This is not the kind of book I often read: an account of someone’s life events especially tragic ones that have been covered in the media. But I had seen a snipet of an Amanda Lindhout interview and I was intrigued.
Amanda Lindhout had a passion for travelling and worked in her native Alberta between backpacking trips to make enough money to leave again. She eventually picks up some photography and writing skills and tries her hand at free-lance journalism. After some minor assignments, in 2008, she plans a trip to Somalia to try to do something no one was doing at the time, reporting from inside this lawless country, one of the most dangerous in the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, her team is kidnapped. Her book covers in detailed the conditions of her detention and the hardships she had to endure, as well as what she learned from it.
While what a lot of people commenting on that book talk about is the story of survival and resilience, what most interested me about the book were the parts where she talks about her various experiences trying to work as journalist, exploring her options, making mistakes and learning from them. There are some interesting reflections on what makes a journalist: Formal training? Credentials? Experience? Talent? Luck? The same questions apply to many occupations and a lot of us have built careers doing nothing closely resembling what we learned in school, essentially learning the ropes from colleagues on the job.