Not All Who Wander Are Lost …

Bonita Jewel, MFA
3 min readDec 2, 2021

Here’s a little bit of my back story …

The daughter of roving missionaries, my first memories were of India, where my parents lived for three years.

They had also lived in Germany, Italy, various parts of the United States, but that was before my time.

I was child number five (out of six) and came along only 16 months after my older sister. Lots of people thought we were twins.

In fact, I’ve been mistaken for each of my sisters at some point in time … once by my sister’s own son …

But back to my story:

My earliest memories include fainting from the heat after a morning beneath the Indian sun, getting sick on an overnight train ride with my dad, and enjoying the crisp saltiness of moong dal (every other snack, it seemed, was just too spicy).

My parents settled down in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where I lived from the age of five to 16. (I fainted from the heat there too, more than once.)

I also read hundreds of books, homeschooled alongside my five siblings, wrote some really bad poetry (all of which I burned on my parents’ grill when I was 12), and graduated from high school at 14.

I returned to India at 16 and called it home for nearly 12 years.

During that time, I worked with the Deaf in New Delhi, with college students in Pune, and was involved in ministry work and early childhood education in Bangalore.

I also started writing poetry again (and this time did not burn it).

After returning to California’s San Joaquin Valley with my husband and our three children, I went back to school and (very slowly) made my way through it, eventually getting a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.

I have been featured in several online and print publications, including Splickety Love, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and SEEK Magazine.

I’ve been a freelance editor and writer, for the past decade. I also home school my boys part-time and teach at a small elementary school part-time.

My boys and I in October 2020

I drink homemade chai with ginger every morning and love to read aloud to my boys in the evenings. (I love to read aloud to my daughter too, but…