Mountain to Mountain – A Memoir Launches

Holy shit I wrote a book!

That’s the phrase running through my head as I saw my book listed on Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble websites yesterday.  Available for pre-order.  Releases September 16.

Unknown

The book hits bookstores nationwide with St. Martin’s Press in one month, but my publisher sent me the link yesterday that the pre sales had started and a sneak peek of Chapter One was available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  After two years of writing, editing, and working through the final publishing process with my editor at St. Martin’s Press, there is a book and soon it will be in hand of family and friends, colleagues and strangers.  Its a strange feeling.

Made more so by the fact that this is a deeply personal memoir.  This is not a story about my work, or Afghanistan’s history, its a story about my call to activism, my journey as a survivor of gender violence, and the other side of Afghanistan and it’s people beyond the war most Americans see on the news.   It’s road trips and prisons, motorcycles and mountain bikes, kindness and terror, adventure and activism.

Amazed to have the vocal support and blurb for the book cover by  New York Times bestselling author and perhaps the most famous Afghan in America, Khalid Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner and The Mountains Echoed.

“Shannon Galpin’s lovely cycling saga is an inspiring and illuminating window into the lives of modern day Afghan women and their continuing struggle to ride their own path to freedom, recognition, and equality.”

Washington Post Journalist, Anand Gopal who authored No Good Men Among the Living generously took time to read the book and wrote:

“Mountain to Mountain reads like one of Shannon Galpin’s bike rides, fast-paced and unpredictable. It traces her intimate journey as a survivor and her travels across a rugged terrain, in the process bringing alive a vital and poignant message: Equality for Afghan women means more than just voting rights or access to parliament—it means having the same basic freedoms as men.”

Then last night, I was sent a shot of Bicycling Magazine’s latest issue, which starts hitting mailboxes and newsstands this week , and this review is inside!  Its real.  Its out there.  Holy shit.

image

 

Even bigger, the support from the legendary multiple world champion cyclist, Marianne Vos – who sent me her blurb for the book two days before she won La Course at Le Tour in Paris.  Making history on the final day of the Le Tour de France.

“Read this touching story from Shannon Galpin, who utilizes her unique position as a western woman to immerse herself in Afghan culture. She had the courage to leave everything behind and use the bike to as a tool to lead a physical and political movement – a way towards freedom for the women of Afghanistan.”

4 time World Ironman Champion, and one of the women behind the push to get La Course at Le Tour this year, Chrissie Wellington wrote:

Mountain to Mountain is nothing short of phenomenal. This captivating, inspiring, and heart-warming memoir shows us all that, with unbounded and unwavering passion, determination and courage, change can happen and mountains can be moved, one pedal stroke at a time. Shannon Galpin, and the women of Afghanistan, I salute you and your illimitable strength.

Holy shit indeed.  Yeah, I’m getting all the swears out now, because my editor edited most of my swears out of the memoir!   Having the support of these amazing men and women makes it a little less daunting to have my very personal life become very public.

Book tour starts in New York City on September 16th and here’s the tour list – I hope to see many familiar faces there!!

New York – TBA September 16-20

Frisco, CO – Next Page Bookstore – September 27

Portland, OR – Powell’s – October 3

Denver, CO – Tattered Cover – October 6

Boulder, CO – Boulder Bookstore – October 8

Chicago, IL – TBA – October 15

Los Angeles – TBA – October 18

Austin, TX – Austin Book Festival – October 25

Edwards, CO – Bookworm – October 29

Moab, UT – Back of Beyond – November 1

Durango, CO – Maria’s Bookstore – November 13

 

Advertisements

Call to Service

Along with the entire nation today, I watched with a hopeful heart and open mind, as Obama took over the leadership of our nation.  Eyes welled up to hear words like, “We come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”   Eloquent words to be sure, and long overdue.  

What sets Obama apart from the majority of politicians is his hearkening back to the era of JFK by placing the power and the responsibility of moving our country forward at the feet of us, the citizens, and the drivers of this runaway train.   This country is supposed to be run by its citizens, with the politicians working FOR us, our representatives in the highest echelons of government.   Instead, citizens get lazy and dependent, assuming that those in power will do what’s right and then complaining when they don’t.  Too many times have I overheard, “I am just one person, what can I do.”  “If I was in power I’d do things differently.”  “Politicians are all crooked and can’t be trusted.”  

