Go on an excursion around the world with Kristina Liu’s new book
Breckenridge resident releases ‘The Inside Out Journey: An Elusive Search for Self Across Three Continents’
Breckenridge resident Kristina Liu has spent her life traveling around the globe, and she wants to inspire people to do the same. The psychologist and life coach runs a retreat in Peru and has recently released a new book about her treks in the Amazon jungle as well as Spain, Croatia and other locals. Called “The Inside Out Journey: An Elusive Search for Self Across Three Continents,” the paperback is part memoir and part guide on personal development.
Liu was born Shenyang, China, moved to Germany when she was 10, moved to Beijing when she was 12 and then came to the U.S. when she was 14 — first to Burlington, Vermont, and next to Chicago.
“Part of it was exciting, but the other part, as a kid, you kind of want to keep your friends and stay in one place,” Liu said. “When I first moved to Germany, it was interesting because it was my first time abroad and because I didn’t speak the language. That made things difficult, and I didn’t know anyone.”
Change followed Liu in her adult life as she lived in France and Singapore, pursuing multiple degrees and working with various corporations. Eventually, Liu ended up in Breckenridge in 2019 to be with her fiance, yet before that, she worked with the company Remote Year in 2018 to travel and coach simultaneously. Liu enjoys how coaching blends her familiarity with the corporate world and passion for psychology.
“Challenge is going to happen no matter what in life,” Liu said about what she coaches. “But it is really about how do you look at it. Do you let the challenges beat you down or do you actually get stronger from the challenges?”
Remote Year took her to 12 cities — one a month — across three continents. She started in Cape Town, South Africa, before making her way to European cities such as Lisbon, Portugal, and ended in South American destinations like Bogota, Colombia.
The year inspired her to write about her trip before the coronavirus pandemic and rise of remote work, but releasing the book now coincidentally has made it more relevant for a wider audience. It is similar to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” and other titles, but Liu said it is a more contemporary view of what it’s like to travel since she traveled in a group as a well as maintained a career throughout.
“It’s not so much a chronicle like a diary — it’s partly what happened — but it’s most importantly what I learned through the experiences,” Liu said. “You can see how I transformed during the 12 months.”
• “The Inside Out Journey: An Elusive Search for Self Across Three Continents” by Kristina Liu
• DreamSculpt Books and Media, January 2022
• 240 pages, $16.95 for paperback and $9.95 for e-book
• Available from TheInsideOutJourneyBook.com
The book actually stemmed from Liu’s psychology dissertation. Liu doesn’t consider herself a writer and at first only documented the year with Instagram posts and small blogs. Her psychology professor then encouraged her to use the journey to write an autoethnographic piece that is more in the first-person rather than a traditional research paper. Liu finished the dissertation at the end of 2019 using the concept of transformative learning and looking at what happened to her that year.
Yet a scientific paper doesn’t translate into a book automatically.
Liu sat on the idea for five months, unsure how to shape the writing, until an editor reached out to help structure the book and take it from an academic piece to something for a wider audience. It took her nine months of fleshing out descriptions and then another nine months of editing and distilling the words down to the most interesting parts.
Liu isn’t sure if she’ll write a follow-up — she said it would probably depend on if another topic comes along — but she’s proud to have it out there for people to read.
“It’s a book for anyone who enjoys travel, or maybe hasn’t traveled very much but is curious about it, and anyone who is interested in remote work,” Liu said. “I think that’s very relevant to what people want to do these days. We can have the cake and eat it, too.”
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