Those of you on my Facebook page know that I’ve been hinting and going on about some “big news”… but my lips were to remain sealed until signatures were exchanged and it was official… It was hard! My inbox was flooded with messages headlined “Spill the beans!!”
For the past three weeks I’ve been walking on clouds, even though I’ve had really, really long days all summer long, working hard to get to where I want to be.
I know you’re thinking, spill it already.
I’m super stoked, grateful and overjoyed to share that, after a near three-month process that started in June…
I’ve been selected as the new author of the travel guidebook, Moon Belize (10th Edition).
The ink is dry on my first book-publishing contract ever. Six months from now, you’ll read about the colorful Belize that I know and love — my writing and photos filling the book, stacked on bookshelves across Barnes and Noble and other outlets in Spring of 2013.
It’s been my dream since I was a teenager, to write a book and get published. Little did I know it would be a travel guidebook to start.
Moon Handbooks are in my opinion – and way before this came about – one of the best in the market for independent travel. No info overload, nice and compact and yet filled with the best spots – with fun cultural and country tidbits throughout.
I’m already in full swing working on my first chapter… and between that and packing up my apartment and preparing to fly out, I’m at a whole new level of busy.
I’m thankful to Moon Belize‘s previous author, Joshua Berman, who crafted the past three editions and whose big shoes I now have to fill. But the beauty of this assignment is that beyond filling and updating the book, I’ll be revising it and making it mine — a process that began with the submission process back in July.
Believe it or not, I learned of this opportunity when a fellow blogger friend, editor and journalist Monica Williams — currently on >> her first career break and hopping around Latin America — saw the Craigslist ad (don’t sleep on Craigslist!) and forwarded it to me, knowing how much time I had spent in Belize and from reading my blog and being in touch. I am forever thankful for her generosity — not least for taking time out of her trip but sharing an amazing opportunity with a fellow writer she felt was a good fit. Monica, I know I’ve said it a dozen or more times – bless you!
After a two and a half month process of sheer anticipation and prayer and hard work (including being asked to submit a proposal of 50 pages in just about 12 days) then releasing it to let destiny take its course, confirmation came… my proposal made it to the top of the pile.
No, I haven’t hit the proverbial jackpot yet (ha!), and it’s a ton of work ahead but I’m not afraid of the long hours or the 24/7 work that awaits me (it’s already started) — nor of the soon to come body aches from carrying my gear daily, checking out restaurants/hotels/bars you name it or the hours sitting at the computer cranking out the perfect words. I’ve done that the past three years, to be honest. In fact it hit me the other day, I’ve worked every day almost every year since 2010 and especially in 2011. Pursuing your dreams is hard work! But the rewards flow as a result.
It’s an honor to become a part of a long line of distinguished, hard working and award-winning travel writers that make up the Moon guide authors. And to join a travel guidebook series that believes in the kind of travel I myself believe in – informed yet independent, on and off the beaten path and fun, cultural, satisfying and leaving you wanting for more.
So please join me in celebrating my great news and the next monumental phase in my life and journey as a professional travel writer, author and photographer.
If I drop off a bit the next couple of weeks or am delayed in answering non-urgent emails, it’s because I’m swamped clearing out my place, getting ready to fly out to Belize and writing! But rest assured that I’ll be right here blogging from Belize and take you along my journey as a new guidebook author so if you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like, or want to see more of the country — stick around for the adventure!
You can also join my Facebook page where I’ll be posting from the road.
And if there’s anything cool, new or worthy of attention that you’d like me to know about or check out in Belize — countrywide — feel free to drop me an email at Lily_Girma AT yahoo.com
I will be reading every piece of correspondence in the order that I travel the country the next few months.
Lastly, without sounding like I’m preaching, I have to finish by saying: never give up on your dreams. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
See you from The Jewel!
And wishing all Belizeans a Happy St. George’s Caye Day when it comes tomorrow!