In response, I quote the aforementioned President, JFK.   “Anyone can make a difference, and EVERYONE should try.”  

Obama too, has made it a priority of his campaign, and by initial looks his administration, to place the importance of volunteerism, community service, and citizenship responsibility, front and center.   His call to action reminds me of how Mountain to Mountain, alongside many grassroots organizations were started and how we can all find those small steps to “Be the Change.”   

Grassroots organizations are formed to fill a need that someone is passionate about;  children’s medical issues, abandoned dogs and cats, breast cancer, environmental issues, women’s rights, etc.  Someone gets inspired, gets off their ass, and gets to work, hopefully enlisting support, help, and donations along the way to make a difference in lives and communities in small and big ways.  

Our own grassroots organization started with two women committed to equality gender inequity through education in remote mountain communities in Pakistan.  Our passion overrode any naysayers affect on the momentum of our fledging organization and our own community support to get behind the effort of building schools overseas with Central Asia Institute.   

Entering our third year, and the first on our own non profit instead of supporting others, the commitment to inspiring others to get involved as a means to further our projects is still at the forefront of our approach.  

It is our hope that if we inspire those at home to get involved, we can inspire more children to reach their full potential through education.  

It is our wish that as more and more citizens answer our President’s call to action, that our own goals for community involvement and building our volunteer base will be positively affected.  Each volunteer that offers up their time and skills drives organizations like ours further.  As our ranks grow, so do the possibilities. 

In the upcoming months of this new administration, I look forward to not just watching the direction of our country, but doing my part to create positive changes here and abroad.  I hope that my fellow citizens will do the same, whether with our organization, on their own, or with the myriad of other organizations working to create positive changes throughout this country and throughout the world.

From small beginnings…

…big things can grow.

Such is the nature of Mountain to Mountain’s creation, its outreach, and the projects we support.

Two years ago the seed was planted to ‘be the change’. Like many across the world it was a simple act that spurred me to action. In my case, I read a book, “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson. Inspired by the story of what one man can do to promote peace and educate children, with nothing more than passion and the willingness to make mistakes, I came to a realization. “What are you waiting for?”

A traveler and ex-pat for over ten years, I considered myself a global citizen. If that was truly the case, what was I doing to be part of the global community? How was I helping my global neighbor? The answer depressed me. And kick-started me in action.

Truth be told, I’m a doer. Some people may call it impulsive. Reckless. Crazy. Others close to me have kinder labels. I had no prior experience in philanthropy, fundraising, little public speaking experience, and no management background. Yet overnight, I decided to create a non profit. I’d learn ‘on the job’.

So, with the help and support of a good friend, Mountain to Mountain was born. The decision was made to host an author event with the man that had inspired my call to action and raise money for his foundation, Central Asia Institute. Our mountain community here in Colorado would come together to fund a school in the remote mountains of Central Asia – thereby connecting our mountain communities together through a common thread of education for all.

Our mountain communities are unique. We are small knit communities that share the common love of the outdoors, sports, and travel. We endure long winters, yet have thriving art cultures. Tapping into those values was what could make Mountain to Mountain unique in its fundraising and outreach. I didn’t want to just raise money, I wanted donors and supporters to understand WHY it was so important to get involved with our partners and our projects.

And thus, through the winter season of 2006/7, the author event branched out into a much larger fundraiser and booksigning alongside an inaugural charity trail running event, Race for the Mountains. Now I was adding the additional branch of ‘Race Director’ to my rapidly growing tree.

In just seven short months, we raised over $100,000 through our grassroots outreach. Enough to support the building of two schools in Pakistan with Central Asia Institute. Two communities that will benefit from their girls and boys being educated in a region with few schools, teachers, or opportunity. Two communities that recognized the value of educating their children and devoted their time, sweat, and materials to provide the manpower to make it happen.

and so we continue to grow….