Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Reading and writing

I am currently reading this book, 'Unlikely places - the Lonely Planet story.' I'm reading 10 books at the same time. I bought a stack of books, old and new; usually I have one or two to read; but for some unknown reason I have ten to read. Going back to the Lonely Planet story, some parts are so amusing, I find myself chuckling aloud. When was the last time a book did that to you? I can't remember; I've read some great books. The Lonely Planet are the publisher of the Lonely Planet guidebooks and this is the story of how Tony and Maureen Wheeler got started; a mimeographed copies of their first guidebook came out more than 30 years ago. I read that that was how Rough Guide got started, a typewritten guide was the first Rough Guide. Tony Wheeler was humming a song by Pink Floyd, there were lyrics which he thought said, 'lonely planet' but Maureen corrected him saying it was actually 'lovely planet'. He preferred 'lonely planet' and that became the name of their business. The rest was history as the story goes.
It is very inspiring; the world is so much better because people dared to do things; start new business and have new business models.
I'm indebted to these guidebooks whether they be Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Rick Steves or my favorite, Lets' go. My first few forays to Europe was without a guide book. The later trips were aided by guide books and I can see the difference. Unfortunately being American, with so little time off, I can't linger very long in any place. I have to make whistle stops and have too many things to accomplish on any day on the road. I did take 4 1/2 weeks off last year. Do I have that much vacation time? No, I'm taking 5 weeks off this year. I'm taking leave without pay. It requires brutal budgeting; it's not just the expense of the trip, it's a few weeks without a big paycheck. I'm paid a lot of money. I haven't been inside a mall in years; don't know what one looks like inside anymore.
Books are dangerous. They're the origins of ideas which begs to be carried out; whether it be a revolution or simply travel. In my case, travel and my whole life revolves around travel. If you want your life to change and be changed forever, read some books.
While continuing the reading of the 'Lonely Planet story'; it documented their early days to the present; the rough early days - made me feel inspired to continue work on my half finished project, the book I'm writing on Sicily. I am going back in October to finish seeing the rest of the island and thereby to finish the manuscript. But I could still work on the project here and now. I wrote every night while I was there in March. It's in the garage office somewhere. I have to look for it, dust it off and resume work. I'm inspired again.
I've been inspired to use my new Sony Cybershot 10.1 megapixels camera too. I was scared of it, I don't know why, all I have to do is to plug the memory card into the universal card reader like I did for the old Gateway 5.1 megapixels camera. I was scared because the memory card is different. Well, it just fits in a different slot. I'm OK now with it. Hooray!

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