What happens on tour stays on tour*

I took these two Polaroids on the drive down to LA from Santa Barbara. Lisa took us the scenic route, pulling over to dip our toes in the ocean and sit on a rock, watching the seagulls. That night I was doing my second book event at Marisa’s house and the closer we got to the city the more nervous I felt. Those nerves never went away. I did seven events in total and each one had its own flavour and charm. It was such a joy to meet everyone who came along, many of whom had taken my classes. Some drove over three hours just to be there. Once everyone had gathered I read a couple of passages from the book then opened it up to questions and answers before sitting with each person to sign their book and chat. This was always my favourite part of the night: looking into the eyes of each person in turn and hearing their story. What blew me away again and again was how helpful others found the book. You can’t help worrying that no one will connect to your words when you’re sitting alone writing it. So to be out in the wild, listening to tales of connection, understanding, comfort and validation was an incredible gift. Each person had something to share with me: an affirmation, a story, a question, a confession. There were tears from some, and fierce hugs from others. Some sweet souls were shaking when they sat down with me, something that tickled me so much. “Don’t worry, it’s just me,” I’d say as they stumbled over their words. And really, it was just me: the shy girl who grew up and survived a fire. Who was amazed that anyone would want to come and talk to her.

Writing a book doesn’t make me any more special than any of the women I sat with at the events. Each person had a tale to tell, and each of those tales is important. We can learn so much from each other and if nothing else I hope that my book (and actually, this blog) encourages people to open up and share their story. To be real and honest about their life so others feel less alone. So WE feel less alone. There is so much collective wisdom out there, it really is a gift to be living in a time when we can share with each other as easily as we can. Blogs… books… courses… social media. I see tribes forming online and marvel at how much support and love there is out there. So to get a taste of that in real life while on the tour was off the charts amazing.

At the end of each event I was exhausted to the point of shaking on some nights. I would make sure I ate beforehand and didn’t touch a drop of wine all evening, but still I was completely wiped out by the time the last person left. As I planned the tour back in the UK I’d worried that my introverted soul would be sucked dry by the time I got home, and I was certainly battling exhaustion as I went from city to city. Some people would be energised by the experience of meeting so many people — and I was definitely charged up at each event — but I also needed the downtime afterwards. I needed to recharge and replenish so i was able to give my absolute attention to each person I spoke to. Because I wanted to make sure I spoke to every single person who came to see me (which is why all the events ran over time :) It was my gift to each person — proper time to sit together and talk. To be present with them. To hear them. To see them. And I think I managed it.

The entire tour was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I loved the travelling, the cities, the deepened friendships, the people I met, the wisdom found, the unrelenting a-has, and the gift of every person who sat with me and shared their heart. Hell, I even didn’t mind the flying (yay carry-ons!). From an energy-level it’s not something I could do very often, but if i publish a book every two years then I should be okay. Because I definitely want to do it again. Oh hells, yes I do.

Big squishy love and gratitude to the souls who helped me make the tour happen: Kelly Rae, Marisa, Lisa, Kristen, Mati Rose, Alex, Denise, Amanda, Holly, Jamie, Tanya, Susan, Elizabeth and Monica. You women rock my world! xo

* not really.

Posted on 15-08-2012
20 responses
  1. Sherry

    Easy to see that you would be exhausted…so much travel in such a short period of time. Add to that the emotional experiences from meeting new people, from being “on”, from being yourself 100% of the time and making sure that everyone was acknowledged. Having been one of those people you met, who sat with me and made eye contact…I can say that you were honestly 100% present and I know that every other person you met with on this whirlwind jaunt will say the same thing. Here is to connection! xo You rock Susannah.

    it was so lovely to meet you, Sherry!!!

  2. Holly

    Susannah, it was amazing having you here in Vancouver & I loved how you gave so much to everyone that came. It was such a lovely evening.

    thank you for everything you did to make the evening so awesome, Holly — you (and your studio!) rock! xx

  3. Graciel

    it was a gift to meet you and travel those* 3 hours* , especially now when grief is so near. luckily, so is your book and the memory of your sweet soul. xo

  4. Christen

    Wow, wow, wow. I’ve been doing your Blog From the Heart course (which I got in the Only 72 package), and so I knew you were a remarkable person, but this confirms it. Being an introvert myself, I just feel like, “What an amazing woman she must be to make the commitment to speak to every person who came to her book event!!” What an incredible gift. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to “meet” you through your blog and blogging course.

  5. Julie-Ann

    What you did was brave and fabulous! I would have been SO NERVOUS meeting all those people, all over the country, while trying to get my bearings in each city… heck, I was nervous just going to the event, never mind having to be the center of attention! It was wonderful to meet you and it was very generous of you to spend so much time with each person.

