I’m always delighted to host Rachel McMillan on the blog & today she’s chatting about her new nonfiction book, Dream, Plan and Go: A Travel Guide to Inspire Your Independent Adventure!
DREAM, PLAN, AND GO
GENRE: A Travel Guide to Inspire Your Independent Adventure!
PUBLISHER: Harvest House
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2020
A Great Big World Is Waiting for You Out There—Go Find It!
Have you been putting off that trip of a lifetime hoping for a special someone to accompany you? Do you find yourself getting bored with the same old girls’ weekends? Are you hesitant to step out of your comfort zone, plan a solo vacation, pack your bags, and just go?
From pastries in Vienna to becoming a tourist in your own town and all points in between, this travel memoir and guidebook will inspire you to seek romance and adventure on your own terms. You will also get practical advice on how to stay safe while traveling single, create a budget, prepare and pack efficiently, and much more.
Chapter by chapter, you’ll encounter creative ideas for excursions as well as historical insights into some of the most fascinating destinations around the globe, smart tips for savvy sojourning, and journal jumpstarts to encourage deeper reflection.
Grab with both hands the confidence you need to embrace new experiences both home and abroad. You deserve the chance to discover the joy of being your own best company—this book will show you how!
by Rachel McMillan, author of Dream, Plan, and Go
Most of us aren’t traveling right now. For the first time in 20 plus years I won’t be visiting America and I have had to postpone a research trip to France until next Spring. For someone with severe wanderlust who is often never in my home of Toronto for four straight weeks (let alone four straight months of lockdown), this year has been challenging. But it has also been inspiring.
During this unprecedented (everytime I hear that word in the media I translate it to mean “horrifying dystopian”) time, I have focused on two strong and changing words: rooted and hopeful. As a full time author and literary agent, I “work from home.” But, for me, home rarely means my sprawling desk with my books and my large monitor. Home means the many cafes and pubs and library tables I occupy while I work with earbuds in feeling a part of a collective urban community. Home can mean my notebook and I on a research trip to London or Vienna or Boston or any of my heart cities, watching the world in a new shade of colour, listening to dialects from around the globe and capturing descriptions and scenes in my illegible scribbles as I pursue location writing.
Home, this year, has meant that with the exception of long (and so appreciated) daily rambles around my city and running out for necessities and errands, my desk. Rooted to my own space, I have had to meet myself alone in a new way. Yes, I live alone. Yes, I travel alone. Yes, I often go to the theatre or to dinner alone –being your own best company is part of the thesis of Dream, Plan and Go. But those times alone usually mean I am part of a collective noise and energy. During the pandemic, alone has meant just me and the silence of my apartment while some romance on Hallmark plays on mute in the background. You are who you are when you’re alone, my youth pastor always used to say. And I can safely say that for a lot of this shift in our world and the separation from my family and friends, I was anxious and unsettled. Not eating, not sleeping. Over-working. All of the ramifications of what so many of us are experiencing as our worlds are tilted on their axis .
But I also was rooted in the privilege of what I do have for my shelter. My space. My books. My adorable little bachelor pad in the city that I love to distraction. Home took on a new meaning to me. Being alone took on a new meaning to me: one that bolstered what I wrote about in my book. That every woman should have the opportunity and pleasure to carve out spaces for herself—whether single or married. That every woman should grab at the opportunity to take themselves on a date. That every woman should learn how to be alone: either for a few moments on the porch after another day of pandemic home school teaching or on a long walk reconciling the new world they see with spaced out pedestrians in Orwellian grid patterns and people with masks hiding the smiles they now shift to their eyes.
Home became a safe word. A cozy word. A light candles and make vanilla peppermint tea word. Home became an integral part of the Dreaming and Planning I have for adventures cancelled and postponed and the perfect place for me to be inspired and hopeful.
While I am grounded and waiting for the right moment to hop on a plane again, I have pulled out my magic trick: a mind made for voracious, eclectic reading. I have traveled to Oxford and India to Regency manor houses and post war America, to beach houses and the coast of France. I have wandered mentally for months. As someone who is always reading, it seemed natural that it would become my antidote for the world’s anxieties around me. But not only does it continue to provide a much needed escape, it has heightened and finessed my wanderlust for adventures far across the sea but also in my own backyard. As Toronto slowly yawns toward reopening: patios, for example, to sit at, bookstores to peruse at a safe distance, I am hopeful for the normalcy of daily mundane adventures that now seem gloriously liberating. Balancing these moments with the travels I take in pages, and the locations and dreams they inspire into the notebook at my elbow and that I tap quickly into the image search of my Google app.
In Dream, Plan and Go, I speak to a general feeling that women feel that to slice out a space for themselves in time or in adventure is equivalent to selfishness. That wanting to be alone can counter what we instinctively harbour in terms of empathy, caring for others, cultivating relationships. For women who are nurturing family during the pandemic, even a moment’s peace can lead to guilt. To single women like myself alone our thoughts can too often spiral to the people and loved ones at arm’s length or further as we adjust to the norm of distance.
But we all deserve a chance to find our heart places: whether by ourselves in a park or in the pages of a book that triggers our hope for the future.
And so here, as in the opening of my book, I grant you permission:
“Consider this book your permission form. And I’m not just talking about the sweeping dreams that colour the corners of our minds, rebalance our budgets and take years of planning—but the smaller ones, too. Enjoy the anticipation and fulfillment of all kinds of adventures—both the ones that send us across the sea and the ones that encourage us to be tourists in our own backyard.”
This summer, be rooted in the wonder of home and the adventures you can find in the mundane. But also be hopeful…be inspired…and carve out a little spot for dreaming and planning…and eventually setting off.
Rachel McMillan is the author of The Herringford and Watts mysteries, The Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries and The Three Quarter Time series of contemporary Viennese romances. Her next work of historical fiction, The London Restoration, releases in Summer 2020 and takes readers deep into the heart of London’s most beautiful churches. Dream, Plan, Go (May, 2020) is her first work of non-fiction. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada and is always planning her next adventure.
Harvest House is offering a print copy of Dream, Plan, and Go to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Dream, Plan, and Go by Rachel McMillan? Where would you love to plan a trip to visit?