What Book?

Posted by on May 29, 2008 in Post-Trip, Travel Talk | 11 Comments

One thing I hear all the time is “when are you going to write a book?” I’m sure most RTW travelers hear similar requests and reply with the same ambivalence as I do. Every once in a while I ask what kind of book they suggest I write and I’ve been surprised by the answer.

One would assume that they mean a book about my travels, maybe an anthology of short stories or possibly a memoir but that’s not the case. Although some people suggest a typical travel memoir, most suggest something entirely different. A number of people seem to think I should write a “how-to” travel advice book or even compile a book of photographs or drawings.

For my own curiosity I wonder what you, my readers, would have me write. I’m putting a poll in the sidebar, but feel free to leave any brilliant suggestions in the comments.


  1. vlad
    May 29, 2008

    heh, i get that all the time as well. my parents still go on and on about how i somehow craft my blog entries into book form.

    if you were to write a book, i would think it would be cool to have it very similar to your blog. mainly it would be a travelogue of your trip from beginning to end, but would include all the little things that make your site cool, interesting, and different: your sketches, the good route maps, cartwheel photos, that dope calendar where you drew a picture each day, and your photos… not run-of-the-mill scenic shots people see everywhere, but the cool shots of food, people, etc that you have a knack for taking.

  2. Stu Thompson
    May 29, 2008

    It was a close call between ‘Short stories’ and ‘Photos/art/drawings’. Very close.

    Coincidently, the woman (Maggi Albiez) who founded an animal charity I worked with some two or three years ago in Thailand wrote a book (“Aus und Davon”) recently, and I am in it! Good stuff, I hear, just last Friday. I bought a copy, of course 🙂 It is in German, so I have yet to work through ‘my’ chapter.


  3. Megan
    May 29, 2008

    So I see it never stops, since you’ve been home much longer than I have. I can see how your suggestion would work. The blog itself leaves out so much because by the time I get around to writing an entry (internet access, time etc.) I have often been too exhausted to write.

    I think that filling in the stories would definitely be possible, although I’m not sure how it would be possible to follow the whole trip if I just write about the interesting bits… maybe with maps and stuff. Sounds like you see it as kind of a scrapbook, which is probably the way I see my trip in my head.

  4. Megan
    May 29, 2008

    I like the idea of short stories more than a memoir because it would be less personal, in a way, and could highlight the really amazing parts of the trip without dwelling too much on the time in-between.

    As for your newfound celebrity, it will be interesting to see how her experience and view of you coincides with your own. German is one of those languages I can’t even approach. In fact, I would rather learn Mandarin than German by far.

  5. dis
    May 29, 2008

    I’d envision something akin to the stuff Anthony Bourdain writes: short chapters about the stuff/people/food he finds in interesting places. Adding your artwork and photos in would make it even better.

    Lots of us will never be going to the places you’ve been to…and seeing photos and maps help us envision those different places.

  6. Jillian
    May 31, 2008

    I get the same thing too! I should ask next time what kind of book they mean- haven’t really gotten that clarified yet. Anyway, I think you should definitely just turn this blog into a book using your stories, pics, maps, and drawings. And even pictures of your souvenirs.
    Good luck!!

  7. Mike Pugh
    June 1, 2008

    Artists try to sell the things they make. Marketers make things they can sell.

    Which are you?

    If you’re the former, and if you want to sell a travel book into the mainstream travel narrative market (think Eat, Pray, Love or Under the Tuscan Sun), prepare for an arduous journey.

    Read author Wendy Dale’s advice on publishing a travel memoir here:

    At first I thought she was kidding.?Or just being negative.? But she isn’t. Every word is true.

    Here’s the story behind Stephanie Elizondo’s book:

    My favorite travel books are deeply personal, with a theme that transcends the travel and gives meaning to the adventure. Common themes are failed relationships, quests, and crises.

    You had some amazing journeys, and, as a traveler, I’m interested in your experiences. But most non-travelers won’t relate. There’s no reference points, nothing for them to hook into.

    On the other hand, your journey was shaped by very personal events, events that everyone can relate to. That’s the story that I’d want to read.

  8. Megan
    June 4, 2008

    I know that if it were to be a travel memoir it would have to include my dad’s death and all kinds of emotional things that I’m not sure I feel comfortable discussing, let alone publishing. However, I do realize that it would probably be a big hook that would be exploited by a publisher. Thanks for the great comment.

  9. [F]oxymoron
    July 10, 2008

    Hey Megan… been reading your stuff for a while… awesome. So I was thinking that when you decide to put together a story about your travels, you might consider doing something similar to Dan Eldon.


    Clearly you have a knack for the visual arts. I’d take advantage of that.

  10. megan
    July 10, 2008

    I’ve had Eldon’s book for quite some time and was truly amazed by it when I first got it. His sketchbooks were more like mine in high school, more collage and less “organized.” I am not sure I have enough material for that, although I do have sketches traveling from as far back as 1997.

    I just checked out “a Year in Japan” by Kate Williamson from my library. I’m not sure where I heard about it but it’s great and I think my stuff could be a cross between Eldon’s and hers. Here’s a look at the book…

  11. [F]oxymoron
    July 11, 2008

    Williamson’s stuff looks interesting too – after viewing what the Google Gods make available. Eldon’s stuff is visually more dense though. Basically it is a brilliant mess of images.

    So when can we expect something 🙂