  6. kat {pipkin hollow}

    I don’t know what I was expecting when I entered the studio in Vancouver. I tried to not think too much about it … I was shy to meet you, somewhat in awe of your accomplishments, and nervous to be in a room full of strangers. The nerves did take over, and I did dash out quite early, but not before I heard you read. Not before I had a chance to chat with you.

    To sit with you, look you in the eye, and share some of your story and some of my story … a real treat. Your quiet, heartfelt presence a real gift. A gift because in that moment I realized that just like me, you had an experience that changed the course of your life. Just like me, you have a story to share.

    Thank you Susannah for Unravelling, for Blogging from the Heart, for “this i know”. For your words. Your story. Thank you for inspiring me to start sharing my story. In the sharing we connect. In the connection we start to heal.

    okay, that made me teary… thank you, honey xx

  7. Lesley Myrick

    Love love LOVED meeting you! Thanks for putting your introverted self out there and taking the time to chat. You are simply delightful, Susannah. xo

  8. La plume et la page

    Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings. I can tell I feel less alone since I read your blog! As Lesley said “You are simply delightful”!

  9. elizabeth

    it was a total honor— you are pure magic– xoox, e

  10. Karen C

    The time you spent with each of us was definitely a gift. I remember you apologizing to those of us who were near the end of the group in Vancouver, but there was no apology needed. It was so amazing how you took time to be present for each of us. It didn’t feel like I was there to hear favourite author read (though that’s definitely also true!), it felt like we were all there to catch up with a dear friend who was finally able to come for a visit. Hugs and much gratitude!

  11. Gerri Smalley

    You’re like something magically amazing. Your heart sings and have touched and inspired so many of us. No, it’s not “just” you. YOU are bigger than you. I’m talking non-sensical because you.awe.me… But, you’re real and that’s the magical part. xxO

  12. Eadaoin

    Your book tour sounds like it was a wonderful experience, for both you and the people you met along the way. I hope that you come to read in Dublin someday, that would be awesome! If you’re ever thinking about it and need help just give me a shout :). In a way it helps me to read that you found yourself needing the time to recharge after each event. I know that probably sounds a bit odd, but I’ve always thought it was a bit of a failing in myself that I find it draining to spend a lot of time with people and really needing downtime to recover afterwards. My family kind of view it as a bit antisocial, but that upsets me because it’s not that I don’t enjoy spending time with people, I just need breaks sometimes! It helps to read that others have that experience too, especially someone like you who seems to have so much time to give to others in many ways :).

    Well, I’m kind of waffling here lol, but to summarise congratulations on the tour, hope I get to see you read someday and thanks for sharing your introvert experience!

    honey, it’s not a failing at ALL — just part of being an introvert. i get my energy from being on my own — i generate it internally and need LOTS of downtime after seeing people (even family!)… extroverts generally get their energy from being *with* people. super simplification, so i recommend reading The Introvert Advantage and Susan Cain’s book, Quiet x

    Thank you for the recommendations, I’m off to check them out on Amazon. Hopefully it will lead to a better understanding of what it means to be introverted :)

  13. Jessica

    I LOVED meeting you! Thank you for taking the time to talk with each and everyone of us. You set my nervous heart at ease with your calm manner and ability to live in the moment. You inhabit your own skin so well and made the whole room fall in love with you. I’m already looking forward to your next tour! xo

  14. Tracy

    Susannah, getting to meet you in LA at Marisa’s was a soul stirring and yet calming experience. I, too, was nervous about attending the event, meeting you, being in a room with people I didn’t know. (Fellow introvert here!) Nerves aflutter, I awkwardly mingled – or attempted to. Marisa’s art was an amazing backdrop, as well as a conversation starter. She is amazing! And then we all settled in to hear you read. And I think at that moment I finally took a full breath, let my shoulders down and just absorbed the whole experience. I’m still processing all that I took away from meeting you, hearing you read your words, and connecting for just a bit over shared life changing experiences. Your presence there, and your in-the-moment-ness was wonderful to experience! You are so genunine, real & authentic, and you let us all see your wonderful self. It was one of the highlights of my whole summer. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with all of us! I left inspired and happy. XO!

  15. Jen

    Wow – that truly requires some stamina! (I must be an introvert at heart because I would want to do the same and yet still feel physically and emotionally exhausted afterwards).

    You are right on about the online tribe. And the need for honesty. I went out on a limb last night and started a brand new blog, completely inspired by the need to get my own voice out there. Big step – walking the walk. Gotta do it though.

Comments are closed.