Die with memories. Not dreams.

I hear variations of this theme often:

Your many vacations are the stuff of my dreams.

From the outside, the author life looks glamorous, doesn’t it? Jetting between interesting locations. Meeting new people. Eating cool food. Seeing awesome sights.

The reality isn’t packed with glamour. I share the most titillating snippets of every trip. Here’s a sample REAL appearance day:

  • Wake up at 4:30am to allow enough time to battle traffic and get to a 7am presentation
  • Lug heavy book suitcase into venue
  • Set everything up
  • Shake hands with everyone in the room; listen to their stories; BE ON (and anyone who knows me knows how NOT ON I am at 7am)
  • Give dynamic motivational talk
  • Sell books, listen to more stories, and make correct change (which is almost always too much multitasking for me)
  • Pack up and lug less heavy suitcase to car
  • Map to lunchtime location
  • If time and distance permit, pop into some really cool site and snap a photo there; post on social media like that’s all I’m doing, because reality is boring social media fodder
  • Drive myself to my next appearance
  • Repeat lugging suitcase/setup/handshaking/etc above
  • Map to evening location
  • If time and distance permit, find a decent coffee shop; mainline two lattes
  • Drive myself to my next appearance
  • Repeat setup steps
  • Evening presentations are always longer and require more energy; psyche self out to perform; possibly more lattes
  • Repeat all setup and teardown steps above
  • If readers want to go out afterwards, NEVER say no; I’m honored when they want to spend extra time with me; be ON when I’m about to fall over
  • Drive myself to wherever I’m staying; it is probably now 11pm
  • I haven’t looked at my computer all day; return emails, voicemails, and Facebook messages
  • Attempt sleep by 1am
  • Repeat cycle the next morning at 4:30am

Anyone want to join me for a glamorous life on the road?

For the past week, I repeated the above list every single day. I do this to myself because I’m passionate about convincing people to make memories. Every time I meet someone and inspire them to make a memory, it’s another awesome memory for me. I’m determined to influence everyone to live this mantra.

Die with memories. Not dreams.


This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

I am not afraid of the world

I am not afraid of the world, but I am afraid of people who are afraid of the world. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Are you afraid of the world? We live in a world consumed by fear. Fear of what might happen. Fear of people who spout opposing views. Fear of those who worship differently. Fear of worst possible outcomes, spelled out and dissected all over twenty-four hour news.

I saw this Liz Gilbert quote in a New York Times interview a couple of weeks ago, and it spoke to me. Fear keeps us from being curious. When we’re afraid, we don’t challenge systems or ask questions. We shun adventure in favor of safety and security and sameness. Maybe we let fear keep us from living lives we’re meant to lead.

On Tuesday, I board a plane for London, a place teeming with fears of terrorism. Two weeks into my Welsh writing residency, I’m flying to Amsterdam to visit friends for the weekend. Dang it, I can’t be in Europe for a month and not take advantage of a quick flight to a cool locale, even if it is a short train ride from continued tensions in Brussels. I’m heading to Ireland for book research before I fly home. I refuse to avoid trains and subways, taxis and ferries to experience things I want to see.

Jendi will schedule my Monday posts while I’m away. She’ll also man my Facebook page. Please talk to her. She’s looking forward to responding to your questions on my behalf. A couple of times a week, I’ll send her quick updates to share. If I’m lucky, I’ll find cellular service once in a while and share a picture or two.

Please don’t be strangers. Don’t forget me while I’m gone, because you’ll be on my mind the whole time. I’m creating new stories with you in mind, adventures I can’t wait for you to get lost in.

Because what is reading, really, if it isn’t an escape from the fearful, crazy, unpredictable world we inhabit?


This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!


NOT our 2015 destination.

MTM and I devoured the news. Brussels, Belgium was on travel lockdown. The US Embassy warned Americans to stay indoors, to avoid crowds. US military travel was frozen. Troops with submachine guns roamed cobbled streets already spit-shined for the holiday.

We had two airline tickets for Brussels. Leaving the day before Thanksgiving. After twenty-four hours of deliberation and debate, we called our airline. No, not to cancel our trip. We wanted to review our options for both near-Brussels and alternative travel.

It’s easy to find the nearest bunker in this terrorist age. Parisian-style attacks can (and probably will) happen anywhere, anytime. MTM and I decided to pursue our annual “No Family Holidays With Family” Thanksgiving trip as normal, because if we didn’t, the terrorists win. We came up with five reasons to keep traveling. We hope our list will help you see the world while staying smart and safe.

  1. Book your tickets, and don’t worry about what *might* happen. Statistics still show you’re more likely to be injured or die within a few miles of home, right? So why miss experiences because of fear?
  2. If you’re patient, airlines can be very accommodating. Even though the US State Department still had not issued a Brussels travel alert, Delta vetted options and rebooked our flights without the usual change fees. The customer service representative even went to bat for us with her supervisors and won us a drastically reduced fare.
  3. Travel builds understanding. We’ve been in touch with both strangers and friends in Europe throughout this crisis. The Belgians are unflappable, resolute, and warm. We will definitely visit Belgium soon to help shop owners, restauranteurs, and hoteliers recover.
  4. Travel encourages flexibility. We’ve been planning our trip to Brussels since summer. Imagine what it’s like to hold a ticket to a different city, a place about which I know virtually NOTHING. And we still depart on Wednesday. With no time to research or plan, we’ll wing everything. Am I stressed? Nah. This trip will be a true adventure. How often does adventure come our way?
  5. We can be smart in the face of terror. For the first time in several years, readers won’t find me online during my trip. I’m not broadcasting our new destination on social media (and if you know it, please don’t mention it.) I won’t post photos, geolocate anything, or chronicle our whereabouts while we’re away. Terrorists can easily track those markers, and they’ve used them to target Americans overseas. We’re taking a genuine, unplugged vacation.

I. Can’t. Wait!

Do you have any travel plans? Please share your VERY GENERAL plans in a comment.