OK. So here we go. I’ve interviewed people over the years about what they’ve been doing for this blog about New Orleans so I thought what the heck, I’ll just interview myself about my bestselling travel guide: Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour. Instead of doing it all at once, which would make it really long, I thought I’d do it in installments.
My Own Personal Interview: The Whys and Wherefores of My Bestselling New Orleans Travel Guide – Part One
There are so many other travel guides to New Orleans why did you decide to write another one?
I felt that what was missing was a guide actually written by someone from here, who lives here and loves the place. You know most travel guides are not written from a native’s eye view because they are compiled by people who are just visitors. And the guides are usually huge with small print, just too much to filter through.
I remember years ago I took a trip to Greece and I had one of those huge travel books, I think it was the Lonely Planet.
OK, in some ways it’s good to have such a book, I think, it’s thick and chock full of information about things to see, places to stay and eat and all of that. But I think the problem with such huge books is an overabundance of information. It’s just too much.
Good Luck and the Tourist Police
That big, clunky book did kind of help me out in another way, though. When I got off the place at Athens I headed to the tourist office where you could talk to the tourist police. Yes, they called them tourist police, they even had uniforms and badges. There you could get ideas and advice on places to stay and things to see.
I walked into the office and a couple minutes later in come these two young good-looking women from Chicago, one white one black, the beset of friends and they’d been on a massive tour traveling in one direction around the world. They had started west and were just coming from China, where they said was really hard finding that country really dirty where most of the men, as they told me, were pigs.
I was holding in my hand this big Lonely Planet guide book and asked if they could borrow it for a bit. So as they were standing there eagerly paging through it we got to talking and decided we’d all take the bus to the center of Athens and look for a pension.
We found a pension right in the heart of the city, and got a room with three beds. That afternoon we walked to the Parthenon and had a great Greek dinner that night. The next day we left before sunrise and took the subway train all the way to the port and hopped a giant 5 decker ferry out to the islands.
An Unexpected Adventure
So that began my three week vacation with these incredibly smart, very nice and very fun girls. We made it to the island of Santorini, found a place to stay for one night with three beds, busted our guts telling Seinfeld stories, as that show was very popular at the time, and went out to eat that night.
Then the next day we gathered our stuff and took a bus out to Oia which is on the western most point of the island. We found a big one room apartment with a balcony and stayed there for a week doing almost nothing but reading, doing a little walking and exploring and drinking grapefruit juice and vodka on the balcony each afternoon as we watched the stream of people come from miles around to see the sunset at the western most point of the island.
So, had it not been for that big bulky Lonely Planet travel guide we would never have met. So something good and unexpected came of that.
My take away from that is remembering how big and bulky that travel guide was and how the book was not written by natives at all but by travelers. This gave me the idea of writing my own travel guide about New Orleans. What you want is something from a native, someone who knows a place inside and out and can really recommend that best places to go, the best restaurants, the kind of stuff natives enjoy. That’s really how you can learn a city.
Of course, I have nothing against these big bulky books, now with the advent of digital books it makes it no big deal to carry around of these big guides in your smart phone. But there is still the challenge of too many choices. And I like the feel of a book anyway, which is why I turned my New Orleans travel guide Your Own Personal New Orleans Tour into a paperback.
End Part One of Interview