Lots of firsts this year. There are lots of places I have never been; most, in fact. And two of those places, until this past spring, were Dublin, Ireland, and Paris, France. Yes, what a fairy tale, to visit both, back to back, over the course of a month.
It was a dream come true and I lived it this year, with my starshine wife Lucie as my traveling companion. We took a month off and traveled abroad, arm in arm. It was romantic, enriching, rewarding, and a wicked dose of tons of fun.
I have much to say about each place, as you can imagine, but I can’t say it all here. Dublin was like a home away from home, and Paris was a place beyond imagining; I only thought I’d been to cities until I’d been to Paris. My travels to these municipal homes of venerable beauty and culture produced a great deal of writing, and that is part of an exciting announcement.
Before setting out on my European travels, I was chatting with my editor Ryan, who at the time was reading Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, and fully enamored with the master writer. “You’ve got to write a travel journal,” he urged. “People love travel journals.” “You’re right. That’s a good idea.” I took three blank journals with me, and a sketch book.On the trip I wrote nearly every night before bed. During the day, I carried around my sketch book and captured the world around me in small visual intervals, seldom giving myself more than 20 minutes to draw a scene. As for the journals, I wrote at night, usually before bed and filled all three of them. Hundreds of pages, and it was a pure joy.As the weeks progressed I built up stamina and found that I was able to produce as many as 20 or 25 pages a night at the height of it. (Here, I give another thankful nod to those NaNoWriMos I trooped through. They really helped raise my threshold for how much I could write in a day, once I committed to it.)
The good news is, the announcement is: two new books! Imagine a writer’s first impression of two of the most beautiful and beloved cities in Europe. The raw beauty embedded in them; I was writing during the first time I’d ever been to either of these iconic places. A traveler only ever gets to do it for the first time once. There’s nothing I could miss, or should have seen, or need not see, because I was awash in all of it; a fresh dunk head first into Dublin, then Paris.These delightful and unprecedented experiences have produced two new travel books, chock full of photographs and sketches. The Dublin and Paris travel journals are currently in the formatting mill, and due for release soon. Stay tuned for dates.
Thank you for reading. Reading rules!