A 13,000-Mile Journey: Launch Day for My Newest Book

What does it mean to live a life that’s true to your purpose?

From 2012 to 2013, I traveled across 13,000 miles to understand what it means to make my life’s journey my greatest reward.

Today, the stories, essays and adventures from those 13,000 miles of travel are finally revealed in my new book, Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun!

From New York City’s East Village to the beaches of Hawaii and the mystical landscapes of Iceland, Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun is a collection of 15 essays written across a 13,000-mile journey of adventure in pursuit of a meaningful life.

Today’s worldwide release that has been more than two years in the making. These are the true stories that I wrote as I lived them. I never intended to publish these essays in a book, which means that this book is intimate and revealing, and a deeply authentic look into what it means to live your ideals and purpose, every day.

If you feel called like I do to make your life’s journey your “greatest reward,” I know that Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun will inspire you to find meaning, purpose and joy throughout your own life’s journey. In my book I talk about:

  • Finding growth and meaning in moments of heartbreak
  • How two national tragedies challenged the ideal of “self-reliance”
  • Why living a life of artistry is the creative’s greatest teacher
  • Much, much more!

To celebrate launch day, today I’m sharing an in-depth preview of each section of Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun below, along with some memorable Instagram photos that I snapped across all 13,000 miles of travel. Read on to see a chapter-by-chapter preview.

And, if you don’t need a preview and you’re eager to buy my new book (thank you!), please do so today by clicking below:

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A portion of proceeds from each sale goes to a great cause–read below for more.

Part One: The Big Apple, New York City.

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Clockwise from top left: A piano player in Washington Square Park; street corner near Broadway; illuminated high rises above Bryant Park; a chalk sign in SoHo.

Part One of this book begins in the blistering heat of a New York City summer where themes of space, energy and personal identity are explored as the world’s foremost concrete jungle offers challenge, experience, interactions and chance encounters.

On the heels of the publication of my first book, Lead Without Followers, I move to New York City trying to piecemeal together a failing business as a solopreneur.

Will the Big Apple make or break the dream?

  • Chapter 1. The Piano Player. The sight of a solo piano player in the middle of a sidewalk in Washington Square Park taught me invaluable lessons about performing your art for the world, and what it’s like to be seen for who you are.
  • Chapter 2. Welcome To Your New Skin. A curious skin rash crops up when I’m taking a weekend-long vacation in Atlanta, Georgia, to visit a girl who I’m secretly seeing. In the fall-out of some major life changes and business shifts, I feel my identity shifting around me–and my body seems to tell me, it agrees.
  • Chapter 3. Pop Quiz (A Writer’s Nightmare). As I prepare to launch a last-ditch business project called The Literati Writers that will either save me from bankruptcy or spell it for me, I wake up from a dream that reminds me of what it feels like to be unfairly criticized, graded and shamed. Can we outgrow the old high-school fear of being judged?
  • Chapter 4. Your Space Is Sacred. Months into living in New York City, I finally understand just how overtaxed I am–emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. The noise, commotion and endless feeling of being “consumed” by New York City’s energy forces me to confront an honest question: am I supposed to be here, or am I meant to be elsewhere?
  • Chapter 5. After the Storm. After deciding to pack my apartment and move out of New York City, a 100-year super-storm named Sandy ravages New York, New Jersey and Long Island.
  • Chapter 6. When Your Spirit Moves, Move Your Body Along with It. How do you honor internal shifts, changes and evolution? The mantra that carried me into New York City becomes the mantra that forces me out.

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Part Two: Black Sand, Hawaii.

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Clockwise from top left: A sunrise from Waimanalo Beach; parsva utkatasana on the deck of our Waimanalo beach cabin; the sunrise over Haleakala volcano crater in Maui; Paola, Jacob and I introduced to dim sum by local Hawaiians.

In Part Two, my longing for space and energy is pursued as I venture to the beaches of Hawaii where, for five weeks, fellow creative entrepreneur (and the life coach of life coaches) Jacob Sokol and I live in oceanfront cabins and island dive bars.

What’s in Part Two?

