Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Bag Lady puts herself out there

It's been nine days since my last post. It's not because there's nothing going on. It's because I'm putting myself out there on multiple fronts. One of them is fun and three of them are scary.

First, the fun one. Last week my 13-year-old grandson Kyle was looking at the world map in our entryway. It's full of pins showing where Art and I have traveled. I said to him, "If you had all the money you wanted, and all the time, where in the world would you want to go?" He said, "New York City". Really? The next time he came over I said, "Kyle, by your 15th birthday I will take you to New York City." This time it was his turn. "Really, Grandma?" Really!

So yesterday I spent a couple of hours on the websites of the two home exchange clubs we belong to. I sent out about 40 requests. So far, I have six who said "no, thank you" and one who said "let me talk to my wife about this". We'll use companion fares and miles and we'll get Kyle and Grandma and Grandpa to New York City. Probably next year.

Now, the scary ones, in order of the fear intensity.

1. At the suggestion of a blogging friend, I'm coordinating a weekend gathering in October for half a dozen women. I've only met two of them in person, but I've read the blogs of the rest of them. Everyone sounds interesting and I am really looking forward to the weekend. But I am only just barely an extrovert on the personality tests. I'm much better in writing than I am in person. What if I don't have anything to say after the first ten minutes? Too late, though. I'm committed.

2. I've created a media sheet for my Viet Nam book and it's time for me to go to the library and three independent booksellers to pitch it. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. I want to memorize a pitch but I can't think of a good one except, "Please put copies of my self-published book on a table before Veterans Day, so people will buy it for their veterans." Actually, I want to assume the fetal position. I am not a marketer. But we're leaving town in a week and I committed to the writers group I belong to that I'd go to all four places before then. So I went to the library today, talked to the manager and dropped off my book. I was so nervous that when she opened the book to look through it, I kept talking instead of shutting up and letting her look. I learned from that experience, anyway. I'd like to think I'll go to the first bookstore tomorrow, but I'll probably put it off because it's so scary.

3. I talked to a houseguest/friend last month about a memorable trip he and his wife took to Africa last year with a friend who coordinates travel with a private outfitter in Kenya. It sounded so interesting that my husband Art - who has always maintained he has no interest in going to Africa - agreed to go. This week I called the houseguest/friend, got the name of his friend, and called him. We spent three hours on the phone and I am now working on an itinerary for two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania - probably next August.

This is the scariest of my projects. Why? Because the cost is nearly double what we budget for travel in a year. The Bag Lady woke up from her long slumber and muttered about how we're going to run out of money if we do this.

Here's the deal. Africa is going to be a costly trip no matter when we go. Even a carefully budgeted one. But we're never going to have more money than we do now, and we're never going to be any younger than we are now. If not now, probably never. Am I willing to forego a trip to Africa to observe the Great Migration just because the Bag Lady is muttering that someday we'll wish we had that money back to put food on the table?

I'm working on the itinerary even though I'm not absolutely certain yet about this trip. I'm thinking about asking friends if they'd like to go along. Six people can travel more economically than two, and the shared experience would be wonderful. Especially the three days in an orphanage, where Art fixes electrical and plumbing stuff and I read to kids while they cluster around me. Or the night in a village where we are the only foreigners, and where we buy a goat from a woman in the village and then give it to the villagers so we can share a meal. See, it's details like that I can't, can't pass up. If I have the courage to put those things on the itinerary, and to tell the Bag Lady to be quiet.

Weeks like this remind me that my Bag Lady still watches.


Rosaria Williams said...

How exciting! I say go, and adjust your budget. Your life may change in ways you don't anticipate; so, go and experience all you can.

Janette said...

Hummm....Africa ...sounds amazing. Maybe we can join you :)

DJan said...

Wow! Africa! I am truly impressed, Linda. That is a major trip and one of the most exciting I can imagine. I do hope you go. I sent you my share of the Lavender Hills cost and am really glad you have arranged this. It will be a great time!

And good for you for getting Art's book out there, against all odds. :-)

#1Nana said...

After spending a weekend with the bloggers, Africa will be a breeze!

Linda Reeder said...

You have so much drive, curiosity and courage! I admire you.
Go to Africa. You will make the most of it!

