Calhoun native writes book about nationwide travels

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When Calhoun native Maggie Harrison Lowery set out years ago to travel the United States in search of a job, she did not expect to find herself.

Lowery has traveled to nearly every region of the United States—to be precise, every state with the exception of Alaska, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont—with only the open road and her 1992 Honda Accord for company.

Now that she has settled down slightly and is pursuing a doctorate degree at the University of North Dakota, Lowery decided to write a book about her travels, called “Pressing My Way Throughout America.”

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“This book is about my life …growing up in the segregated south and later traveling all over America looking for opportunities in work, education, and a better living environment,” Lowery said.

Originally bent on breaking into a fashion design school in New York, Lowery said that she would be consumed by a desire to travel in between jobs.

Whether they were random states or ones inhabited by friends and family, Lowery always found jobs quickly, teaching school, handling social work or in juvenile corrections.

One of the first topics she addresses is the misconception that some people from around the nation develop about southerners.

“They think everybody from Alabama is a Ku Klux Klansman,” Lowery joked.

“Not all black folks and white folks are enemies.  Even in the 50s, my family had lots of white friends that came to our farm and taught vegetables.  I try to teach both sides of the story.”

But early life in the state of Alabama is hardly the only topic of interest. Lowery has had her share of adventure, detailing a handful of particularly wild stories from time spent in California.

As far as the inspiration for her book goes, the stories wrote themselves.

Publishing the book, however, was another matter entirely.

But fortune smiled on Lowery in the form of a student in one of the courses she taught at the University of North Dakota, and with his help she was able to land a publishing deal with Createspace, a subsidiary of Amazon.

According to Lowery, she learned just as much from publishing the book as she did writing it.  She gained and in-depth understanding of copyright law, International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), digitally enhancing photos and a great deal more.

Lowery still has her time-tested Accord, though she travels less frequently these days. She added that she still has aspirations to go abroad, though she’s grown quite fond of her North Dakota home.

Her doctorate will be completed in another year, at which point she’ll once again be faced with the option to move again.

Regardless, her travels have given her a new outlook on people and herself.  Even throughout the good and bad experiences of her travels, she’s learned one lesson—people are still people.

“The purpose of this book is to enlighten readers of how America really is different but still the same from one geographical area to another.”