Maria Cruickshank has lived her life in the service of others. As a United Nations worker assigned to several peacekeeping missions, she has lived and worked in some of the most beautiful, interesting, and dangerous places on Earth.

1Now she shares her personal and professional memoirs of more than 20 years working to make the world a safer, more compassionate, and healthier place for all—qualities of basic human dignity that should never be taken for granted. She grew up in turbulent Guatemala, and some of her earliest memories involve visiting her father in a high-risk prison in her home country. Throughout her life, her work has taken her to Austria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Greece, India, and the killing fields of Cambodia. She has witnessed magical experiences and lived in environments that were by turns magnificent, turbulent, colorful, and delightful. Through her eyes, you can get a glimpse of life in these exotic, mysterious, and often misunderstood places—as well as the people who call them home.