The Travelling Creative is a short interview series exploring the destinations professional creatives find most inspiring to their work. I interview writers, photographers, dancers, artists and designers about one place in the world where they found duende, and how that influenced and inspired their work.
Meet travelling creative Lily Ann Fouts, a blogger, writer and freelancer. The published author of two books Live Like a Local in Loja and Stella the Starling, Lily lives in a motorhome with her husband Keith and cat, Sprite, and works around the U.S., travelling the world between jobs. Lily has lived in over a dozen U.S. states, plus Mexico, Antarctica, and Ecuador.
What destination have you found most inspiring and impactful on your creative work?
“I loved Loja so much that I couldn’t help but write about it on my blog. The small city, nestled in a valley high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador, is the music and cultural capital of the country.
Almost every week, my husband Keith and I enjoyed regular concerts by the Loja Symphony Orchestra and other musicians, as well as other cultural events such as dance performances and craft sales.
As avid hikers, the beautiful green mountains and variety of climates and ecosystems within a short distance of Loja delighted us. There are endless hiking trails in the mountains around the city, and one of the most biodiverse national parks in the world is just next door.
Best of all, we fell in love with the people. Loja is mostly untouched by tourism. We speak Spanish, so we were able to interact with the people on a deeper level right away and begin forming friendships. The Lojanos struck us as generally kind, honest, generous, friendly and happy people.”
How has this inspiration manifested in a particular piece of work?
“Many people wrote to me with questions about Loja after finding my blog, which inspired the writing of my second book, Live Like a Local in Loja! We returned to Loja a few months ago and I revised and updated the book after that visit.”
What kind of creative/traveller would most appreciate Loja?
“Loja is an ideal destination for travellers who like a little adventure, love to get to know the locals, aren’t afraid to go off the beaten path, and enjoy the arts (especially music) and the outdoors. If you can manage a bit of Spanish, even better!
The greatest joy in visiting Loja is the interaction with the locals. They tend to be very welcoming of visitors who come with a respect and curiosity and who show even an attempt to communicate with them in Spanish. We’ve had some wonderful experiences with the locals ourselves, and I’ve heard many more great stories from others who have visited, so don’t cheat yourself out of this experience if you go!”
Lily’s upcoming book, Seven Years Running, recounts her childhood when she was kidnapped and taken to Mexico–which turned out to be a good thing. I have previewed the book’s first chapter (available on Lily’s website), and I’m super intrigued to read the rest of her story. You can learn more about travelling creative Lily Ann Fouts at, LilyAnnFouts.com.
Peace, love and inspiring travels,