Who Will Accompany You?
Meg Stafford with Kate Stafford and Gale Stafford
River Grove Books (2022)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (06/2022)
“Who Will Accompany You?” by Meg Stafford is a reflective take on the author’s “Mother-Daughter Journeys Far from Home and Close to the Heart.” Broken up into three sections, Meg (the mother), reflects on her journeys to foreign lands with her daughters, Kate and Gale, with the respective sections including the daughter’s point of view as well. Travels to Nepal, Bhutan, and Columbia find the three women taking in each new land’s sights, sounds, and culture. The experiences are memorialized through pictures scattered throughout the text and the accompanying explanation and information presented have a positivity that ripples throughout the entire book, causing the reader to feel a slight tinge of jealousy or possibly the traveling bug?
It is evident from the text that all three women came home from their travels with a wealth of knowledge, both internal and external. The experiences these ladies left their lands with are unlike anything learned from an academic classroom and are reported on in both a reflective and comical manner. The overall, encompassing question of “Who Will Accompany You?” is left open for the reader to reflect on and decide based on their life. Depending on what stage of life the reader is in, it can be difficult no matter what, especially if it involves letting someone go who you care deeply about. Maybe you don’t always have to choose that route, maybe you can accompany them during at least part of their journey, which could in turn affect you in ways you never thought.
All of the women’s writing style is fluid, and positive, and drives home their point consistently. I felt I learned things about each country that was visited and could picture myself along for the ride. One of the women talks about the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” and reading through “Who Will Accompany You?” is reminiscent and similar to “Eat, Pray, Love” in that the women each find something meaningful about the location in general, but also how they apply that meaningfulness to themselves internally to seek self-discovery in the midst of uncertainty. I appreciate how Meg pointed out in the forward that this book can be relevant and useful for readers of nearly all ages, being grouped into young adventurers and parents.
If you read this book expect to learn much, not just from an academic stance (i.e. about the locations, their cultures, food, attire, etc), but also about yourself and how you can do some soul-searching to answer “Who Will Accompany You?”