Jodi Cowles caught the travel bug when her parents took her on her first international flight at six months of age. Since then, she’s traveled through more than 45 countries and lived in seven. Her first attempt at living overseas on her own was the culture-clashing nightmare of teaching English in South Korea, made all the worse because the only marketable skill after graduating from Bible College that she brought to the job was her ability to speak her native language.

A decade of cubicle work passed before she tried again, joining an international aid organization where her job as the single employee of the video production department took her to many countries that aren’t on the typical tourist circuit. A common trip to visit her Spanish-speaking colleagues working across North Africa, Asia and Indonesia might include: four different languages, six different cultures, multiple legs of solo travel across territory that may or may not have been stupid to travel alone, bouts of intestinal distress from unwillingly participating in multiple meals a day, and almost unlimited opportunities to learn whether or not God could be trusted.

After that excitement she was finally ready to settle down, so seven years ago she accepted the first proposal she ever received that did not involve an exchange of camels. Currently she lives in Istanbul, Turkey, with her husband and daughter. She divides her time between writing, making a fool of herself trying to speak Turkish, and helping her husband run their business teaching English. Also, there’s the minor daily challenge of trying to properly raise a two-year-old who thinks it’s perfectly normal to walk up a street where everyone knows her name and showers her with treats on a daily basis.