Around 1am my friend, Barry, dropped me off after the straight shot up 1st Ave to Harlem. It's surprisingly easy to drive from 14th St. to 118th St after midnight during the week. The lights are synchronized, and the only other traffic is cabs. They drive like cabs, but when it's just them, they aren't quite as aggravating.
So I walked up to my apartment, let myself in, scanned my mail, dropped my keys, and plugged my phone into my speakers for a little music. I put on Jamie Cullum's Catching Tales album, without thinking about it much, then wandered over to the fridge to pull out my massive Costco tub of hummus from inside and my sack of pita bread from the top.
Then I started listening to the music. That album was the first one I downloaded while traveling. I spent the first year or so without any of my own music. I didn't have my iPod. I'd decided I wanted to listen to the world around me, and the cheap FM radio I'd brought with me. The radio didn't work out that great for various reasons (chief among them the fact that when I most wanted to listen was on buses between cities... where there weren't any radio stations). So by the time I got to Croatia, I decided to download a couple things to my little laptop. Jamie Cullum's Catching Tales was the first thing I got.
And there I was, hearing that music again. Only I wasn't in my apartment in Spanish Harlem. I was in Sarajevo, in an uber-sketchy 5 euro hostel room I had to myself, despite the fact that there were twelve beds there. They were stacked in threes-- a top bunk, a middle bunk, and a bottom bunk. It was Halloween, and I had a party to go to, and no costume. My laptop was on and playing "Photograph" by Jamie Cullum. And while the laundry I'd done in the sink was drying across on the elastic line I'd strung between two bunks, I spotted the container of toilet paper rolls on the busted shelf above the busted sink. Voila, halloween costume.
And then I remembered that I was not in the Balkans, but leaning wistfully against my fridge in New York, with hummus dripping down my bread onto my hand.
It's a lot like having been in a wonderful relationship that's ended. After a while, you move on. You're doing your new thing. You've changed a bit. You're happy with the new you. But every once in a while one of those songs you used to listen to comes on, and it takes a little bit out of you. For that minute or so, all you want is to be back then, they way things were, for just a little while.
Acting in New York is a dream. And things are going pretty well so far. I'm going to auditions. I'm acting in a student film. I just had a free class with a great Shakespeare coach. I've got a deal on a new set of headshots. I've just been invited to be a regular blogger with Backstage.com. Life here is working out.
But sometimes all I want is to be back on the road again. The way I had been, the way it used to be.
So, as a side project, I'm starting to do the next best thing. Writing about my travels. Several people over the years have told me I should write a book. I think I'm going to. I've batted a query letter around for a while, and now I'm putting together a book proposal to send to agents.
My basic premise will be a bit like this blog. Mostly stories of my travels, with a few helpful tips and hints thrown in. My goal is not just to tell my story, but to inspire other people to travel. Not just little tours of western Europe. I mean big travel. Wander with penguins travel. Hitchhike Tanzania travel. Get stranded on Caribbean island and volunteer at a hospital travel.
I will say that I'm not planning on making a guidebook-- there are people who have been backpacking for decades who have already written guidebooks. Saying I could do one better I think would be presuming a bit much. What I have that's unique are my stories, perspective, and personal experience.
But that's just my idea. What's yours? I'm interested in feedback here. If you're still reading this blog, you probably know my story well enough to have an idea. What kind of book would you most be interested in buying, given the trip I have to draw from?