  • Chapter 7. The Great Life. I want to live a great life. But I don’t know what it means to live one. Is greatness what is seen, or felt? Is greatness what moves our own two feet, or what inspires the feet of many to move more swiftly beneath them?
  • Chapter 8. On Love, Heart-Opening, and What Happens After. My secret long-distance relationship ends, and I’m left heart-broken. Only, this time, I’m convinced–I won’t react the same ways. I won’t close myself off. I won’t accept broken. This time, I’m staying “open.” At least, I hope.
  • Chapter 9. Our World Needs More Bad Art. Here’s why our world needs more bad art–and why your life can benefit from it, in spite of the challenge of creating something less than stellar.
  • Chapter 10. Idling Down a Volcano on ‘Empty.’ In Maui, Jacob and I find ourselves in a predicament up a 10,000-foot Hawaiian volcano. What do you do when “the journey” sucks?  How do you reclaim the adventure that’s been stolen from you? Jacob and I figure out how.
  • Chapter 11. On a Cross-Country Flight from Los Angeles to Boston, It All Came Rushing Back. Leadership. Giving. Service. Helping people. On a cross-country flight, memories of 9/11 come rushing back as two bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon–where my plane is due to land in less than 2 hours.

Themes of love, heartbreak, friendship and connection emanate as one of the more beautiful environments of the world invite these two young men who want it all to ask themselves what, exactly, is enough to be happy.

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Part Three: The Midnight Sun, Iceland

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Clockwise from top left: View of Reykjavik from the top of Hallgrimskirkja; the Blue Lagoon spa and natural spring; a street sign on Laugavegur; a view of Hallgrimskirkja in a rare treat of blue sky.

And in Part Three, we arrive upon the mystical landscapes of Iceland, where the allure of adventure and globe-trotting travel is second-guessed by self-doubt before the sight of a ticking clock provides a powerful reminder:

We don’t have all the time in the world to live the lives that we desire, so we best start living them now.

What’s in Part Three?

  • Chapter 12. Waking Up in Iceland (Or, The Escape Artist). As a kid, doctors told my parents that I had “separation anxiety” or acute homesickness that would cause me to freak out and try to escape anywhere I didn’t want to be. Years later, I’m no kid but the tendency to leave wherever feels uncomfortable crops up in my first voyage across an ocean.
  • Chapter 13. Falling Asleep in Iceland (Or, This is Your Life of Adventure). Determined to reclaim my adventure to Iceland as my own, I fight my inner Escape Artist to turn a morning of disappointments and setbacks into an evening of adventure. New friends, celebration and a pop star encounter later, I realize why travel can teach you so much about life–and yourself.
  • Chapter 14. Please, Never Apologize for These Things. Being “unapologetically you.” What does it mean? What shouldn’t we ever apologize for? My take on living true to you, and 17 “rules” for living an unapologetic life.
  • Chapter 15. What We Shouldn’t Need Reminders Of. The clock ticks. We know that we won’t live forever. Why, then, do we wait? A final rallying cry to inspire adventures of your own–whether abroad, or in your own back yard.

Through moments of joy, stories of friendship, tales of heartache and first-hand experiences of national tragedies, I’m proud to invite you with me across continents and time zones to discover what it means to make your life’s journey your greatest reward.

Pick up your copy of Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun today:

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Supporting my new book will help support a great cause, too.

I’m traveling to India this autumn for a spiritual yoga retreat with one of my yoga mentors, Coral Brown, and friends.

I’m collecting a portion of proceeds from the sale of each copy of my new book and carrying donations to the Children of the Ganges children’s school in Rishikesh, India, in the form of desperately needed school supplies.

It’s just one small way to continue the mission of finding meaning and purpose throughout every journey, at home or abroad.

And truly, I hope that my book encourages you to embark upon on a journey of truth and authentic living of your own, whether it is by traveling or investing yourself in your own community.

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Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun is not just a snapshot into the “nomadic” lifestyle of a location-independent writer and creative entrepreneur. The book tells tales of real-life adventures and what happens in the moments in between.

What does it mean to live the adage, “The journey of life is the greatest reward”?

Pick up your copy of Big Apple, Black Sand and the Midnight Sun today to answer that question for yourself!

Thank you, as always, and happy journeying :)

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