The pandemic, at least for a time, had us trapped in our homes. And there's nothing wrong with that. There are undiscovered wonders of taking a step back and finding joy in the confines of our homes. But as surprising as it may be for some, wandering around the world doesn't really give us the full experience because we're going there as a tourist.
So how is it to go someplace new and just live? Not in popular Western destinations like Paris or Spain but in an undiscovered gem in Asia? That's what Tracy Smith, an HR professional, unintentionally did. While working remotely in Aktau, Kazakhstan, with her then-boyfriend (now husband), she wrote a series of letters to her friends and family – each an account of a specific experience she had during her stay there. And all of these are in her book: Dear Chums! I Am In Kazakhstan!
Smith says she's a real believer in enjoying life. And that's very evident in her writing. She makes every little detail of her stories come to life, taking you with her to her everyday adventures. And through this imaginative approach in creating the book, she produced something better. It's a look into how it is to live there and finding amusement in seemingly mundane experiences like shopping or getting an apartment. She created magic out of the ordinary, making it relatable to anyone who's been to Kazakhstan or ever experienced culture shock.
It was never meant to be a travel guide. Neither was it meant to be biographical. Smith created a fictionalized version of her experiences, constantly crossing the lines between fiction and non-fiction. She weaved her experiences and her creativity into light hearted, entertaining, and at times humorous pseudo-biographical accounts akin to a version of the famous book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid but for adults. So if that's the kind of read that you've enjoyed, you're not going to be able to stop reading Smith's book until the last page.
And you'll hear more from Tracy Smith soon because a second book is underway. A die-hard dog lover who owns two Labradors, she's currently working on a book "written" by dogs for dogs. And just like this one, it's expected to be another fun and light-hearted read that will surely entertain and amuse you.