IWillTravel: Expat File #5

The last stop on our blog tour is with IWillTravel.

Will Castillo says his blogging mission is to get people to see things differently from the norm, or though a different set of glasses.  Originally from Nicaragua and now living in Canada, he is a BIG traveler.  He plans to move to Colombia next year.  (You may be sick of interviews  with me over the last month, but) – check out his interesting blog with pictures from his travels around the world!  (Below is an excerpt from his post.)

INTRODUCTION To Will:Will Castillo

I was born in Nicaragua and lived there until the age of eleven.  Due to the economical and political crisis in Nicaragua, my family and I were left with no choice but to emigrate.  After having lived in Toronto for twenty-five years now I’ve grown accustomed to its way of life.  Yes, it’s a place I call home but deep within me I still have no sense of belonging or patriotism.  I have yet to find my place in the world.   I am faced with a challenge that (I believe) other people also face, and that is the challenge of finding a place to call home, not only because it’s where we physically reside but also because it’s where our soul can truly belong. This confession leads me to this month’s interview with Cinda MacKinnon, author of A Place In The World, a romantic-adventure story of a young biologist and a multicultural cast of characters.

(WC) : Cinda, could you begin by  giving us an introduction about yourself and the different places in the world you’ve had the privilege to live in?

(CCM): My dad worked for the US  government during the Cold War and shortly after I was born we moved to Salonika, Greece; a couple of years later to Germany.  From there we moved to Bogotá, Colombia and Dad became an attaché with the embassy.  We were lucky (except for a revolution!) to live there for 6 years.  But Costa Rica proved to be a welcoming and nurturing place and my parents retired there – putting a hiatus to our nomadic life. I came to the States for college, feeling very much like “fish out of water” culturally and after graduation moved with my husband to New Zealand. Thus I didn’t really begin living in the US until my early thirties.  I have now been here long enough to put down roots and feel like a northern Californian.

Cinda and husband at Montserrate with  Bogota in background.

Cinda and husband at Montserrate with Bogota in background.


Cinda as a kid in Bogota

You lived the longest time in Colombia and Costa Rica.  Why did you pick Colombia as the backdrop for your book?

Both are beautiful places that I love. Colombia was  where dramatic things were happening from 1970 through the 1990’s – when the book takes place. The coffee market was volatile, but the guerillas and drug lords looming in the background made everyday life hazardous.  A story needs conflict and action to be interesting – if I just wrote about the happy Carvallo family it would’ve been boring.Calendario_L0108

You love creating fictional characters but just how much of the book is from events in your own life and experiences?

Everyone writes “what they know” i.e. from their own experiences or those of people they knew. The novel is fictional, but many of the scenes were prompted by life and then expanded or exaggerated.  For example, my family lived through a volcanic eruption that mimics the one in the story and I have friends who own a coffee finca.  Don Felipe, Pepe and Jorge are men who could very well exist in Latin America and remind me of men I knew – in a general sense.  Carmen is the one character who is modeled after two remarkable women I knew who had tough lives, but managed to remain warm and cheerful. Other than that, all scenes and dialogues are strictly products of my imagination.

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I know there are people out there that still have not found their place in the world, me being one of them.  What advice or comfort can you offer us?

In the story Alicia decides that it isn’t the place itself that matters so much as the people you surround yourself with.  I think you have to appreciate wherever you live without losing your own sense of identity and roots.  Time and acceptance helped me.  Actually I think you have been an expat all your life – YOU can probably tell your readers as much as I.   I suspect you are a man who has learned to fit in anywhere.  I know you are moving to Colombia and hope with time you will feel at home there – maybe even closer to family?

Site to see some great photos of the rainforests and Colombia: http://www.pinterest.com/CindaMac/boards/

To see reviews or to buy the book (available in various formats) :http://amzn.to/19wSFfX


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The blog tour for my novel started last month  with author/blogger Crissilangwell.com.  Then we stopped at The Displaced Nation– the cyber home for global nomads, travelers and expats.  Next we visited Strolling South America. and the Daily (W)rite, at damyantiwrites, in Singapore. This week we  are going to IWillTravel.  Originally from Nicaragua and now living in Canada, Will Castillo is a BIG traveler – check out his interesting blog!

Here is the schedule to date:

  • Crissi Langwell Oct. 14 – introducing A Place in the World
  • Displaced Nation Oct. 17-   an interview from the expat perspective
  • Strolling South America Oct. 22  – Tidbits on Colombia (…of coffee and history)
  • Daily write Oct 24th  – an interview from the writers’ perspective
  • IWillTravel  Nov. 15 – an interview.  Will’s mission is “to get people to see things differently from the norm, or though a different set of glasses”.