Upon our return on May 1st, 2008, I had all this material - 14,000 photos, 650 videos, and 150,000 words (written during the long evenings on our trip when everyone (sometimes me included) was asleep) - and that material needed an outlet. That was the original reason for putting together a book, I wanted to tell our story.
"It's cool to see that having kids doesn't mean you have to stop travelling," was a familiar refrain we heard from backpackers on many occasions, in many different countries. I was one of those people who could think of a whole host of excuses for not travelling, and having children was probably #37 on that list. Five years before we left, I thought that leaving our home for an extended period was an impossibility. Five years after, I saw it as a necessity. All that we saw, what we did, the people we met, it was all pretty incredible. But the most important thing for both Laura and I, was the time we spent together as a family. I can't put into words, at least not in a few sentences or paragraphs anyway, just what a powerful experience that was for both of us. And seeing how much our children have changed in the meantime makes what we did seem all the more wonderful. At any rate, that was a second reason to publish a book - to inspire those parents who may have been on the fence about travel, or maybe even those who simply weren't interested. There are other reasons too: I love designing the pages with a mix of words and photos, maps and artwork; I'd like to walk into McNally Robinson and see my book on the shelves; I want to make a travel book (that isn't a guidebook) that isn't just words on a page; and I want to prove to myself that I can do it.
So I am devoting a chunk of 2014 to getting this book off the ground. As part of that process, I need to do some significant rewriting to the 'manuscript' that I've written already, and some of that rewriting is going to appear here. The bonus of a blog, is that I have (or at least I think I have) all the space in the world, so that I can include any number of photographs as I see fit. And given that there are 14,000 to choose from, I'm going to show you a lot. I want readers to be inspired to experience as much of the world as possible, whether it be one of the eleven countries we visited, or any of the one hundred and eighty three we did not. In reading the book, I want people to see some of themselves as well. We were certainly not independently wealthy people just looking for something to do. We were (and still are) a real family, travelling on a limited budget with real concerns about safety, sickness, cockroaches, and rabies (and to be honest, theft, lost items, bad weather, large crowds, any body of water, standard transmissions, oh the list goes on).
Feel free to invite anyone to view the stories I post here. If you have any questions about travel, a particular place, busses or trains, hotel or apartment, whatever, I'd be happy to try and answer it. And if you have any advice about the publishing industry in any aspect, I'd be happy to hear it. And if you happen to be a publisher just itching to get a unique travel book out into the world, well, have I got a story for you.