I am sitting in the same spot I sat almost a year ago. It is one of my happy places, my cousin's house in Hout Bay. I spent a few weeks here last year in this house that is always full and usually loud - I love it. I would curl up in the corner of her couch and write. I didn't mind the background noises of 5+ kids, countless cats, and dogs including Lizzie, the bullterrier. In fact, the lack of solitude always seems to inspire rather than annoy me.
On January 26th, 2016 I received an email titled "Die Kunst des Alleinreisens" - The Art of Traveling Solo. An editor of the prestigious Rowohlt Verlag in Germany asked me if I might be interested in writing a book about solo travel for them. My immediate reaction was to send an email back titled "are you fucking kidding me?!".
I didn't. Instead, I took a deep breath, re-read the email and called my mother to come up with a gameplan once I was somewhat convinced that it might not be a total hoax.
It wasn't and I wrote a book about solo travel.
I never considered myself a solo traveler. I don't like boxes and categories like solo, female, adventure traveler. Why can't I just be a traveling Me? But the reality is that I love traveling on my own, so I guess if the shoe fits... I like getting lost and explore on my own, I don't fear to be lonely or to eat on my own, and most of all I love the absolute guilt free freedom that comes with solo travel.
So I wrote a book about solo travel. A book with tips and stories, intimate moments and favorite travel routes. A book with pictures and ideas and what I consider good advice. A book for all those who want to see the world (or at least a little part of it) on their own and who are just lacking a final push, an answer to a secret insecurity or a spark of inspiration. If you are such a person then this book may be for you.
I wrote it last year while I was in Bali for three months. Bali seemed a good place to write a book, Eat Pray Love and all. While Bali wasn't love at first sight, it was a good destination to do just that - I curled up in my comfy bed in my Canggu flatlet, sat in Warungs or by the pool of my yoga studio and just wrote.
To say it was an interesting experience is an understatement. To not only pour my heart and soul into my 'baby elephant' but also to write something quite practical which people would actually find useful was a fine balancing act at times.
Now it is done and almost a year to the day later I got an email from my editor telling me it is on pre-sale on Amazon, coming out May 19th. I may or may not have hugged my pillow and screamed a little into it. Once again, I called my mother who immediately went to her one friend with internet to check it out. While I told her she would get one of my free copies, she declared that she would buy books for everyone to help with my sales. Because apparently, that's what mothers do.
Mother or not, you can do the same. Whether you actually want solo travel inspiration or just help out with sales - I don't care about your motivation just hop on over here to pre-order it*.
*It is only available in German for now but hopefully things will go well and I will be able to do an English translation soon.