How The Book Came to be Written

I spend much of my life publishing articles on a website, The Travel Insider, primarily on topics to do with travel and technology.  In addition, a few times a year, I take groups of my readers on tours around the world.

We’ve been to the “usual” sorts of places such as Europe, to slightly more exotic places such as Eastern Europe, Russia and China, to out-of-the-way places such as many of the islands off the Scottish Coast, and truly distinctive destinations such as North Korea.

It was plain to me, way back in February, that this virus was going to change the world, and so at that time I cancelled the entire tour schedule all the way through December.  No tours to France, Scotland, the ‘stan countries, or Europe for the Christmas markets.  Some of the intending-tour-members thought I was crazy, some were annoyed, and some said they’d do it themselves, with me or without me.  I wish they’d been right about that, but of course, they weren’t.

Travel related topics rapidly dropped down to zero.  While some people have struggled to write about “places to go when it is all over”, and a few have irresponsibly promoted travel right now, I saw little point in writing about things you can’t do or shouldn’t do.

So what did I do instead?  Yes, you guessed it.  I wanted to understand more about what the virus threat was, what I should do to avoid it, and when life would turn back to normal.  So I started reading up on it, and the more I researched, the more interesting it became, and the greater the disconnect I came to appreciate between what might be the underlying realities, and the public official statements and actions (and different again from how many people were acting/responding).

So I started writing articles on the evolving story, initially every day, and then after a month or two of that unsustainable pace, moved to a a more viable two articles a week, every Thursday and Sunday evenings.

After having done about a hundred of these articles, I was starting to drown in “too much information” and felt the need to come up with a “cheat sheet” that summarized the key facts and findings in a logical order.  I thought it could be done in four or five pages.

Well, that was a project I started in July.  The first draft appeared on 12 August – it was 45 pages long, so I’d overshot my 4 – 5 pages somewhat.  Subsequent drafts kept lengthening, and now, as you may know, we’re at about 400 pages!


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