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A memoir of transformation

Besse LynchDaily CorrespondentVail CO Colorado
Daily file photo/Dominique Taylor
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It is hard to imagine ever leaving the Vail Valley, even more difficult when you have spent 25 years here. Moe Mulrooney has mastered the art of life transformation: She spent 25 years creating and growing the Learning Tree in Vail, and then started a new adventure in Tulum, Mexico running La Selva Mariposa, a bed and breakfast she opened with her husband, Lou.Before their adventure together as inn-keepers in Mexico, Lou embarked on a solo bike trip that would take him 4,000 miles from Colorado to the California coast. Along the way he challenged himself and what he understood about the world. Now, Mulrooney, who also goes by the name Mari Pintkowski, has compiled his journals from that trip and combined them with the story of their life and adventures together to create a moving memoir of transformation, “Shifting Gears: A Journey of Reinvention.”Mulrooney and Lou will visit the Bookworm this Sunday for a meet and greet to talk about their new book and catch up with old friends. 1. Vail Daily: You spent 25 years in Vail. How has that mountain life informed your writing?Moe Mulrooney: My writing in my past life in Vail was all about the children I nurtured as a teacher at Learning Tree. The last 10 years at Learning Tree, the teachers (myself included), wrote lengthy notes in the children’s journals on a daily basis. It was all about what we were learning from each other: kids to kids, kids to teachers, teachers to teachers, parents to teachers and so on. I was not trained as a writer and have had to work hard over the years to improve my skills. It is not a natural talent, just a passion for what I am writing. 2. VD: How does writing fit into your daily life as an inn-keeper in Tulum, Mexico?MM: When I wrote my first book, “Embarking on the Mariposa Trail,” we had not yet started our B&B business, so it was just an exercise to relieve my frustration and to fill my time. With this book, I first started transcribing Lou’s travel journals on the computer in the afternoons for a couple of hours. My sister, Murray, who is also a published writer and teacher, was my copy editor and guided me along. I found great creative energy at the beach and when I returned to the jungle I felt peaceful. I also write travel articles about the area on a web site called http://www.sac-be.com and I love this. It is a very creative outlet for me and keeps Lou and I exploring the area. 3. VD: What brings you back to the Vail Valley?MM: My only daughter Ailish and her husband, Rich, and their two boys Kaidan, 4-and-a-half years old, and Breck, 1-and-a-half years old, live in Windsor, near Fort Collins, so we close our B&B for about six weeks in September and October and come to visit. We still have many friends in Vail and could not imagine being so close without coming up to the mountains. 4. VD: If there was one thing you could bring with you when you return to Mexico, what would it be?MM: That’s easy! I would bring my grandsons back for a visit. They do come once a year, but it is not enough. 5. VD: How did you first get the idea to write your latest book “Shifting Gears: A Journey of Reinvention”?MM: After writing my first book, I realized I loved to write. It gave me a little piece of “academia” that was missing in my life. I was always intrigued by the solo bike journey Lou took 14 years ago and never knew anyone who was brave and strong enough to do this type of journey, not to mention when he was turning 50. I also wanted to do this project as a gift to Lou, who had been an amazing partner and husband for almost 10 years.6. VD: Was there anything you didn’t already know about your husband that came about in writing the book?MM: Writing someone else’s story that you are actually a part of gives you a lot of insight into yourself as well as into the other person. I discovered that Lou was always trying to receive the recognition he felt he deserved from his peers, not his family. The process of writing our story was a very personal experience, but I felt like it was a story I wanted to share with others. 7. VD: What will be your next adventure in writing?MM: I plan to keep writing for http://www.sac-be.com and will write a children’s book dedicated to my second grandson about our rescued dog, Rosey, and the journey that took her through hurricane Wilma and Emily before coming to La Selva Mariposa. My head is full of stories of our travels. And who knows, perhaps these may develop into another travel memoir. Besse Lynch works at the Bookworm of Edwards. Email comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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