The Million Mile Walker Dispatch July, 2022 Inspiring, Encouraging & Mentoring: The Key to a Fulfilling Life!


Inspiring, Encouraging & Mentoring: The Key to a Fulfilling Life!

Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,

Last week, a colleague from my days with Food for the Hungry (over 25 years ago) wrote the following about the importance of mentoring and supporting those we work with:

Hi! I was watching one of my clients’ videos about a program that trains homeless and formerly incarcerated people for jobs and helps them get placed. It’s been very successful and helped a lot of people by giving them a second chance.  One of the employers who hire a lot of the people from the program said about the program, “Sometimes all a person needs is to be believed in, and they’re going to succeed.” It made me think about you. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the chances that I needed to be able to succeed in fundraising all of these years. 

Kelly now has her own successful grant writing company, which has benefited many projects and small organizations worldwide. I’ve always focused on selecting and mobilizing a good team, then supporting them to be successful, starting with those I worked with abroad before becoming a fundraiser. All of this reminded me of the joys of identifying, nurturing, and hopefully inspiring young professionals around us.

This month I’ll tell how and why even good writers can veer off the deep end—politically in Culture Watch. As always, I will share My Writing, Interviews, Reviews, Voices of the Day, What Others Are Sayingand an updated Calendar.

Culture Watch

My Scottish/Irish background attracted me to Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, which explains how so many of us ended up in the Appalachian area in dire poverty and how difficult it was to get out of that situation. The author movingly recounts the travails of his family, the terrible toll alcoholism, drug abuse, and an underlying code of honor took on his family—neither excusing nor judging their actions and decisions.
After the election of Trump, I found the book timely to understand why so many workers no longer identified with the Democratic Party and how desperate they were to find an alternative political option. The author provides examples and quantifiable sociological analysis of how extensive the gap between the wealthy and poor continues to grow here in the U.S. Here’s my review of this moving memoir.

Before the 2016 election, J.D. Vance referred to Trump as the “American Hitler,” “Cultural Heroin,” and a demagogue who was leading the white working class to a “dark place.” As the Republican Senate candidate for Ohio, even his Republican rivals agree that he’s turned himself inside out to mimic Trump’s belligerent style in pursuit of votes; a phenomenon observed around the country as otherwise intelligent people use tropes and conspiracy theories to gain power, a process described by this article.

My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews

Click on the Million Mile Walker poster above to access the Arizona Authors Association’s latest newsletter with my column, “What We’re Reading and Why,as well as highlighting several of my latest articles and the release of my new book. It also includes articles and resources from some of the best writers in the State.

This is from the latest Phoenix Writers Club Newsletter: Member Spotlight: Congratulations to Mark D Walker. Peace Corps Worldwide highlighted his new book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, on May 31st, 2022. It rolled out on June 1st. Here is the link to that blog:

  • About my new book:
    Emily Dickinson wrote, “There is no frigate like a book to take us to lands away….” In the newest edition of his Yin and Yang of Travel Series, author Mark Walker makes Dickinson’s unrealized nineteenth-century view of travel current and possible. In My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, the author guides the reader on the paths he traveled as an intrepid volunteer answering JFK’s call to action during the early years of the Peace Corps. He then quickly introduces us to his decades of international adventures and exciting escapades in America.
    First-time tourists and experienced travelers will find enjoyable reading and valuable travel advice in the pages of this quick-read travelogue. Throughout this tiny gem, the author reminds us of the value of service and respect for cultures and communities. Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness….” One might imagine that Mr. Twain would find that Mark D. Walker’s newest work, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, also decries prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness, while promoting intercultural understanding, friendship, and world peace. Tony Agnello, President, Friends of AfghanistanAnd this is from Ken Ekstrom, who helped me with several donor tours while at World Neighbors in Guatemala and Nicaragua. We were also on the Board of Advance Guatemala.
    Mark, I finally got a copy of “My Saddest Pleasures” a few days ago — I found it compelling enough and manageable enough that I read it yesterday in a single sitting — always wondering what the next chapter would bring. I must say that my esteem for Ligia — already high — went up several notches after reading about the first few trips after you got married!

    What Others Are Saying

    Sending My Book to Libraries:
    I so appreciate you. Thank you for the gift of a copy of your newest book….to Western’s Savage Library. It’s quite an honor to have a prolific and honored author as part of the Western alumni family. And that is amplified by your graciousness in giving our current and future students, faculty, and community the opportunity to learn and be inspired by your writings… Again, Thank you!  Thomas Burggraf, Executive Director, Western Colorado University Foundation

    Hi Mark, I wanted to confirm that I have received your book. Once it is cataloged, it will also show up on WorldCat List.  You are correct that other librarians will be able to see that we have it and be more aware of it. Daniel Arbino, Benson Latin America Collection, University of Texas/Austin.

    Voices of the Day

    Andrew Carnegie on libraries

    In recognition of the importance of libraries to our communities, I’m offering my new book for $5 if you pass it along to your local library after you’ve read it. Just go to my website and click on the “Signed Copy/Library Special” button and transfer the money—then provide me with your mailing address and I’ll send your signed copy.


  • July 23 Payson Book Festival (Outstanding event—over 90 writers).
  • Press release announcing my new book to publications throughout the country— (going out the first week of August)

You can find my 60 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos, at “Follow” me on Twitter., @millionmile_wal, and Facebook at for the latest on international affairs and literature. And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond,” by all means, rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it or, better still, purchase my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road.


Mark D. Walker

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