Sand at the Savvy Traveller

I finally got to THE Savvy Traveller. This is the best travel store in the country and I've looked up to them since I first heard about them in my early years at Travelers' Tales. I tried to tell this to owners Sandye and Iris, but I think they thought I was blowing smoke.

I was so excited to be there, so happy to meet Karla Zimmerman and JoAnn Hornak, and just so thrilled to be in Chicago that I was a bit silly. If you’ve met me, you know there’s a jump-up-and-down side to me. Well, while I contained that, I was acting a bit like the old days when I didn’t drink coffee, but did. Larry calls it “in orbit.”

I made it to Chicago a few hours early, parked the car, and went to do some shopping. Bad news is that I couldn’t find my camera. Last time I remember using it was in Maryland, but I’m sure it’ll turn up. Anyway, the reason I’m complaining I didn’t have my camera is because The Savvy Traveller had the coolest Sand display. Posters, books, and postcards were ALL over the huge front window display on Michigan Ave. First of all, this is the biggest window display you can get. Second of all, it was ALL PINK.

The event was held in an adjoining room that used to be a travel agency. Amid the set up of table and chairs were two bras. One was a pretty bright pink lacey one from Iris. And the other was a black bra that had big pink flowers attached to it. Two of the chairs were wearing them. You’ll see the pics later.

Sandye and Iris had placed a big ad in the Chicago Reader for the event and we filled the room. At least fifty people. But getting back to the bras, those weren’t the only ones. We got FIVE bra donations with more people asking where they could send them in. It was hilarious.




We began the event with some chit chat, introduced Karla and JoAnn, and then I read “The Importance of Packing.” Then Karla read “Mom’s Travel Advisories.” This was one of my faves and we got to hear about the conversation that went on between her and her mom before her recent Africa adventure. Next I read, “Panties or Prison.” They laughed but not as much as that story usually gets. Then JoAnn read her story, “Fifteen Minutes Can Last Forever.” Oh my gosh this was funny. The way she read it the audience was howling. Much better than the way I had read it in Seattle to the Wide World crowd that was scared stiff.

After that I teased them with a little of “Prude in Patpong,” and closed it with Lori Mayfield’s, “Scared Shitless on Safari.” This is always a good closer, but even more appropriate because Lori’s friend Lisa was in the audience. We went out with her afterwards, (we being my long time friend Dan and his wife Jen) and it turned out that we all went to the same high school. Yep, three out of the five of us who went to dinner last night were from good ole University City High School. It was a mind trip. And it got even better when Lisa and I found out that we were both SC alumns, too. So, we’re going to meet up at the rally Friday night before the Notre Dame game. Big thanks for the intro Lori! Oh yeah, and if the six degrees can get even smaller, I told her to meet my friend Nick O’Neill of the BaliBlog, because she’s headed that way next.

So, The Savvy Traveller event was a success in my eyes. I hope that Sandye and Iris felt so, too. I’m not sure if they were expecting a larger crowd, but I was pleased. They’ve already sold 28 books this month and that was before the event. Last night probably added another 20 or so, and then they asked us to sign 20 more. You know what that means. Sandye said she’d like us to sign all of them but didn’t want our hands to get tired. Well, I should’ve pushed for that. All in all, I bet they’ve sold the most copies of Sand of all the stores I’ve been too. More than a hundred since the book was released.

Iris took a bunch of pictures of us with the new bra donations (they’re all pink!) and I can’t wait to pass those on to you. Stay tuned.

Now to cheer on the Cubs! It’s a great time to be in Chicago. Thanks Savvy Traveller! And most of all, thanks Travelers’ Tales. I wouldn’t be here without you, in more ways than one.

Somebody better drag me home quick. I’m getting mushier by the minute and it might wreck my reputation. 🙂