Review & Interview: The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan

The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan

The Yellow Envelope is an incredibly raw and honest memoir about having the courage to go after a dream. After establishing her career and acquiring everything she always thought she wanted out of life, Kim Dinan realized that she wasn’t happy. She didn’t want that life. She wanted to quit her job to travel the world and write. And she was able to convince her husband to support her in this journey. But that doesn’t mean it was easy.

With the help of some amazing friends, Kim and Brian’s plans expanded to include giving away money to whomever they chose while traveling the world. This book is Kim’s account of their time abroad. It’s emotional, it’s funny, it’s so real and so captivating. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. You know I don’t often enjoy memoirs, but something about Kim’s email hooked me, and I couldn’t resist accepting a review copy of this book. I’m so glad I did.

This book will be one of the ones that sticks with me long after this year is done. Kim’s writing sucked me in right away. But it’s her courage and daring that kept me reading. She had the guts to follow her dream, and it was really hard. This book had all the plot I am always seeking in the books I read. And best of all, it’s true! She really did these things – that rickshaw race. OMG! So amazing.

If you enjoy memoirs at all or if you just want a great story, do not miss this book. It’s fantastic!

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.


Author Kim Dinan

Interview with Author Kim Dinan

When you decided you wanted to travel and write, did you intend to write about your travels or did you have a different kind of writing in mind? Did you imagine that you’d be writing a memoir about this experience?

I’ve always wanted to write non-fiction and found myself drawn to writing personal essays about life via the lens of travel. I find travelogue-type travel writing a little boring but I love travel writing that expresses the essence of things—not only the place the writer is visiting but what the writer learns about herself by flinging herself into the unknown. When I started traveling I had no idea I would write a memoir about the experience. I mean, I suppose deep down I did hope to write a memoir about it, but I had essentially no real writing credits to my name, so publishing a book felt like a nearly impossible dream.


How did you approach writing this book? Were you keeping detailed notes throughout your trip? Did you reference your blog posts? Were you writing the book all along? Your book had the perfect amount of details, and I’m just curious how you managed to accomplish that when the book references your experiences from several years ago.

I wrote in my journal every day and I also blogged and referenced those blog posts. I took thousands of photos, too. I wrote the first chapter of the book while I was in India, but that was really the only work I did on the book while in the midst of traveling. We settled in Mexico for a while, and it was there that I sat down to write a draft of the book and a book proposal. But most of the work I did back in the US. When I sat down to write about a certain country I’d first print out the photos I had of the place and hang them all around my desk. Then I’d read the journal entries and blog posts I’d written. I thought it might be hard for me to go back in time like that but once I really immersed myself it was easy. In many ways I feel like I got to live the trip twice- once in real time and once again while writing.


What are you and Brian up to now? Have you continued traveling?

We’ve been settled back in the US for two years now. I’m a freelance writer, so I can work anywhere, but Brian has a full-time job. And we have a daughter now who will be two in September. We’ve traveled a bit around the U.S. but no big trips overseas—yet. We have some plans in the works that will correlate with my next book, but they aren’t set in stone yet so I can’t say… suspenseful, right? 😉


What sucked me into your story right away was your honesty and bravery in taking control of your life and in telling your story. What was the hardest part of your journey? And what was the hardest thing about writing your book?

The hardest part of the journey was at the very beginning when I admitted to myself what I really wanted and let myself believe that I could live a different kind of life. It’s terrifying to step off of the well-worn path and I doubted myself every step of the way. I wondered if I was destroying my life or my chances at a good future. That sounds pretty dramatic now that I have the benefit of standing where I stand now, but back then I had no idea how it would all turn out and it was scary. The hardest part about writing the book—besides the effort it takes to just sit down and write the damn thing—was reliving the challenging parts of my marriage. That was a tough time to live through and I didn’t exactly feel like rehashing it all over again for the public… but I knew it was an important part of the story and of my journey so I didn’t exclude it.


Thanks, Kim! Your book is entertaining and inspiring. Thanks for sharing it with me!


The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World
Kim Dinan
April 1, 2017

What Would You Do with a Yellow Envelope?

After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they're given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don't overthink it; share your experiences; don't feel pressured to give it all away.

Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving--of ourselves--is transformational.

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