Travels and Tribulations - Book Review

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Book Review of :  Travels and Tribulations


Tyrel Nelson, the author of Travels and Tribulations, is a nonfiction author with a diverse background in foreign travel, volunteering with nonprofit humanitarian efforts, and teaching Spanish. His unique writing style of using homophones to create humor and metaphors that enrich the tone of his stories is as picturesque as his many color photographs.

While Nelson's book is a tribute to the wonders of travel, it also serves as an emotional catharsis for all he faced in 2020. It was a challenging year for him as he grieved the loss of his mother and said goodbye to job security, and due to the Covid pandemic, he experienced unprecedented isolation. This collection of essays, some previously published and others newly written vignettes, explores his journey. Some are joyous discoveries, and some are sorrowful moments when mourning a loss or recognizing regret. The book is painstakingly crafted during times of unprecedented isolation, and readers can be sure that every word speaks volumes about boldly facing complicated emotions with grace and honesty. His creative outlet allowed him to uncover feelings that would have otherwise been left unexplored, creating an intensely moving memoir where melancholy reflections are woven into tales from faraway lands.

Throughout the travel stories emphasizing community volunteer projects, the author introduces the reader to microscopic observations of the country and its geography. His depictions, with insightful, raw emotions, of the character and lives of native people allow the reader to feel united with many individuals and their cultures. The reader develops empathy with Dona Viky, a motherly Mexican woman who is not only the volunteer team's cook and hostess but, after several intense weeks of work, is a close friend, and saying "goodbye" is difficult.

Nelson states that before his father passed away, he stressed: "that the best way to change the world is through people, not projects." Nelson says that although community service programs have allowed him to travel outside his comfort zone, the opportunity to build relationships has allowed him to meet incredible individuals. These relationships are the most memorable.

Nelson wrote several narratives about his travels that involved death, cultural customs relating to death, and grief. His mother's death had left him emotionally raw. The writing was cathartic and provided an outlet for him to release grief, honor his mother and father, and preserve their memory.

This insightful, heartwarming book documents a personal emotional voyage with spiritual overtones. Following the author as he travels through love and loss and then through change, the reader will make personal connections with the writer's work. Travels and Tribulations will inspire readers to maximize every moment and make their lives as meaningful and impactful as possible. It encourages connection with loved ones, while also imbuing a sense of compassion toward children living in less privileged parts of the world — motivating us all to lend our time or talents towards making the world a better place for future generations.

Reviewed by: carole

About Tyrel Nelson


Tyrel Nelson wears many hats - award-winning writer, bilingual teacher, non-profit organizer, and service-trip leader - to name a few. Tyrel has lived in Venezuela, Spain, Nicaragua, and Ecuador and is passionate about leading volunteer trips all over Latin America. In his latest memoir, Travels, and Tribulations, he shares details from his unique experiences abroad and immerses himself in other cultures. He weaves his travel experiences with some of life's greatest trials, emotions, and tender mercies throughout his beautiful books. He holds a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish Studies - plus a School for International Training TESOL Certificate. He's spent time teaching English abroad and currently teaches Spanish in his home state of Minnesota. He and his wife have been married 6 years, have a 14-month-old daughter, and a 31-year-old painted turtle, Kirby. When he's not jet-setting around the globe or working, Tyrel enjoys every minute spent with family and playing his guitar for loved ones.

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