My latest project as well as my first book, Reunion – A Travelogue is a humourous, introspective chronicle of a one-month journey through Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and France, which is slated to take place in Fall 2010.
Reunion will be as much about the spaces in between – the train stations and the trains – as it will be about the cities I visit. Often, the most interesting things – a bizarre layover, a chance meeting, a moment of sublime absurdity – happen on the way someplace rather than in that place. The travelogue will also look at the activists, old friends and new, and random conversations I encounter was I make my way through the continent.
I plan to release the English edition of Reunion in mid-January 2011.
I have chosen Reunion as the working title for this travelogue because my trip is, in a sense, a reunion, both with old friends and with the continent I have not seen since I had to leave Berlin ten years ago. It is as much about the memories of my last time living there as it is about the current experiences, as much about the people and experiences I encountered years ago as it is about the experiences of Fall 2010.
The foreword to Reunion, which recounts an exhausting, fascinating, and at times utterly surreal trip I made from Munich to Berlin in December 1996, is being published serially to the book’s main website.
So far, three parts have been published:
In December 1996, I found myself standing in the main hall of Munich’s Hauptbahnhof (central train station). I had just returned from spending Christmas with friends in the village of Fieberbrunn, in the middle of Austria’s share of the Alps.
It had been a most instructive visit. Apart from doing some very important formative drinking, I learned that there are still people who decorate their Christmas trees with actual candles, and – as the ache in my left leg constantly reminded me – that “sledding” means different things to different people.
I had received an invitation from my friend Marek to spend a week with him in Berlin, and celebrate Silvester, as New Year’s Eve is called, with his family and friends. When I explained that I wasn’t sure if I could afford the tickets for such a trip, Marek told me about the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (Nice Weekend Ticket, aka 35 Mark Ticket), which, for 35 marks (about US$ 17.50), would allow the bearer unlimited travel within Germany for the entire weekend, starting Friday and ending Sunday night.
I would have to change trains six times: once in Nuremberg, once in Hof, once in Plauen, once in Lichtentanne, once in Leipzig, and once in Dessau. In Hof, I would have only two minutes to make my connection. In Leipzig, on the other hand, I would have fully four and a half hours to kill in the middle of the night.
My two wheel-less suitcases, vintage 1972, began to feel just a little heavier.
As it currently stands, I will be self-publishing Reunion. As such, the funding for the project will come from three main sources: my income from my translation/editing work, proceeds from pre-selling copies of Reunion at the discounted price of US$12.00 per copy, and donations from anyone interested in supporting the project. All in all, I hope to raise a total of US$ 5770.00 (current fundraising total: $100.00), which will cover:
- Round-trip airfare to Frankfurt/Main, Germany
- A one-month Eurail Global Pass
- A new camera
- Room and board for one month in Europe
- The cost of rail travel within Poland and other places not covered by the Eurail Global Pass
- Incidentals and emergency expenses
If you wish to buy an advance copy, you can do this at the project fundraising site by selecting the “$12 = Advance copy” option under “Perks”. If you wish to make a donation, you can do this at the same site, or by using the Chipin widget in the right-hand column of this site.
Other perks for donations include:
- One of 200 copies of Reunion (2 claimed already) for a donation of US$10.00 or more;
- One of 50 signed copies (all 50 still available) of Reunion for a donation of US$100.00 or more; or
- A reading at your location (3 available) for a donation of US$1,000.00 or more.
If you elect to receive a copy of the book, signed or otherwise, please also send an e-mail to reunion-travelogue AT elisehendrick COM confirming this and including your mailing address.