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Who Am I?

Who am I?  It’s such a vague, yet deep, question. But let’s be honest, no one really wants to read about my inner workings, you’ll learn that over time. So instead, I threw together some crazy, stupid, and cool facts to give you a sense of what makes me, I don’t know–me.  Here is where all of my madness comes from…

Career Highs and Lows

  • Archeology isn’t my thing. I graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with an anthropology degree, hoping that would be my ticket to world travel and exploration. After I graduated and there were no jobs, I worked on 2 archeological digs in France and Greece, loathed them both. To me, nothing is more mind-numbing than sweeping the dirt with a 3-inch brush while looking for . . . something. In my case, “something” never appeared!
  • I owned a wholesale clothing showroom for 10 years before I became a writer.
  • I taught English as a foreign language in Brazil and South Africa.

Food Facts

  • I’m a good cook and love to try different ethnic foods: curries, tagines, carnitas, the list goes on. Thankfully my husband isn’t that picky of an eater!
  • In college, I was a vegetarian for 2 years. Then I woke up craving a cheeseburger so badly that I ordered the largest one I could find . . . and it was INCREDIBLE!
  • I am an adventurous eater. I’ve eaten every type of offal, including cow lung. Baby bats, fermented fish stomach, and beetles don’t scare me, but I am not a fan of worms – they weird me out in plants, on the sidewalk and especially in food . . . I just can’t do it.

My Acting Debut – One Day I’ll Be Noticed

  • My first acting gig was when I was 7 and my family went to the Bahamas. I was baby Jesus in a play, a very old baby Jesus. I use the term acting loosely since all I had to do was lay there, in the manger, all wrapped up and sweating.
  • The next breakout role was also a sweaty one. I was an extra on the hit British TV show called Indian Summers. For 2 seasons, I was a wealthy British woman in India in 1932. I still use the term acting loosely since I wasn’t allowed to speak.
  • And continuing the theme of sweaty acting gigs Mark and I were on HGTV’s House Hunters International when we moved from Chicago to Penang, Malaysia in 2013. Still, no acting involved.
Indian Summers screenshot with Jemima West-extra in a movie

Wildlife Encounters

  • Swimming with whale sharks in Holbox Island, Mexico was the coolest mammal experience ever, it is like swimming next to a silent bus.
  • I played with baby lions and scratched rhino bellies in a sanctuary in South Africa.
  • I’ve been peed on by a chimp. In Ngamba Island, Uganda we spent the whole day playing and carrying the little guys around, and as I was toting one on my back, like a furry backpack, he just let loose. A hot stream of chimp pee soaked my back—he marked his territory. In Chimp-speak I’m sure that means we’re engaged.
  • I have seen people get married in front of wild gorillas. On the same trip to Uganda, we hiked for 8 hours to quietly watch a troop of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Come to find out that the people we were trekking with were getting married there for a TV show called Wild Weddings.
  • I met the last of the species and one of the largest and oldest land turtles in the Galapagos, named Lonesome George. He was almost as big as a Mini-Cooper.
  • I’ve washed rescued elephants in a river in Thailand.

Adventurous Side

  • I want to be a surfer and take lessons every chance I get. I took a lesson with my 72-year-old mom and she put me to shame!
  • I micro lighted over Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • I’ve been scuba diving in the Galapagos, Mexico, and Borneo. I still don’t love it, but I want to, so I keep trying!

Not So Smart

  • I got my first tattoo at 17; it’s the design from the Red Hot Chili Peppers album—Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It just goes to show that youth really is wasted on the young.
  • My second tattoo was a woman with melting wings. I dreamed her. I was a wee bit older at 19, but not that much brighter . . . I put her smack dab on my chest. . . not cute.
  • I finally got a little smarter at 29 and had that tattoo removed, which was WAY more painful than getting it. I’m going to be REALLY sharp when I hit 50!

Random Facts

  • I’ve traveled to 43 countries and lived in 5.
  • I had my first surgery at 41, and I was scared out of my mind.I started a book club when I moved to Malaysia and Vaddey Ratner, the critically acclaimed author of 2 fantastic books (Shadow of the Banyan and Music of the Ghosts), attended the club to discuss her books. Do yourself a favor and read them both, she’s a phenomenal woman and storyteller, and a survivor of the Khmer Rouge.
  • When I was little no one could pronounce my name, so I wanted to change it to Lyn, my parents refused to let me.
  • I believe in the afterlife and have been visited by “ghosts.”