About the book: (from the publisher) What would you do with a yellow envelope?
After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.
Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving―of ourselves―is transformational.
About the author: Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and blogger whose travel blog, So Many Places, was named one of the best outdoor blogs by USA Today. Her love of the natural world landed her a coveted job on Backpacker Magazine‘s Get Out More Tour and her work has appeared in Parks & Recreation Magazine and Northwest Travel Magazine, among others.
My take: Kim Dinan’s introspective memoir is two parts world discovery, one part self discovery. Most travelers would probably agree that a thoughtful exploration of the world leads quite naturally to a thoughtful exploration of self. But most travelers don’t take the time or trouble to write about what they learn. Which is why when a capable, incisive writer does, it makes the ensuing book an intriguing revelation.
Kim Dinan’s clear, detailed prose easily transports the reader to the wide variety of people and places she encountered. What traveler, for example, can’t identify with her description of “that magical mix of jet lag and the miraculous shock of boarding an airplane in a familiar territory and deboarding it in a wholly foreign world”?
I found myself readily immersed in her story. Though I don’t have a lot in common with her travel preferences — she’s waaaayy more of an adventurer and a roughing-it kind of gal (I’m impressed) — or her worldview, I still felt joined to the author in the great connection of one human being to another.
And I loved this:
“I was learning to enjoy the great swath of possibility that came with uncertainty. Since leaving my comfort zone to step out into the world, I’d been at the mercy of those I encountered…. And no one had let me down. When I left on this journey with the yellow envelope tucked into my purse, I thought I had something to share with the world. And I did. But what I didn’t realize was that the world had something to share with me too. The people I met were teaching me not just how to give the yellow envelope but how to live it. The unknown no longer seemed a threat, but a gift. Could it be that the world wanted to help me, if only I’d allow it?”
In reading Kim Dinan’s book, I was reminded of another introspective travel memoir, Walking Distance by David Hlavsa, and of course by Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Are you fascinated by what world travel reveals about the world as well as the traveler? Then you’ll likely find The Yellow Envelope a most interesting read.
Thanks to Sourcebooks and the author for providing me this book free of charge. All opinions are mine.
After words: Do you enjoy travel memoirs?