Falling Uphill book cover and Scott standing on the edge of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
A selfie before cell phones were even invented. In the background is the ironically named Volcan Agua in Antigua, Guatemala.
A selfie before cell phones were even invented. In the background is the ironically named Volcan Agua in Antigua, Guatemala.

Writing the first draft of Falling Uphill in Guatemala

I wrote the first draft of Falling Uphill in Antigua, Guatemala. Often I took notes while atop the roof of my hotel below. Doesn’t this look like an author’s dream? I recommend all writer’s to get off their bum and go somewhere inspirational.

Below you can see my tiny, wooden writing desk. It was a little beat up but high-quality, sturdy wood, no doubt handmade. It was something I imagine Hemingway would have worked at under a tent in the African savanna.

In the center and the right are stacks of journals and printouts of my emails. As I was traveling, I mailed my handwritten journals home. (Update: Surprisingly, they all made it; however, one was lost for over 10 years in my parent’s house. I recently found them and added a new chapter to the anniversary edition.) These unedited originals were about 300,000 words. On the left is a stack of reference books and inspirational reading.

Once or twice a week, as I wrote the book by hand, I would go to the internet cafe and type them into an email.

Scott's tiny writing desk in a corner of a hotel in Antigua, Guatemala.
Scott’s writing desk in Antigua, Guatemala stacked full of books and journals.

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Scott Stoll is an author from my hometown who served as the U.S. Embassy’s cultural ambassador in Argentina during the 2011-2012 school year. His time in Argentina and collaboration with Argentine schools resulted in a Spanish language version of his book, Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life, about his 4 year journey around the world on his bicycle.

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