Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Drop Me Anywhere!

April 1 sees the launch of a new and interesting Kickstarter campaign by up and coming author Carole Rosenblat. While she is known as a travel industry expert who consults in a variety of sectors and writes for various publications, as well as running the popular blog www.DropMeAnywhere.com, this will be her first published book. I had the chance to interview her about the campaign http://tinyurl.com/nfb9kew, her book Drop Me Anywhere and her views on travel and writing.

Stewart Mandy – How would you describe the book Drop Me Anywhere?

Carole Rosenblat – It’s a travel memoir with a twist. It’s Julie and Julia meets Eat, Pray, Love as told by Carrie Bradshaw (any Sex and the City Fans out there?)

SM – How did the whole concept of the website www.DropMeAnywhere.com come about?

CR – It actually began in a Twitter travel chat. The question was posed, “If you had a travel show, what would it be called and what would it be about?” Without thinking, I blurted out, “Mine’s called Drop Me Anywhere and it’s about traveling without a plan.” The response was overwhelming. People started commenting, “That’s fantastic! You must do this!” “You should do a YouTube pilot.” “You need to Kickstart this!” I was taken aback.

SM – So why a book and not a TV show?

CR – Well, while I’ve done many on camera interviews and a lot of on-stage hosting, writing is really my comfort zone. As this was something that just fell out of my head and onto my keyboard (if you read my stuff you’ll understand that this happens quite often), I pondered it for a couple of weeks. I then contacted a well-known travel writer to run it past him. His response, “I love this! I wish I could do it.” It’s amazing how much confidence you gain when someone you admire tells you it’s a good idea.

SM – What makes Drop Me Anywhere different than other travel memoirs?

CR – It’s a partnership between the writer and the readers. Other travel memoirs tell the story of a location which the writer has chosen to travel. In Drop Me Anywhere the readers choose the location. You see, while I love to travel, and to share the experience with others, I hate to plan it. In fact, sometimes I become so overwhelmed with the planning that I choose not to go. I know others who feel they must plan every minute of their travel or they might end up sharing a foreign prison cell with rats. I feel that they miss so many opportunities to talk to locals, participate in festivals and have other adventures that might just pop-up

The 'Veiled Virgin' of St John's, Newfoundland

SM – Wow, that is different! Any other unusual aspects?

CR – Lately, many travel memoirs, or even articles, have become romanticized. They tell you about the “golden sunset mixed with purple hues that can only be seen in the most glorious of rainbows.” Others just give you the information without the storytelling to truly give you a feel of the place and make the reading interesting. Another style that’s become popular is Top Ten lists. While some provide good information, rarely has the writer experienced all ten of the locations and therefore, cannot possibly describe the full experience of the place. Drop Me Anywhere is reported from my first-hand experience. It’s not an overview of the place, but a report on the locations, experiences and people from inside. And, while I’m a hopeless romantic, Drop Me Anywhere is not. I’m a storyteller who likes to see the funny and ironic side of things. This is reflected in my writing which leans towards the humorous and ironic side of travel storytelling. It’s often described as snarky or quirky. I also like to provide great information on the locations to assist readers in choosing their travel destinations.

SM – This does seem different than other travel memoirs. What sorts of things do you do while traveling for Drop Me Anywhere?

CR – Anything the locals tell me is a must see, must do or must try. That’s the joy of not having a plan. Oh, and one other important part of each trip; volunteering has always been a big part of my life and my projects. On each Drop Me Anywhere trip I commit to finding a local organization or project and spending a day, or part of a day, volunteering with them. I then profile them on www.Rebel-With-A-Cause.org and let you know what they do, who they help, and how you can get involved. Their stories will also be told (in a less snarky fashion) in the book.

Jelly Bean Row houses in St John's, Newfoundland

SM - So what makes the book different than the blog?

CR – The book will be written in a more cohesive fashion. While each day in the blog tends to be a different story, the book will be a memoir of the entire year of doing this project. Also, I plan to hold back on all of the stories from a couple of the locations the readers vote to send me to just for publication in the book. Finally, the book will include some extra untold stories from the road. Sort of the Sex, Drugs and Rock-N-Roll of the book.

SM – In what locations have you been “dropped” so far?

CR – Well, each Drop Me Anywhere vote has a theme. The first vote was chosen as a tribute to fellow adventurer Jimmy Buffet and his song Boat Drinks where he declares, “I gotta fly to St. Somewhere.” The readers were asked to decide where St. Somewhere is. They chose St. John’s, Newfoundland in February (my readers have a sense of humor). But seriously, a Canadian contacted her friends via E-mail and Facebook to campaign to send me there as she was considering going and thought she’d send me to do the advance work and report back. Another great benefit of readers choosing the location.

The 'Masonic Eye' in St John's, Newfoundland

SM - How will the Kickstarter funding be used?

CR – This book isn’t like other books. I can’t go to a regular day job and then come home and research and write. The travel is the research. While I’ve worked hard to save some money over the last couple of years and I earn some money writing for corporate clients and media, it’s not nearly enough to fully support this project. And I’m offering some great rewards for backers of my project.

SM – Can you tell us a few?

CR – Oh wow, well, there are autographed books, Drop Me Anywhere key chains and tote bags, as well as experiences including motivational speeches, tour guiding and even joining me on a Drop Me Anywhere trip.

SM – Thanks for telling us about Drop Me Anywhere and the accompanying Kickstarter campaign. Good luck with everything.

CR – Thanks!

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