Billy Joel is the word.
He had it right when he wrote the song “Tell Her About It.” Of course I’ve wanted to give a tape of this song to more than one ex-boyfriend, but now I have the proper writing situation to relate it to.
On Monday, I got an email from Andrea and Dale Johnson asking me if I had time to have lunch with them while they were enroute to Portland, the home they’d left well over a year ago. I had never heard of them before, but they said they were fellow BootsnAll writers, and their t-log, Pursuit of an Endless Summer, covered similar ground to my trip last year. They said that they had loved reading “I Wanna Be a Travel Writer,” and had also become hooked on Travelers’ Tales books while driving 18,000k across Australia.
In my rule book, flattery will get you everywhere, and Andrea had just complimented my writing and mentioned Australia in the same sentence—how could I say no?
They met me at Travelers’ Tales and regaled the staff with their story of how they got hooked on TT in Oz. They’d read to eachother while driving across the Outback, matching stories to their present location. Andrea told us about how TTcraved they were in Indonesia, but got their fix again in Singapore. All of us at TT thought it was pretty cool to hear about the books that were read, passed on, stolen, and which titles survived to make it back to their guest room library. Hearing about all the different countries they’d just been to made me hungry, so off we went to lunch.
Andrea and Dale had many good stories to tell about their travels, and over 70 of them are posted on their trip journal on AirTreks.com. (I will say that the Endless Summer log on BootsnAll is much more inviting from an outsider’s perspective, but it was good to learn about the great feature that Air Treks has for it’s customers.)
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One of the questions that Andrea asked me was if I got a lot of responses from my tlog on BootsnAll. I told her of a few of the ones that had written in, but that I was sure there were others that just never said anything. Like she and Dale. As we talked Andrea referred to several of my stories, and it became clear that she had read most of my new blog, Written Road, as well. I told them of a time when I had passed on their Ayer’s Rock story to a friend who was about to visit Oz as an example of reading and passing good info without commenting to the author. I guess Andrea had found that she had wanted to comment on my tlog, and others, but felt intimidated by needing to send a well written email.
I let them know that every time a stranger wrote to me about my travlog, it made my day. Some gave heaps of praise, and others just said they had read it, liked it, and encouraged me to keep it up. Either way, it was great. And I was continuing to be flattered by her interest in Written Road.
Andrea and Dale are in transition, and we could have talked all afternoon comparing experiences both on the road and in the return. They’re trying to figure out their next steps, and even which direction they want to take with all the writing they did and photos they took on their grand adventure. I wasn’t shy about getting past the mush and rosiness of their trip, and asked about the times when things got rocky. Dale let loose, and now we were getting to the stories that could really sell.
I offered up some magazines and print outlets for them to research before pitching their stories to, and they suggested I start charging for this service. An interesting thought.
It was a great lunch, and in addition to talking shop, the three of us got to talk about how great Australia is. Something we’re finding more and more difficult to do among our own friends. And as you know, I’m always looking for a new audience for me to get to talk about Oz with.
Seriously though, connecting over a passion for travel and writing is always rewarding. I could see how travel had changed their lives and I love that. Now they want to share their experiences with others, and maybe I could help them get their writing out to the masses. Win Win. If Andrea hadn’t emailed me, I wouldn’t have known about them.
Now, who can I write to that’s inspiring me? Who inspires you? Tell them. You never know where it’ll lead…