chose scene to write and worked on them individually until they were perfect. This time I’m doing it in drafts. First outline, then going through the ideas and expanding, clipping, adding detail, cutting. How did u do yours?
–Honestly Alan Parks it sometimes is difficult to remember all the places (hence why I’m so adamant about keeping journals). I’ve been to over 500 cities/towns/villages so it can become a bit numbing in the memory department but I’m never underwhelmed. I’m always excited and half the time I’m traveling I think people assume I’ve never been outside of my house before. Though I don’t think I will ever have that first impression shock again.
–I can’t wait for you to read my work Anne Wine O’clock Durrant. It’s amazing after living a simpler life you realize how little you actually NEED. We just bought our first house but are always traveling somewhere. We’ve been talking about doing a S. America trip one day.
Linda Kovic-Skow: Savannah Grace, We share common ground. I’m doing just the same thing, although the perfectionist in me sometimes gets in the way of a rough draft, lol. Do have any more pictures to share with us?
Victoria Twead: I’m rather late, but I’ve just been reading through this awesome Fred. Wow, what an interesting person you are, Savannah, and thank you so much for sitting under the WLM spotlight today!
–Oooh, and I’d love to see some more pics, too!
Savannah Grace: I am on Pinterest and Instagram both under @sihpromatum
Savannah Grace Here’s a pic of Chinese ruins. I cover this in book #2.
Savannah Grace: Scuba diving with my book in Mauritius
Savannah Grace: Starting bottom left clockwise is my brother sky, me, dad, sister Bree, brother Ammon and mom eating dinner with a local couch surfing family in Mauritania, West Africa.
Savannah Grace: Oh it’s been so much fun Victoria Twead I’m so happy for the opportunity to interact with all the wonderful people in this group.
–Oh and photos are all on my site sihpromatum.com. There are photos from 100 countries on there
–A few of my Favorite experiences. Private 1 hr Walk with lions in Mauritius.
Savannah Grace: Riding ostrich in South Africa. Photo is of my sister.
Savannah Grace: And of course bathing with elephants in Nepal
Alan Parks: WOW!
Joy Hughes: Amazing photos. For so many of us, experiences of which we are only able to dream.
Cherry Gregory: Fantastic photos!
Savannah Grace: Thank you so much!
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Wow such great photos – I will pop over and have a look at some more soon – after dinner – just opened a bottle of Zinfandel – cheers m’dears.
Susan Joyce: Awesome photos. What an adventure. Your mom is extraordinary to have known the value of moving on and growing as a family. Are the books a family business?
Savannah Grace: We are all involved with the book and they are an incredible support. I do the writing and their help in making website, promoting and selling is what has made it get this far. Could never have done it without their encouragement! I love them so much.
–Sun rising over Mount Everest!!! An amazingly rewarding view.
Cherry Gregory: That’s beautiful, Savannah.
–Just one last question from me, Savannah! Did you do much travelling before you were 14?
Susan Joyce Good question Cherry!
Savannah Grace: Thanks Cherry Gregory that is a good one. We did lots of local activities and tours for our company. And had covered 30+ States on family camping trips but Id never been abroad before. And I had NO interest in going abroad which is why it was so hard for me to give up everything to go on the trip. Luckily it all turned out for the best.
Cherry Gregory: 30+ states on camping trips is still a terrific amount. It must have been good preparation but still a shock to know you were going to travel round the world and leave everything behind.
–Thank you so much for answering our questions and giving us such interesting answers. I love the photos and will look them up on your website. Good luck with your sequel and your future travels!
Savannah Grace: It’s been so much fun. I’m really enjoying the talk today. It was a huge shock. Thank you so much!!
Susan Joyce: Are your parents good friends after all these adventures?
Savannah Grace: They got back together after about 2 years. They’re still together now, 35 years married with a bit of a hiccup along the way.
Susan Joyce: Bet the family adventures changed everyone in a positive way. Nice to know.
–Time to fix dinner here. Thanks again for your time today.
Savannah Grace: Happily done it sure did change us all.
Linda Kovic-Skow: Thanks for the lovely interview Savannah Grace. I checked out your Pinterest pages, lots of great photos there too!
Savannah Grace: Thanks Linda Kovic-Skow! I saw that!!! Thank you
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Thanks so much Savannah – I feel I know a lot more about you now. If you ever get to England – give me a shout – would love to meet you – if I am around. If we get to Holland on our way home I will give you a shout xx
Savannah Grace: Wonderful! I definitely will. Would be great to meet you. And we can make a photo of us for #wlm best of luck and happy travels
Victoria Twead: Thank you soooo much for taking part, Savannah, it’s been fascinating reading! Good luck with your sequel, and please let me know which 2 people you’d like to give copies of your book to.
Savannah Grace: Oh, thank you for inviting me. I had such a nice time chatting with #WLM members. It’s sooo hard to choose just two winners. I’m going to pick 3 if that’s alright. I just couldn’t make up my mind, I would love to give a copy to Cherry Gregory, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant and Susan
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Wow thanks very much sweetie – will look forward to reading it when I am on my adventure xxxx
Susan Joyce: Yeah, I’m a winner. Thanks you Savannah Grace! I look forward to reading it. Thanks also to Victoria for organizing SS & MM on WLM.
Victoria Twead: Three Prizes sent! Happy reading, Susan Joyce, Anne Wine O’clock Durrant and Cherry Gregory.
Susan Joyce: Thanks Victoria!
Anne Wine O’clock Durrant: Received thanks
Susan Joyce: Received also. Many thanks!
Savannah Grace: You’re welcome!! Can’t wait for you to read it. Enjoy! Yes, big thanks to Victoria for doing such a great job making such an exciting group.
Cherry Gregory: Thank you, Savannah! And thank you, Victoria. I’m looking forward to reading it and will write a review.
Savannah Grace: That would be great. Enjoy!!