Making memories with author Andra Watkins–one very FULL week!

Andra was one of the very first blogging “personalities” I followed when I began to publish on WordPress. I use the word “personality” with intention. She has a big one.

The creativity that first attracted me to her blog has continued to impress me as I’ve watched her crisscross the country successfully teaching, encouraging and challenging her audiences to embrace adventure and using her experiences, consider the importance of making memories.

I’ve watched individuals approach Andra after a talk and express interest in her books “Hard to Die” and “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis,” two of her novels in the popular “Nowhere Series,” then confessing they aren’t reading as much as they once did. Andra gently guides them to consider stepping away from the electronics once in a while for the pleasure of getting lost in quality fiction and they walk away carrying her books, eager to read.

Last week when Andra shared from her New York Times bestselling memoir, “Not Without My Father,” a group of early morning Rotarians were intrigued and inspired after hearing tales of her thirty-four day walk of the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace–yes, all of it. Andra uses humor to describe the physical hardship of the walk and the complex and somewhat dysfunctional relationship with her father, Roy, who at 80 years old reluctantly accompanied her on this audacious adventure supporting as her wingman.

Dad and daughter share an uneasy relationship, but the lessons learned through the unique experience of the Trace walk provide a meaningful encouragement to everyone, with the hope that anyone may learn from Andra’s experience and say “yes” to a special memory-making opportunity.

I would encourage you to get to know Andra better by listening to her Rotary Club talk from last week. You can access it on the Rotary page HERE, and I hope you’ll stay with it to the end where there just might be something you’re waiting to hear!

Andra visited the southland for a full week, and speaking of full…I lived my “tour guide” dream potential! I frequently write about the many spots I find interesting, but this past week I had an enthusiastic side-kick and we bounced” all over the place!” We crisscrossed more ground than I typically explore in a month and we had fun!

In the next few posts I will be sharing more specifically about our adventure in memory-making, and I hope you’ll enjoy as I re-live a very special week.

And I’d encourage you to learn more about Andra and perhaps she will be appearing at a speaking engagement near you. Or maybe you have a book club, library group or service organization that would enjoy a personable and inspiring speaker?  You won’t be disappointed!






53 thoughts on “Making memories with author Andra Watkins–one very FULL week!

    1. It was a delightful week, Colleen. Andra excels at “connecting,” and I have confidence you’ll have that opportunity. I’ll be sharing more soon from the places we “adventured!” 🙂

  1. A big personality, indeed. I would have flown across the country for the opportunity to have been the chauffeur for that visit. I go back to the “Cootchie Mama” days also.

    1. I would have loved the opportunity to have included you, Ray, chauffeur duties or not. 🙂 Maybe someday there will be an opportunity for one large gathering somewhere. I think that would be delightful!

    1. It was delightful, Kate. We had enough time together to solve all of the world’s problems from my living room and STILL get to some galleries, museums and fun places to eat. 🙂

    1. We talked about you, Jim! 🙂 We were wondering if you were still in CA or had by then gone home. She is a “keeper” alright! And such a good “connector.” I feel like I know many more people because she is so good at cultivating friendships!

  2. Anonymous

    Tour guide indeed–you’ve been busy!! I’m halfway through Andra’s Hard to Die. Loving the way she chose to craft the story.

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! I love the unique contextual detail and think the characters are fascinating. This was my favorite of her books, and I loved the others 🙂

    1. I hope you’ll definitely “get to know” Andra. She is a delight and if I could have half her energy and drive I’d personally be more creative. LOL! She is a good friend to many, many people! 🙂

  3. Catherine Wade

    I bought her book, Not Without My Father, a while back but have not yet read it. Sounds like something I need to do. I love the pictures and wish I knew where they had been taken. Looks like it was a fun week.

    1. So nice to see your name here, Catherine! I miss you, and before the end of the year we MUST get together. I was really on the go with Andra, and these are only a few photos from about half the places we explored. I will be blogging on each one without delay and I’ll fill in the blanks for you. I know you will enjoy NWMF, and encourage you to let Andra know what you think after you’ve read it. You had such a special relationship with your dad, and you’ll appreciate the arc of the story and discovering how such a daunting travel experience opened up the relationship between Andra and Roy. Lots of chuckles with a few tears as well. A lovely memoir.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Joss. And I’m so glad you had the chance to express your appreciation for Andra. I think “wondrous human being” is an excellent descriptor! I can’t imagine how she fits so much into her life and still makes time for her friends. 🙂 It was a very special week, indeed!

      1. Envy is not a feeling I embrace so when it comes up, like now, I celebrate for the other person. So here I am, Ecuador, celebrating you two had this time together.

  4. Now that’s a high-level special connection that came through blogging. I don’t think I’ve been that lucky … but a toast to all the good people that I’ve encountered on WP … but I can count on one hand the ones I’ve met in person.

    I see some interesting pics at the end. It wasn’t long ago when I saw an interesting report on Angel Flight.

    1. I have only met a handful of bloggers myself, but through Andra, I feel like I know more! She has a wonderful gift for connecting with people! I do think that many of us would enjoy each other’s company if we weren’t a little bound by our particular geographies! 🙂 I will be posting about Angel’s Flight. Our timing was good. It just reopened about a week ago.

  5. Two of my favorite people! What a delight to read, see your photos and vicariously share your moments. Yes, indeed! Glad to see you had a good time, covered many miles together – and are sharing much of it here.

    1. We missed you. When lightning strikes and I finally have spendable money from writing, the FIRST thing I’m doing is paying for a trip for you and Debra to meet. Nothing would make me happier than connecting those dots for the rest of my life.

  6. Well WOW Debra, just came by to say hello after too long, (mea culpa), and find myself in the center of a lovely celebration I know nothing about. I don’t know you Andra but I’m happy for the chance to say Hi. Any friend of Debra is a friend of mine.

    1. It’s very nice to have you stop by, John. Andra is a very dear friend and I would not have met her had we not found blogging. I love the community of bloggers and feel that although most of us may never meet face to face and there are often periods when interaction is minimal, there is still friendship. I am always surprised by it! I hope you are doing well, and I’m so glad you stopped by.

  7. Tour guide, wow, sounds like another venture for Breathelighter. Let me know when you are open for business. I listened to Andra’s animated adventures while making some hummus and grilling sweet peppers…I had an enjoyable afternoon indeed. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Cristina, I’m so touched you took the time to hear Andra’s “talk” and to get a sense of who she is and also some of what is important to her. I know you saw it by the description you shared–animated. That she is! I am always available to you and your family for a good tour. LOL!

    1. She’s a very special friend I met through blogging, Otto. I so enjoy the way the blogging community has broadened widened my circle. I’m so happy to have introduced her to you.

    2. Andra has a big personality and is interested in so many things. I enjoyed her company. She is a great conversationalist, which is probably a very good quality for a writer. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Who Lives. Who Dies. Who Tells Your Story – breathelighter

  9. I am happy that Debra and Andra had a chance to meet in person! Such a beautiful and inspiring person, who when I was a beginning blogger, she gave me encouraging words about “slogging through the muck” (in boots, I believe) I would eventually find my partner. Best of luck to Andra on the motivational speaker circuit. 🙂

  10. Pingback: It Never Rains…but when it does – breathelighter

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