I’m getting so excited! Our book is coming together nicely and I can’t wait until I can announce it’s ready to go! We are hoping it’ll be available in late July, but I think August is probably more realistic. Here is the preface I wrote to place the story in time and space. Any suggestions on how I can improve this are greatly appreciated!
The year was 1990 and the world as we knew it was about to change. When John and I flew into Pakistan that day, we had never heard of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda and the Taliban were unknown entities and wouldn’t be introduced to the world for many years yet. Pakistan was a sleepy little country nestled between India, Iran and Afghanistan – and we had no reason to believe it would change anytime soon.
International headlines for years had centered around the cold war. Tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union had everyone on edge, but within a month of our arrival in Pakistan, the cold war ended. A month later, Saddam Hussein sent his troops to invade Kuwait. The world had just taken a radical turn – although we still didn’t know it.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, we were cycling through the Karakoram mountains, not far from where Osama bin Laden would eventually be killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was a very traditional area and tribal factions were strong. As a female cycling through the conservative Muslim territories, I was very much an anomaly.
As you will read in the pages of this book, it wasn’t an easy time for me. The physical challenges of cycling over 16,000-foot passes on horrific dirt roads was tough. The mental and emotional challenges of dealing with a culture so very different from my own were even harder.
As I read through these pages now, twenty years later, I’m struck by how raw and jagged my thoughts were. I’m also struck by my own prejudices, presumptions, and criticism of cultures and religions I knew little about until I found myself immersed in them.
I’ve continued to travel throughout the world since those days and have come to a greater appreciation of the world and her peoples. I often wonder how I would look upon those same situations today with the knowledge and understanding I’ve gained through these twenty years of globetrotting.
Sadly, I’ll never know. I doubt the world tension, terrorism, and anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries will decline any time soon making it too dangerous to attempt the trip John and I took all those years ago.