Travels with Emma said...

Perhaps you'll meet an African bag lady while you're there. :)

Olga said...

Oh, my. What an adventure. I can only dream about Africa. Hog tie that bag lady and leave her in the broom closet.
I think you have a lot more to offer than you are giving yourself credit for here. Get yourself out there. (I got my copy of your book and will give it to Mike as a birthday present.)

Rian said...

I have to say that you are truly gutsy! All those things you're planning are scary... but definitely rewarding. Tell your bag lady to take a hike. That's what I do between the hours of 10 and 6 - or I'd never get any sleep.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

You have awesome adventures. Remember a few weeks ago when you weren't feeling productive? Your system was getting some much-needed rest before kicking back into gear. The blogger gathering sounds like fun, and potentially more than fun. Don't worry about talking, that will take care of itself. And that bag lady? Tell her you'll listen politely, AFTER you go to Africa.

Sally Wessely said...

Africa! Wow! Do it! Don't listen to that inner bag lady. I agree, you will never be any richer than you are now, and you will never be any younger. Go for it!

I admire you for so many reasons. You make a plan, and you work the plan. That is why I know the bag lady just needs to stop bugging you.

Suzanne said...

Just go without thinking too much about it.

Ms Sparrow said...

Good for you! Your adventurous soul has kicked in and your timid "bag lady" (how well I know how she is!) can be darned. I look forward to hearing all about your future travels. I'm sending good thoughts your way in support of the marketing of the book. Just keep telling yourself, "I'm a formidable woman and no one can resist me!"

Sandi said...

You have lots on your plate, and a lot to think about! I'm with everyone else, bag up the bag lady and send her packing!

We have a similar situation right now (maybe not quite so expensive, but still a quandary for us!) My oldest daughter is in Australia, and has a two week break coming up in September. My husband has always wanted to visit Australia, but we spent a small fortune for our family trip to Europe this summer. I told him, "Go visit Jess and see Australia with her on her break." He didn't want to spend the money, didn't think it was "fair" for him to go without me.

I told him I don't even want to get on another long plane ride, so don't worry about me. I think I've convinced him that life is too short to not do what you want to do. It will be fabulous for him to spend time with Jess, and see a place he's always dreamed about.

Go to Africa. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I applaud you so much for getting out there! Wow, Africa is such a long journey but what an amazing experience you'll have. NOTHING is worth more than those kinds of memories.

Let me know how it goes with the bookstores & library. I need to do the same as soon as I format my print for eBook (2nd wave of marketing yippie!) and being the same kind of shy means I'm dreading it too. I'm sure you didn't ramble even close to as much as you thought you did, we're always our own worst critics!

Friko said...

Strikes me that the Bag Lady ought to stop being afraid and let the courageous Linda take over.

Meeting Bloggers is exciting, I've enjoyed every visit so far.

Travelling is good for the soul, just think what splendid memories the Bag Lady will have when she's sipping water and crumbling that bread.

Deb Shucka said...

You are such an amazement to me! Such courage and such energy.

I would like to remind you that when we met, not only did we manage to find things to talk about for more than 10 minutes, we could have gone on much longer if our guys weren't there with us. Plus the house on Vashon will be big enough that we can all escape from each other if we really need to. :-)

I got a tingle reading about your Africa plans. Since Walt and I are just beginning to talk about our Africa trip, you've made me even more itchy to go. I wish we could come with you. At the very least, I can hardly wait to talk to you about the trip. That will take more than ten minutes - I promise. :-)

Tamara said...

Your entire post was inspiring. So many things you are a bit scared about, but everyone of them moving forward. Good for you!

I try very hard as well to ignore that scared little voice inside because I never feel good when I give in to it.

Africa IS expensive, there is just no way around it, but I'm sure you don't regret any of the travel you've done so far, and am confident you would only regret not going to Africa at this point!

(And it's on our travel list of places to visit as well. :-)

Galen Pearl said...

So good to catch up with what's going on in your life. I'm intrigued by the gathering in October. I would love to hear more about it.

Your book pitch will be hugely successful. Your book is absolutely terrific and should be everywhere on Veteran's Day.