Lake Country author Tanya Zaufi. (Contributed)

Lake Country author writes her own story of romance

Tanya Zaufi finds literary inspiration in tale of how she met her husband

Like many of us, Tanya Zaufi had a personal story to tell.

It was the kind of story that friends who heard it would say to Zaufi, ‘You should write a book about that.’

But unlike most of us who might entertain the notion but cast it aside as too overwhelming to contemplate, Zaufi began to write her story about how she and her husband Josef met when both worked on a cruise ship, and the trials and tribulations of a Canadian and Austrian trying to make a life together often in the face of adversity.

It took 10 years of perseverance, but Zaufi was able to finish and self-publish her biographical novel, All Over The Map.

The book is available online through Amazon and in bookstores, something that left the 47-year-old Zaufi a bit awestruck.

She describes it as a travel and romance memoir that is brimming with suspense, lust, longing and the magic of travel.

“All Over The Map is a poignant reminder that — even more importantly than romance — compromise, sacrifice and patience are the keys to everlasting love,” she said.

Indigo book shelf that included Tanya Zaufi’s first book, All Over The Map, as a staff favourite pick. (Contributed)

The book is available online through Amazon and in bookstores, something that left the 47-year-old Zaufi a bit awestruck.

“I was elated when I saw the book on the Indigo shelf surrounded by the company of other books by Obama, JFK and Meghan and Prince Harry. It was amazing for me to see it as a staff recommendation pick.”

The Lake Country resident wanted to send her inspiring personal love story to Ellen DeGeneres in the hopes she’d feature it on her popular talk show as a story of inspiration.

“Ten years ago I wrote the letter to Ellen, but never sent the letter, and it instead began to morph into what became my book,” she recalled.

“Since the book is done and out now, I have sent a copy and updated version of the letter to Ellen two months ago but haven’t heard anything back yet.”

All Over The Map depicts a period in Zaufi’s life from 1997 to 2007.

At the beginning of that time-frame, Zaufi was living in Kelowna and working at The Grand in an administrative job.

She and a friend were laid off at the same time and were contemplating what to do next. Her friend knew of someone who had found work in the cruise ship industry and thought maybe the two of them should pursue that option.

The duo applied for an employment ad posted by Princess Cruises. Their applications drew an immediate response from Princess, as both were invited for interviews in Vancouver.

“It was an awfully quick turnaround, about two weeks, from when we first applied. We both naively thought we’d be put on the same ship but that didn’t happen. I was given a plane ticket to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to start work,” she recalled.

She said the job involved working about 56 hours a week, with her food and accommodation aboard ship provided for free.

“You can pretty much save all your money you make so it was amazing in that sense, and you get to experience all the various destinations where you dock, places you otherwise might never be able to afford to go. And you are getting paid in U.S. dollars so you think to yourself this is all great.”

She worked in the winter months on cruise ships, also doing stints with the Disney and Renaissance cruise lines, and then returning to work at The Grand during the summer.

It was while at sea that she met her husband, a pastry chef from Austria, and how their relationship unfolded during that decade is the basis for her book.

Today, the couple have lived in Lake Country for the past 12 years and have two kids, ages 12 and 13.

“I think my husband and kids are pretty proud of me for getting a book published. Perseverance is the biggest thing. If you believe in what you are doing, then you just keep going and tell yourself you can do it. I think everyone has a story to tell from their own lives. “

With one book on the shelves, Zaufi is already thinking about writing a prequel about her experiences backpacking around Australia.

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