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Meghan J. Ward opens up about parenting, marriage, and travel in debut memoir

Author Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward pens her unique story of family and adventure in her debut memoir, Lights to Guide Me Home. If you love the outdoors or seek insights from her search for self-identity amidst major life moments, this read might be for you. I asked Meghan a few questions, and our interview follows below.

Disclosure: This sponsored post comes at a great time as I think the memoir offers a lot for women readers who are in life transition. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any purchases made through the links in this post at no extra cost to you.

Interview with author Meghan J. Ward

In the memoir Lights to Guide Me Home, author Meghan J. Ward goes off the beaten path – literally. She chronicles her transitions through major life milestones, writing about struggling with self-identity as a new mom and a wife to a travel photographer. Her book releases today!

Now, let’s get to the interview:

Welcome, Meghan. I’m curious, how did you come up with the idea for this book?

Lights to Guide Me Home loosely stemmed from a blog I used to write about my transition to parenthood as an outdoor adventurer. Through discussions with my publisher, with whom I had worked before, the book gradually evolved from being a blog-to-book about outdoor parenting to a memoir about my journey through various life transitions, using travel and outdoor adventures as the settings for these explorations.

I can really credit my publisher for the seed of the idea, which was the moment he looked at me and told me, “I think this is your story.” From there, I wanted to write something that might speak to others who are curious about venturing off the beaten path.

Did you travel as you wrote the book? Or is it based on past travels and what you learned along the way?

The book is based on past travels, as well as some trips that took place during the writing of the book. In each case, they track what I learned along the way and describe the inner journey that was transpiring as a parallel story to my physical journeys around the world.

The bulk of the writing occurred in 2020 after all my travels had been completed, so I was relying on a variety of sources to compile the chapters, including my journals, social media posts, and photographs. But, whenever I could, I wrote while I was on location — particularly the more descriptive passages, which are easier to write when you are experiencing them in the moment.

Lights to Guide Me Home
Lights to Guide Me Home book cover

We both are Canadian. What did you appreciate most about Canada after your travels?

Canada is a spectacularly beautiful country. After all of my travel, I can say Canada is one of the most diverse and beautiful nations on the planet.

That being said, I also live in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and literally pinch myself when I’m flying home from abroad and remember I’m going home to Banff, a place that people put on their bucket list to visit. But I’ve also had the chance to visit nearly every province and territory in Canada and can say this vast country has sure got a lot packed into it.

Tell me a bit about what you learned in one or two locations of your choosing

A few years into my relationship with my now husband, we went backpacking in the Caribbean. We basically roughed it for a month on an island-hopping trip through various islands known more for their luxury properties than anything else. It was on that trip that, while I had seen this side of Paul a bit before, it really became apparent that if I stayed with him, adventure would be a constant in our lives. Fast-forward 14 years and this is still the case; there is never a dull moment having him as my partner.

A second lesson would have been when we decided to bring our one-year-old baby on a vaguely similar island-hopping trip in the South Pacific. I honestly don’t know what we were thinking. I think that we were yearning for an adventure and overlooked her personality to make it happen (which at the time wasn’t as adaptable as the trip required). We suffered a lot for those two months and learned to adjust the way we travel to make it more enjoyable on future trips. Fortunately, the hard-earned lesson paid off and our other world travels were indeed memorable, in a good way.

Thanks for sharing those lessons. Traveling with a one-year-old must have been eye-opening! How has motherhood changed your sense of self?

Motherhood has made me a more conscious person. I think I used to float through life before, without much of a sense of personal agency. And then I lost myself during those early years with babies. I never thought I’d be one to get lost amidst their many demands, but I did lose a sense of my individuality, and also my needs as a human.

But then when I reclaimed my own identity amidst those entanglements, I came out stronger, with a much better understanding of my worth as a person. I now know I can give more to my family if I first give to myself.

If you were to give one piece of marriage advice, what would it be?

Remember you’re two individuals in a relationship with each other, with different needs and perspectives that are influenced by numerous factors, including your upbringings, your personalities, and your individual experiences on a given day. Having a clear idea of what you can expect from each other is helpful. Take the time to connect by spending time together so that the communication lines stay open.

Respecting your partner as an individual can help you recognize their limits, as can understanding your own boundaries and what you’re able to provide in the relationship. Being clear on these things will help avoid a lot of conflicts.

Respect really is key. I’m curious, when you feel lost emotionally or mentally, what do you find helpful?

In those moments, I find it helpful to ground myself by getting clear on what’s causing me to feel lost, or unhinged. Exercise is a great way to get my mind off of things while moving stress through my body. And then of course there are all the natural benefits of exercise that help set me on the right path.

From there I work at tackling the root problem rather than just temporarily treating the symptoms. I ask myself, What needs to change so that I don’t find myself here again? Sometimes the answer to this question requires hard work and some tough conversations, but it’s worth it.

Looking ahead, do you plan to write more books?

I do believe there’s another book in me, but I’m not sure yet what it’s going to be yet. I have some ideas! For now, I want to give Lights to Guide Me Home a proper introduction to this world and to be there to interact with my readers.

Is more travel in your future?

We are working on plans for our next family trip abroad, but we don’t have any concrete plans yet! Earlier this year we did a three-week road trip through the Western Balkans, which was quite the adventure. I think I’m looking forward to something with a healthy mix of adventure and downtime.

That sounds like a good balance. It was a pleasure chatting with you, Meghan. Thanks for visiting When Women Inspire!

Where to connect with Meghan J. Ward online

I write a bi-monthly newsletter called Field Notes, which is all about navigating a life lived off the beaten track in the outdoors, travelling, parenting and passion-fuelled projects. It’s free to subscribe! You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates about what I’m up to, book news, behind-the-scenes clips, posts from my travels, and more.


Top photo: Meghan J. Ward; Photo by Alexis McKeown

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