Grandmother shares love of travel, writing


Doris Lee McCoy is a woman who believes in the power of communication. A multi-published author, speaker, interviewer, television moderator and producer, McCoy is now passing that belief on to her 11-year-old grandson, Connor McCoy.

Connor recently released “From the Amazon: A Young Boy’s Journal,” a book he wrote with McCoy. It recounts his adventures in Peru when he accompanied his grandmother on a mission for the Explorer’s Club.

“I was so excited,” Connor said. “I had no idea what it was going to be like.”

As a young boy, Connor was raised on the tales of his grandmother’s adventures around the world. Her La Jolla home was filled with mementoes and souvenirs, and a large map on the wall marked all the countries McCoy had traveled to.

When Connor turned 9, McCoy decided he was ready to accompany her on a trip. The two were joined by Connor’s mother, Doreen McCoy, and headed out to South America.

The trip was made on behalf of the Explorer’s Club, of which McCoy is a member. They hoped to help villagers cultivate curare in order to generate income for the rainforest natives. Along the way, the trio would stop in Lima and Iquitos.

“I thought it would be different, like what you see on TV,” Connor said of his expectations before the trip.

Instead of shorts and flip-flops, he learned he would need long-sleeved shirts, pants and plenty of bug repellant for his journey to the Amazon rainforest.

The high point of Connor’s trip was fishing for piranhas. He didn’t have much luck catching any but other people in their party did. To remember his adventures, he bought a dried piranha to keep in his room.

Connor, now a seventh grader at Muirlands Middle School, said he wrote the book to help him remember the trip. He also hopes to teach others about the rainforest and those who live there.

“They live way different lives from us, but in some ways, it’s the same,” he said.

Diversity, education and global awareness are values obviously instilled by McCoy, who herself is widely traveled. She has explored Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Many of the trips have involved humanitarian missions.

A psychologist by training, McCoy was not too many years into private practice when she realized she wanted to reach more people. Everyone seemed to have a story to tell or legacy to share, and McCoy wanted to help people express themselves.

About 10 years ago, McCoy began doing television. Her first show was called “The Changing Woman” and addressed the balancing act women face. Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter were guests on the show. Subsequent shows for KPBS covered topics like “communication skills” and “the power of negotiations.”

Her publishing credits include “The Success Ingredient From Famous People,” “Trailblazers of the 21st Century,” “Megatraits: 12 Traits of Successful People,” “Remarkable Women” and, her current release, “America’s New Future,” which includes interviews with 100 American decision makers such as Sandra Day O’Connor, Steve Forbes and Larry King. “Journey of a Music Warrior” is McCoy’s most personal work, a tribute to her son Mark McCoy who died of cancer at age 39.

McCoy is currently working on a book entitled “Visionaries Change the World.” She has interviewed the likes of Brad Pitt, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Sir Edmund Hillary, Al Neuharth, Mark Victor Hanson, Nick Clooney, George Clooney, Pratibal Patil and others.

Despite the tremendous amount of work that goes into each book, McCoy continues to write. She is driven by both passion and conviction.

“There is a great deal of power in communication,” she said.

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