I have always been an avid traveler. I was a travel agent back in the day when such a job was quite common. I even worked a corporate gig inside a big sky scrapper alongside 300+ travel agents. To say that there were a lot of us in that career doesn’t even describe it. There were a ton of us and we were catered to by airlines, hotels, and car companies. Everyone wanted us to recommend their products and they would throw a bunch of freebies at us all the time. Being a travel agent in the early ’90s was fun, but the writing was on the wall by the end of that decade. The internet threatened to take our jobs away when no travelers had a reason to pick up the phone and call us anymore. Then 9/11 happened, and the whole travel agent business took a giant nose dive.
I remember the day when the layoffs happened. Our company of 300 agents dropped down to about 100 shortly after 9/11. Those who were getting laid off were abruptly told that they were fired in the lobby on their way to the elevator. I remember walking into work that day and wondering why so many people were crying. I somehow made it past the gauntlet, rode to the fifth floor, and exited into a ghost town. I was one of the lucky ones that still had a job, and I stayed on for another five years. During that time, I watched the travel business entirely change. There almost seemed no point in keeping that job anymore when all the freebies went away. Gone were the free airline tickets, comped hotel stays, and catered lunches. Being a travel agent just became a regular job, and the workload only increased when I got assigned to work on the “Emergency” desk. All the phone calls that I fielded were nothing but problems. One problem after another, every minute, every hour, every day. The job just wasn’t fun anymore. So, I went back to school. I learned how to be an x-ray tech and eventually switched careers. Then COVID hit, and now my job is nothing but problems once again. Every patient that I encounter is a potential ticking time bomb. Once again, I’m not having fun in my job anymore. Hence the reason why I want to quit my career and become an author.
Being a writer is HARD. It is by far the hardest career path that I’ve ever pursued. I’ve always liked writing, but I never considered it anything other than a hobby. Most of my writing was limited to poetry and journals, but I woke up one day with a burning desire to write a book. I sat down and wrote out some of my travel stories, and when I was done with a rough draft four years later, I discovered that I wrote over 260,000 words, which is enough to compete with A Game Of Thrones. I wisely edited the stories into reasonable bite-sized bits and will present my books in three separate volumes.
I tried REALLY hard to land an agent, but no agent was interested in me since I lack a strong social media presence. I am basically a no one in all agent’s eyes, and they never want to take a risk on someone who isn’t an automatic cash cow. The answer to everything is money these days, so there is no point in pursuing something if the dollar signs aren’t tattooed on the forehead. So, indie writers are left to their own devices, and we have to be creative in getting our own word out. So, I am going to take the opportunity right now to scream it from the top of my lungs:
“I WROTE A REALLY GOOD BOOK, AND I WANT PEOPLE TO READ IT!”
There, I said it. Shameless self-promotion. I guess that’s what I gotta do to get the word out. I wrote something that I think, wait, I know that people will want to read. I have 25+ years of traveling under my belt and many interesting stories to share. I also think that I’m a good storyteller. I think that I have a creative perspective on things. I am not afraid to lay myself bare and open myself up to self-scrutiny. I am relatable. I am not perfect, and I fully embrace my faults. I am that quiet person that hangs out in the back that once you start talking to her, you realize she has been silently scrutinizing everything. I am opinionated but reserved. I am the person that everyone thinks they know, until they realize that they don’t. I am that person you see all alone with a notebook, sketching. When I go to Europe, I don’t return with souvenirs. I come home with notebooks filled with drawings and words.
I have many notebooks at home that look like this. 25 years’ worth of notebooks, in fact. These have become my source materials for my travel books. This is what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer. I want to sort through all this material and present it to the world. It is not an understatement to say that there’s a lot to go through.
For kicks and giggles, I just opened to a random page in my completed book and placed my finger on a random paragraph, which I will now quote here to provide an excerpt:
“I decided right then that I didn’t know what I believed in, and it felt perfectly fine to admit that to myself. All was flux, and what I believed in didn’t actually matter because a thousand years from now, someone else standing on the same spot and looking at the same view would most likely believe in something entirely else. I do truly hope to be born again so I can be that person who will stare at Spider Rock a thousand years from now and contemplate humanity’s story.“
A lot of Memory Road Trip reads like that. Stream of Consciousness-type thoughts. If such musings appeal to you, then I do believe that my book will provide you some joy.