Blog Archives

Ecuador Bursts With Brilliance

Tyrel Nelson Author Interview

Stories from Ecuador provides readers with wonderful details about Ecuador and your time spent there. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Moving to Ecuador was life-changing. It was the biggest leap I’d taken at that point, and I sought to capture as much of my time abroad as possible. So I constantly wrote about my adventures in the country. I also composed the pieces almost immediately after they occurred—while everything was still fresh in my head. I didn’t want to lose perspective.

Upon returning to Minnesota, I read the vignettes to reflect on my year in South America. But as I scrolled through the pages, the concept of turning my collection of narratives into a book took shape. I went for it after discussing it with my dad. He was even the person who created the title.

“Stop overthinking it,” he insisted. “Call it ‘Stories from Ecuador’ and move on.”

When I committed to this undertaking, finishing it became more and more important to me. Not only did I wish to achieve the goal of writing a book—something I had never done—but I further wanted to tip my Twins cap to the individuals who enriched my experience along the way.

Is there one location in Ecuador that you highly recommend people visit?

Ecuador bursts with brilliance from the torrid flats flanking the Pacific coast to the lush rainforests dominating the eastern third of the Republic. Although my preference was to explore the tranquil municipalities tucked within its central mountain range, I highly recommend getting off the mainland. People must visit the Galapagos if they can afford the costliness of the archipelago. The exotic wildlife and vibrant colors on the islands are without equal, while the volcanic landscapes take tourists back to prehistoric times.

What is one thing you learned from your time in Cuenca?

I learned how to be a teacher. Aside from the 130-hour TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) workshop in Quito before my arrival in Cuenca, I had no classroom training. I’ll never forget how a teenager capped off one of my first classes at the Centro de Estudios Interamericanos.

“¡Por fin!” he yelled. Finally!

And I couldn’t blame him. I didn’t know how to conduct effective lessons during those early days, so I’m sure the 120 minutes ticked by sluggishly.

Yet after I got some sessions under my belt, I figured things out. I made a lot of mistakes and eventually learned from them. In fact, during my final teaching cycle, a dozen students treated me to dinner at a local restaurant to say thanks. Despite my growing pains in Cuenca, I developed several useful activities (especially group exercises), which I continue to carry out in my Spanish courses in the Twin Cities.

What do you hope is something that readers take away from your book?

I want my book to entertain readers and inspire them to visit Ecuador as well. The country left an enduring impression on me, and I hope the same happens to others.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

In Stories from Ecuador, one gets a glimpse into Tyrel Nelson’s background as well as his life as an English teacher during the 2007 and 2008 school years. They also become familiar with his host community of Cuenca. Through more than thirty illustrative vignettes, the author sprinkles Spanish, photos, and pieces of his personality to set the table for the audience as they meet the neighbors, nationals, and fellow foreigners who enriched the Minnesotan’s 365 days in South America. On hikes, horseback, buses, and boats, readers follow Nelson to popular destinations, not to mention the hidden hamlets that surround his town.

Stories from Ecuador

Stories from Ecuador is a collection of short, well-put-together, and connected stories of the author’s experiences while living and working in Ecuador. The book consists of thirty-four different stories all about the beauty of Ecuador and its welcoming people. It follows Nelson himself as he sets on a journey to work in this foreign country as an English teacher there. He writes about his whole experience from arriving at the airport in Ecuador and needing to quickly switch hostels due to overbooking, to detailed and beautifully explained sightseeing experiences in and around Cuenca, to the everyday life and activities he did and his overall impressions of the country that he got to call home.

One of my favorite stories definitely has to be one of the first stories in the book, where he meets his first friends there, Sheik and her son José. It is a heartwarming story about people instantly coming together and it sets the comfortable and cozy tone for the rest of the book. Nelson did a fantastic job at describing all the beautiful sights you can see and experience in Ecuador.

The book also does a great job of conveying that sense of the unknown that comes with moving to a foreign country and all the love, positivity, laughs and friendships that come with it. In addition to that, the book is filled with pictures of all the people and sights that the author got to meet and see during his stay. This really helps readers to become fully immersed in the authors experiences and understand the beauty with their own eyes.

