Proceeds from Patti Shales Lefkos’ Nepal One Day at a Time will go to support education in Gorkha, Nepal. (Contributed)

Proceeds from Patti Shales Lefkos’ Nepal One Day at a Time will go to support education in Gorkha, Nepal. (Contributed)

Vernon Rotarian pens travel memoir based in Nepal with humanitarian twist

Author and journalist Patti Shales Lefkos records solo journey building schools in remote Himalaya

From Silver Star Mountain to the Himalayas, mountains are in award-winning journalist Patti Shales Lefkos’ blood. Now the local writer hopes to leave readers feeling inspired with her debut novel Nepal One Day at a Time.

The “Himalayan adventure travel memoir with a humanitarian twist,” sees the Silver Star resident’s life come to an impasse. In effort to establish independence within her marriage and face fears of aging, she sets off for the first time solo.

Accompanied by a young guide and porter, Lefkos volunteers at a remote village school before embarking on a month-long high-altitude Himalayan Trek.

Lefkos’ memoir underscores the challenges one faces when stepping outside the comfort zone, but highlights the personal growth that comes as the reward.

The writer whose work has been featured in Maclean’s Magazine and the Globe and Mail said her lessons in Nepali culture have helped her gain a deeper understanding of all people around her and this journey led her to discover a higher purpose: building a school to give back to the country she learned to love.

“Being more open and honest in my writing,” Lefkos said was the biggest hurdle in writing the book.

Getting personal about her relationship with her husband and allowing herself to be vulnerable in her writing not only reinforces that motif of getting out of the comfort zone, but it makes her journey more accessible to any reader.

“Nepal One Day at a Time speaks to all of us who at mid life are seeking to make a difference by pursuing ‘the alternate path,’” Outward Bound Canada’s executive director Sarah Wiley raves.

“Her compelling personal story captures the essence of what it means to truly live a life full of intention and reminds us all that it is never too late to chart a new course towards a life of greater purpose.”

Lefkos, a Rotarian with the Kalamalka Rotary club, will be embarking on the Rotary’s trip to Nepal this fall to build two homes in a village close to the epicentre of the deadly 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people.

A dozen Rotarians from Kalamalka and Silver Star’s clubs will travel to Aprik, Gorkha, in October, but not before more fundraising is complete.

READ MORE: Vernon Rotarians to help rebuild after deadly earthquake in Nepal

Nepal team member Tom Lewis raised a couple thousand dollars taking the plunge into the frigid waters of Okanagan Lake during the 60th annual Vernon Winter Carnival’s Polar Bear Swim last month.

The children of two Rotarians, Esme Larsen and Ainsley Blankley, who will be travelling with the team, are looking to raise funds at their schools.

Meanwhile, Lefkos will be donating all profits from the sale of her book to support education in Gorkha, Nepal. She will be reading from her debut novel March 12 at the Caetani Cultural Centre at 3401 Pleasant Valley Road in Vernon. The 7 p.m. event will also feature a slideshow of photos from her travels, musical entertainment and a reception to follow.

Nepal One Day at a Time, published by Loon Island Press, has already received a warm welcome from readers, Lefkos said, noting she’s already had to restock her supply. Her book, distributed by Red Toque Books, is currently available on Amazon and will be available in bookstores soon.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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Kalamalka Rotarian Patti Shales Lefkos authored Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman’s quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya. Proceeds from the book will go to support education in Gorkha, Nepal. (Contributed)

Kalamalka Rotarian Patti Shales Lefkos authored Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman’s quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya. Proceeds from the book will go to support education in Gorkha, Nepal. (Contributed)