Here we are, the end of July. Summer days here in SoCal still going till 8 PM with temperatures in the low 80s. And I’m starting to plant myself more deeply into the work now that I’m back from a month and a half of travel.
By now, most friends have heard the elevator speech I give when they ask, What did you do in 1 ½ months of travel: We started with the idea of a Greek islands cruise. The ship was leaving from Venice so we spent a week there in the city. The cruise took us to most of the usual Greek cruise stops: Santorini, Mykonos, Athens (Acropolis), Kusadasi, Turkey (ancient Ephasus), Nafplion, Naples (Herculaneum), and then Rome where we disembarked. We stay there for a week. Marina, out of vacation time, had to head back to work and I spent a week up in Florence and one in Paris.
It was a great trip. I took several thousand pictures all in Raw format. In fact, my laptop ran out of disk space a couple of times. The idea was to spend longer in Europe but save money by staying in AirBnB places. It takes a while to do photos and research at a place if you’re doing a book. You have to achieve a higher level of understanding than someone who jets in and only hits the marquee locations. So the 1 1/2 months was barely enough time to start work on a travel/photo book for each of these spots.
And now it’s time to plant myself and get serious about the new career. The first book, on photographing the Utah parks (now on Amazon), was done while I was still working at Cars.com and finished when we were planning the Euro trip. But now the transition seems fairly complete, now I’m really ready to settle in.
And in the two weeks since I’ve been home, I’ve been defining the shape of my days and the approach to each book — the fact of being a full time writer, photographer and traveler. (It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.)
For those who don’t know my history, my professional career has been on the writing side of things — business writing, marketing and product management for high-tech companies like IBM, Lexus, Cars.com, etc. The travel and photography have been long term passions (with pro photo projects mixed in). And now I’m getting back to my creative roots with writing and photography focused on travel and culture.
Luckily I know much of Europe, the literature, arts, culture. I’m not an expert on any of these places, far from it. But I’ve explored these issues more deeply than any of the travel guidebooks. And I know that no travel or photography books get to the core of a place in the way I’d like to see.
So after all the months of getting ready and then traveling, I’m trying to put it all together. And that’s with this blog is all about, a scratch sheet for the full length books.
Hopefully I can continue to share pieces of my travel notes and experiences into these pages and get feedback from people. And of course, just posting new blog pages, there for all to see, gives me a fuller understanding of what will work in a book, what will grab people, what tiger I’ve got by the tail. Because I’m trying to do something different with my work and that takes a bit of exploration.
So in the next weeks and months I’ll be adding more photographs and notes about travel to these pages starting with my shots and notes on Venice, our first stop.