Stories from Ecuador by Tyrel Nelson conveys all the wonder and joy that comes with traveling and living in a foreign land. It will certainly make you want to visit Ecuador. This is an entertaining and educational book that will transport you to South America as it provides a clear and beautiful view at one persons time in an exotic country.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B08T9KMFV8

Buy Now From Amazon

An Outlet For My Heartbreak

Tyrel Nelson Author Interview

Travels and Tribulations tells your story of grief and travels, and how they have made you the person you are now. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Travels and Tribulations provided an outlet for my heartbreak after my mom passed away in May 2020. Losing my second parent wrecked me, and I felt an incredible sense of urgency to not only honor my mother but also my father, who is in several of the chapters. This book was a means for me to preserve their memory.

Working on this collection gave me a purpose too, keeping me from sinking even deeper into depression when I was laid off shortly after Mom died. It rolled me out of bed when I just wished to dawdle in my despair and let life happen to me.

Finally, I included lots of travel vignettes for a couple of reasons. I primarily wanted to show how such excursions shaped my course. But I further sought to give the audience a way to escape during a time when globetrotting wasn’t possible.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The section revolving around my mom’s death was the toughest for me. The emotions are especially raw in the stories because I composed them not long after she died. In fact, I still get a lump in my throat when I read those chapters because they transport me right back to such poignant moments. Yet I’m glad I wrote the narratives as soon as I did. Otherwise, I would’ve lost the perspective of my intense grief.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

My dad said the only way to change the world was through people. He’d stress that we can stand as many walls as we want, but we make a real impact by building relationships. I’ve taken volunteer trips to various parts of the Americas over the years, and his message has been a driving force behind my journeys. A lot of the projects have been interesting, but the individuals whom I’ve gotten to know in these places truly made them memorable.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

A few months ago, a reader told me that Travels and Tribulations inspired her to reconnect with her parents. That’s the reaction I hoped to evoke when I engrossed myself in this undertaking. I want my book to motivate others to not take time for granted, to do and say meaningful things before it’s too late.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

In the spring of 2020, Tyrel Nelson lost his mother. And he lost his job in the summer. Isolated by the pandemic and hamstrung by agony, he felt forgotten by the world as it marched on. Unhappy, uneasy, and unemployed, he began picking himself up by putting down his thoughts on a yellow legal pad.

Battling through his bereavement on paper proved to be cathartic. But he needed more – a writing project he could sink his grief into. So he sorted through many of the narratives he had composed over the last dozen years. Reflecting and reexamining his existence, Tyrel brainstormed what to do with the pieces which pulled at him the most. A compilation describing significant individuals, places, and moments during the past decade-plus started to take shape.

Travels and Tribulations is an emotional and chronological collection of vignettes, which commences in 2008 and concludes in 2020. While readers follow him on excursions in North, Central, and South America, they also accompany Nelson to the peaks and valleys of his personal life. Profoundly impacted by the deaths of both his parents, the author guides the audience through his anguish, depicting reminiscences and regrets as he openly tries to make sense of everything.

Travels and Tribulations

Travels and Tribulations by Tyrel Nelson is a wonderful and insightful collection of short stories following the author’s journey through various locations where he has lived, worked, or just passed through. It is full of lovely anecdotes and in-depth recollections of some of his adventures as he has traveled around the world and recounts some of the interesting characters he has met along the way.

Each short story provides excellent insight for the reader into some of the lesser-traveled parts of the world and celebrates each culture Nelson had the pleasure of experiencing. This memoir is an excellent guide for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge about various countries or looking for travel tips for their own explorations.

This book is the perfect way for the author to share some of his more personal travel experiences. By incorporating some of the local dialects and languages from his adventures, readers experience the culture in a more personal manner. Passages such as, “¿Qué piensan los estadounidenses de la muerte?”, which are then translated for the reader, have the effect of transporting you on Tyrel Nelson’s travels with him. Giving a more rich and authentic feel to the writing.

Tyrel Nelson has created an informative and influential travelogue and shared some fantastic stories and knowledge of local areas while traveling. However, I feel each chapter could have been a bit longer as I yearned to know more about the surroundings and other events that took place while he was in the area. I would definitely like to learn more about his adventures.

Travels and Tribulations is the memoir of Tyrel Nelson. This heartwarming book is more than a collection of his travels; it documents his personal struggles and the challenges of losing his parents. What started as a project to pick himself up turned into a cathartic experience that he now shares with the world.

Pages: 101 | ASIN : B08T1R4DWY

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: