It seemed like a good idea at the time: a trip across the Nullarbor Plain!
“A mini-adventure,” was how I pitched it to “Alec” my partner (not his real name, but how I call him in my book). “We’ll see the great Australian outback while launching my book!”
We would drive 4000 kilometres east from Perth to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney for events and PR to launch my new book “Gibbous Moon Over Lagos”! Surely something exciting and unexpected – my drug of choice in life – would happen.
A cancelled author tour and flopped book launch is a ripple against the tsunami of change people are dealing with in their life and business across the planet.
Yet there had been three years of writing (and rewriting), the disheartening year seeking a publisher, the rewarding year working with my publisher Hardie Grant Books to polish, print and plot the launch, all leading to the tumultuous sprint to launch in the UK, Australia and Nigeria!
“All events have been cancelled,” said the email from my Australian publicist, received on a wisp of outback 4G. I admit – the news was a bit of a dampener.
We turned back for the west when we were just 100 kilometres outside Melbourne. In the end, we would travel for 17 days nearly 8000 kilometres through five time zones and not visit a single large city.
Out on the Nullarbor Plain for the second time I got an urge. “Let’s set up a bookstore!” I said to puzzled Alec as I pulled over. “I’m going to launch my book on the Nullarbor Plain.”
Only the narrow tarmac road split the flat plain, vanishing to the western horizon where we needed to travel. I set up a camp stool on the gravel verge and carefully piled up ten books.
“It’s the remotest bookstore in the world!” I said.
A road train rushed towards me. With one hand, I battled wind to stop the handsome advertising banner heading for the bush, and in my other I hopefully held out a book.
“Want to buy a Gibbous Moon Over Lagos?!” I shouted.
His tractor and triple trailer sped by.
“Oh well, I guess no sale there,” I said wistfully.
Was this Lagos hustle in the outback? Or bringing my adventures in one of the most densely populated parts of the world to one of the emptiest quarters on the planet?
“Let’s wait another five minutes…” I said to Alec and peered hopefully towards the horizon.