"The purpose of my life is not to get what I want. The purpose of my life is to become who I am."
—Cara Lopez Lee
Cara Lopez Lee grew up in Los Angeles, dream capital of the world. Yet at first she didn't trust her dream. "When I read Little Women in third grade, I wanted to be a writer," Cara says. "But I thought only special people did that. So, I opted for an easier dream: becoming a Hollywood star." She performed in amateur theatre, but at twenty-two decided she was too old for her big break. Instead, she followed a drummer to Denver. The musician dumped her, but she stayed to discover the outdoors and to earn a journalism degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Cara started her news career as an anchor/reporter/producer in Juneau, Alaska, where the only way in or out of town is by boat or plane. She went on to Anchorage, and from there traveled all over the Last Frontier to cover a variety of unusual stories, from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to Alaska Native rights. "I realized that what I'd loved most about acting was the stories. I developed a passion for writing."
She also developed a taste for adventure: kayaking, hiking, skiing, and more. Unfortunately, her love of adventure lured her to Alaskan men who were wilder than wise. After landing in a love triangle with two alcoholics, Cara chose a new dream: she backpacked around the world alone. You can read about her adventures in They Only Eat Their Husbands: a Memoir of Alaskan Love, World Travel, and the Power of Running Away, (Ghost Road Press, 2010). "I hope my story inspires people to do what pop psychology tells us not to: run away."
After her trek, Cara worked as a reporter for the PBS newsmagazine North Carolina Now and writer/field producer for HGTV, Discovery Health, and Food Network. Her stories have appeared in such publications as The Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, and Wazee Journal. In 2009, she created Girls Trek Too, a blog and workshop devoted to inspiring women to approach life as an adventure. She and Vietnam War veteran Ed Turner recently co-authored Back in the Real World: A Novel (Graham Publishing Group, 2011). She has earned 16 awards from The Alaska Press Club and Denver Woman's Press Club.
Cara is currently working on a historical novel. She also edits books, coaches writers, and leads writing workshops for Writing by Cara. To date, she has explored 19 countries, and she's nowhere near finished. When she's not traveling, writing, or hiking she enjoys feeding her other addictions: to books, movies, and swing dancing. In 2003, she got married at a Costa Rican volcano. Cara and her husband survived both dangers and now live in Denver.
Watch a Short Video about Cara
Read Cara's travel series: World Wide Wanderer
World Wide Wanderer, Article 1, page 1
World Wide Wanderer, Article 1, page 2
World Wide Wanderer, Article 2, page 1
World Wide Wanderer, Article 2, page 2
World Wide Wanderer, Article 3, page 1
World Wide Wanderer, Article 3, page 2