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Author Mark Stephen Levy

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Denver, Colorado, United States
I was so inspired by my adventures while traveling throughout Europe, India, Nepal, Tibet, China, and other exotic locales that I had to write something. Then one day early last year, an idea started to take form quickly. I was finally enabled to weave some of my stories and integrate them into one of the best love story adventures to come along in years.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


…for life to change. It could be anything, a frozen moment in time that alters your life forever. An observance, an experience, something that you will remember forever because it changed everything you had thought you knew. For me it was entering the Middle East for the first time. Hearing the call of the Muezzin, the man that calls all of Islam to pray five times a day, and is called over a loud speaker so all can hear, is an eerie one. It is a compelling sound. It is a spiritual sound. It was my wake up call.

Instantly I was drawn to the sound while having my “I was not in Kansas anymore” moment. And something I will never forget. It was a cue for me to realize all we knew back in the homeland of the west, was not this. It was my cultural wake up call, and I liked it!

A few blog posts ago, I wrote that “we are what we write”. There were many travelers’ moments I recalled when writing OVERLAND. This was a forceful one. I had crossed from the South of Spain through the Straits of Gibraltar, a 45 minute ferry boat ride to the northern tip of Africa in a country called Morocco. Tangiers is the gateway city in Morocco where one can experience a cultural quantum shift faster than a winter sunset. It was my first moments in the Middle East. Within minutes and without any prior awareness and expectations, the supernatural sounds of the call to prayer radiated throughout and I was transformed forever.

Danny had the same experience in OVERLAND when entering Istanbul, Turkey. When he heard the call for the first time, everything stopped. He shifted his head a little, and was never going to be the same again. What it did do, was allow for him to experience and embrace all that he was going to live and experience that followed this moment. He embraced it, all of it, and made him a much better man along the way.

What was your wake up call, your “I’m not in Kansas anymore moment?

Mark Stephen Levy recently published his novel Overland, a fictional account of an American stranded in Kabul, Afghanistan December, 27, 1979

1 comment:

Maria K. said...

Mark, I have to ask... Considering all the travel and all the fascinating experiences you've had, why did you resort to non-fiction? I am not bashing "Overworld", but I actually enjoy your writing style better in your blogs, than in the book. I think if you pulled together a volume of travel notes and impressions and photos, it would have been just as powerful - maybe more so, because the reader would know: damn straight, this stuff really happened.