I had my very first Travel Writer Rock Star Moment recently, which is similar to a genuine Rock Star Moment except there’s slightly less ear-piercing screaming, clothes and locks of hair being torn off and running for one’s life, escaping in a waiting limo with Kate Moss drunk in the back.
Despite these failings, it was nevertheless a moment so glorious that I abandoned my usual quiet, stoic modesty and blabbed about it to everyone I met for days thereafter. Having now run through every acquaintance in two cities, it is now time to work the very last bit of mileage I have with this tale by sharing it with you all; my seven, sometimes eight, monthly readers.
You may be surprised to hear that I was flown from Paris to San Francisco recently to attend a Lonely Planet author workshop – I try not to talk about these things too much for fear of sounding too narcissistic. One night, while in the company of respected colleagues, I had a real world encounter with one of my articles in a magazine that was laying out in a hotel lobby for everyone to see. Namely me.
I had been called from the bar where I had been enjoying free wine on LP’s dime into the neighboring hotel lobby to take a call from the LP offices in Melbourne, Australia about appearing in a TV segment about that hellhole Bucharest. Incidentally, the fact that I was taking a call from the other side of the planet from people begging me to go on TV, and I was turning them down added exponentially to the rock star quality of the proceedings.
While I was raving about what a shithouse Bucharest was and how I wouldn’t go on TV and talk nice about it even if they dangled a million dollar bill in front of my face, I glanced down and saw a pile of Global Traveler magazines on the coffee table. I had never seen one in public before, only the copies that get mailed to me when I contribute. As I vehemently condemned Romania’s capital city as the den of criminals and stray dogs that it is, one tiny corner of my brain cut through the wine buzz long enough to note the date on the magazine and then recall that I had actually contributed a short business article on Sarajevo to that edition!
I grabbed a copy and flipped through, looking for my article as Melbourne did damage control on my Bucharest refusal. Meanwhile my LP colleagues looked on in awe at my ability to turn down a TV appearance offer from the opposite end of the world and causally leaf through a magazine simultaneously.
I found my article and deposited the open magazine on my colleague’s lap, gesturing to my name in print with a flourish. Both of these experienced writers, with untold, infinitely more impressive clippings under their belts, had the decency to go nuts and show wild admiration at the notion that I had just found my work laying out in a posh hotel lobby for all to see. All I needed was Winona Ryder to sidle in and hit on me to make the experience complete.
Since I couldn’t shove a copy of the magazine down my pants (no room), one of my colleagues slipped one into her purse and smuggled it back to the bar where I worked the room for an hour, regaling everyone in attendance of the magnificent event that had just transpired.
Being a published travel writer, reading your material during scant visits home in your parent’s guest bedroom (and maybe touching yourself a little) is one thing, but to stumble on one’s work in a real life, spontaneous setting, in the company of easily impressed people, well folks that’s a Travel Writer Rock Star Moment of the first order.
Sing along with me now…
“I am the eggman
they are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’ joob!”