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Whitworth alumna publishes book reflecting on her journey through life and all 50 states

October 28, 2013

Whitworth alumna Allison (Spotts) Vesterfelt, ’05, recently published a book, Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage, through Moody Publishers.

Vesterfelt graduated from Whitworth with a B.A. in English and a minor in religion and biblical studies. She always envisioned herself as a writer, but she chose a more practical career path: she earned a master’s in teaching degree at George Fox University and landed a full-time teaching job in Portland, Ore.

The idea for the next stage of her life and her book came from a friend who asked her a hypothetical question: “If you could do anything with your life, free of financial worries, what would you do?” In response, Vesterfelt expressed her lifelong dream to travel across the country and write a book about it. She then decided to pursue that dream, resigning from her job, moving out of her apartment, and selling everything she owned.

“From the moment I decided to go, until now, it's been a journey of fighting fear, self-doubt, overcoming obstacles, and making difficult decisions,” Vesterfelt says. “The book is about my journey, not just across the country, but my journey to discovering what I really wanted to do with my life.”

Vesterfelt and a friend drove across the country, traveling through 48 states in her Subaru and visiting Alaska and Hawaii by plane.

“The biggest lesson I learned while traveling is this: It is possible to live the life you really want to live,” Vesterfelt says. “It is okay to want what you want. But there will be many things you have to let go of in the process.”

Vesterfelt was also inspired by a quote by author John Elderedge: “Don’t ask yourself what this world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do that. Because what this world needs are people who have come alive.”

Vesterfelt plans to continue writing books (and essays and blog posts) and chasing her dreams. Now living in Minneapolis, Minn., she maintains an active speaking schedule and is the managing editor of Prodigal Magazine, an online platform for storytellers. To learn more about her, visit her blog at

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.