Interview with Wild Mama Carrie Visintainer!

Hey everyone!

As part of a writer's blog chain, I've chosen to interview my good friend Carrie Visintainer.  We've been friends for over a decade now, and it's been thrilling to watch her writing career and travel passions bloom.  I was lucky enough to read early drafts of her upcoming book, Wild Mama, and I can say you're in for a treat.  It's everything I look for in a memoir-- moving, funny, smart, relatable, and most of all, inspiring! I know so many women (myself included) who have struggled to maintain their identities (of adventurer/traveler/creator/etc) while mothering young kids. Carrie has been a big inspiration to me, personally, as I've watched her navigate this terrain. (Our sons are the same age-- nearly 8 years old now.)  In her debut book, Carrie recounts her own struggles, adventures, and misadventures on her journey to embracing the role of "Wild Mama."

Here's where Carrie did a revision of her manuscript... this treehouse-like place in Yelapa, Mexico, 
where she spends two months of the year with her family in tow!

Here's the official book summary:

Wild Mama

Coming Summer 2015 from Thought Catalog

When Visintainer became a mother at the age of 33, she worried it was all over, that her adventurous life was done. World travel? Adios. Solo explorations in the mountains? Ciao. Creative outlets? She wondered, Are diapers my new white canvas? Immersed in a whirlwind of sleeplessness and spit-up, she was madly in love with her new baby, but also felt her adventurous spirit and core identity crumbling.

So she laced up her boots and set out on a soul-searching journey, with revelations near and far. Inside a local Walmart, she realized that new motherhood is like traveling to a foreign country, with a new vocabulary, unknowable customs and extreme jetlag. Lying in a yurt in the Colorado National Forest, she came to terms with her postpartum depression. While sailing on a gullet off the coast of Turkey, she examined feelings of guilt about leaving her child in pursuit of adventure. And then, while perched in a handsome stranger’s motorcycle sidecar in the Mexican jungle, she found herself face-to-face with her central quandary: Domesticity vs. Wanderlust. Finally she discovered she could—and should—have both.

Here's her little writing shed in the back yard of her old farmhouse at the foothills of the Rockies.  She and her husband worked hard to create this with recycled materials. Check out the antique wood-burning stove in the corner! *Swoon!*

Okay, without further ado, here's Carrie...

1. What are you currently working on?

Right now I'm working on my second book, which is a choose-your-own adventure for new parents called Have Kids, Will Travel. It's a follow-up to my first book, Wild Mama, a travel memoir that's being released in September. I also freelance, so I'm always working on various articles, essays, and blog posts. 

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre? 

Some of my work focuses on solo travel or family travel, which are topics that haven't been written about extensively. 

3. Why do you write what I write?

I do a lot of traveling, from short adventures in the mountains to extended international trips. Sometimes I go solo, and sometimes my husband and young kids join me. When I get out of my routine and comfort zone, I find lots of inspiration, which fuels my various projects.  

Yelapa, Mexico is Carrie's home-away-from-home-- accessible only by boat-- so beautiful! 
And what an amazing (and *inexpensive*) place for the whole family to spend the two worst months of Colorado winter...

4. How does your individual writing process work? 

This depends on the specific project, but I'm at a point where I always have something to work on, so I've become pretty disciplined. Three days a week, I begin writing right away in the morning before I get online, and I put in a couple of hours on my literary projects. Then I transition to freelance projects and internet work. In terms of craft, I tend to work from the outside in, starting with a sketch and then filling in details as I revise. 

I like working in simple, uncluttered spaces. My writing shed in my backyard is ideal, as is the desk I use in remote Mexico for two months each winter. 


Me again!  I highly recommend reading some of Carrie's articles to whet your appetite-- you can find links to many of them (from the Huffington Post, Outside, 5280, Fort Collins Magazine, The Coloradoan, and more) on her website

Thanks for swinging by!  And I'm always curious to hear about the creative ways that other adventurous parents maintain and develop their own wild spirits while their kids are young. If you want to share your experiences (struggles and triumphs, both), please leave a comment!  You can read about my own experiences traveling solo (while a mom) here and here... and my experiences traveling *with* my precious Lil Dude here and here.