This debut memoir is at once a captivating travelogue and an introspective look at what it takes to navigate the unfamiliar and find your way back home.
Meghan J. Ward was 21 years old when she journeyed across the country for a summer job in the Canadian Rockies. As an inexperienced hiker from the suburbs of the nation’s capital, she knew she was in for an adventure. But what she didn’t know was that her move to the mountains would result in a 90-degree turn towards a life she never expected.
In the Rockies, Meghan fell in love with the wilderness, the high elevations, and a man whose way of life expanded her horizons. As that summer drew to a close, she took her first of many courageous steps off the beaten path to create the life of her choosing—one that brought her a sense of purpose and meaning, and a new set of challenges.
In Lights to Guide Me Home Meghan takes us on a trip around the world while chronicling her transitions through some of life’s major milestones. From Costa Rica to Nepal, Rapa Nui to Malta, Meghan explores what it means to carve out her own identity amidst family expectations, her responsibilities as a parent to young children, and her marriage to an ambitious travel and landscape photographer. Whom will she discover beneath these entanglements?
About the authors
Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel, and adventure writer. She is also the co-founder and a former editor-in-chief of the mountain culture publishing house Crowfoot Media, and the creative force behind the Canadian Rockies Annual. An avid adventurer with a voracious appetite to understand her surroundings, Meghan has established herself over the past decade as a mountain historian and an authoritative voice in the Rockies outdoor and travel scene. Her work has taken her from authoring books to writing for films, anthologies, blogs, and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness, and adventure publications. She lives in Banff, Alberta, with her husband, Paul Zizka, and their two daughters.
Caroline Van Hemert is an author, adventurer, and wildlife biologist. Her book The Sun is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds, won the Banff Mountain Book Award for Adventure Travel and was cited as one of the best outdoor books of 2019 by Outside, Bustle, and Forbes. With her husband and two young sons, she divides her time between a cozy home in downtown Anchorage and a remote, off-the-grid cabin near Haines, Alaska.
“Adventurers and parents alike often struggle to navigate through uncertain and ever-changing landscapes. Tackling both of those difficult endeavors at the same time compounds the challenges. Yet, in this fine book, author Meghan Ward illuminates how to seek adventure while still raising and guiding a family. Her wild tales and honest self-reflections reveal how juggling career, family and travel is not easy but can be done, and done well. This book will inspire moms and dads alike to be the best and bravest parents they can be as life’s wild journeys unfold.” —Jim Davidson, New York Times bestselling author of The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival and The Next Everest: Surviving the Mountain’s Deadliest Day and Finding the Resilience to Climb Again
“Before you set off into the wilds with a baby on your back, read this book! Meghan Ward gets down to the nitty-gritty of adventuring with infants: the frustrations and limitations, the sleep deprivation and drudgery, and the moments of sublime joy. With searing honesty, she also recounts her emotional voyage into motherhood as she refigures the balance in her marriage, recalibrates her dreams, and discovers a new version of herself. Beautifully crafted, and tackling the universal theme of facing big change, this is an engaging and thought-provoking read.” —Maria Coffey, award-winning author of Explorers of the Infinite, Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow, Fragile Edge and Visions of the Wild
“With clear eyes and ferocious honesty, Meghan Ward weaves together the hopes, struggles and joys that accompany her journey beyond the ‘standard 9-to-5’, and the quest for a life more true to her inner compass. In an age when long-standing societal assumptions about life, work, career and family are increasingly questioned, Lights to Guide Me Home offers a spark of possibility, a reminder that the act of untethering and leaping towards the unknown – never easy or simple – inevitably brings us closer to the things that really matter in life.” —Bruce Kirkby, author of Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya
“Lights to Guide Me Home is the story of one woman’s deliberate creation of a new identity through adventure, and the reclamation of that adventure amidst the messy entanglements of motherhood. Ward’s prose is lively, crisp and full of sensory details that plunge us into each scene. Though she never sugarcoats the sometimes cringe-inducing chaos of travelling with young children in tow, Ward’s message is clear: life is wild and magical when we step off the beaten path.” —Jan Redford, author of End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage & Motherhood
Lights to Guide Me Home is a stunning memoir that follows Meghan J. Ward, a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, on her journeys around the world and through her internal dialogues. Meghan grapples with motherhood and marriage in some of Earth’s most gorgeous terrains and tries to uncover what it means to return home. Fans of Wild and wilderness documentaries will love this unique debut!" - Zibby Mag
”Lights to Guide Me Home is a candid tale of breaking with conventions and finding your true sense of self through outdoor adventure, then reinventing yourself as you become a mother. Through the good times and bad, Meghan explores her dual identities and what it means to raise a child while following your passion for travelling and living an open-air life. It is a journey that not only takes her to exotic locations around the world but also forces her to explore unknown spaces within herself. Meghan’s vulnerability and strength make her story equal parts relatable and inspiring.” —Linda Åkeson McGurk, author of The Open-Air Life and There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather