This Friday, I’m going to hop an Amtrak train to New Orleans and start a Localist book tour that stretches into the middle of April and takes me all the way to New York … and I’m very excited. I love the romantic idea of traveling by train, and a train car is a great place to read and write — pretty much my two favorite things. I’ll be visiting new cities, seeing the sights and visiting with some of the most important people in my life (I’ll be crashing on the couches of friends and family).
On the other hand, I’m also very scared. I’m an introvert, but on this book tour I’m going to be standing up in front of people — lots of people — and talking about localism and my book. I’m not a great traveler, and I’ll be away from home for a solid month. Travel by Amtrak can be wonderful, but it can also be … “quirky and unpredictable” is probably the nicest way to put it. I’m worried about everything: What clothes should I pack? What am I going to say to the people who come meet me? What am I going to do if nobody comes to meet me? What will I do if the train breaks down? Where am I going to buy coffee?
But I’m going anyway, because I think this message of buying locally is important. I think it deserves to be talked about and tweeted about and written about, and I’m in a unique position to be able to do that.
Because of this brave new world we live in, you guys can all join me on the journey, at least technologically. I want you to be a part of this, reading and exploring along with me. So I’ll be blogging as much as possible, and I’ll be Instagramming and tweeting and Facebooking too. I’ll talk about localism, sure, but I’ll also be posting about the local shops and products (and coffee! and books!) I’m finding in cities along the way. And I’ll be posting about my train rides because, well, they’re quirky. (They’re also long, and nothing beats boredom like a good ole Instagram selfie.) I want this to be a sort of virtual tour for everybody. I don’t want to be the only localist — I want to be part of a community of localists.
You can join that community by reading this blog or by following me on social media @crollwagen and posting pictures of your own Localist book adventures (hashtag them #localistbook if you want me to see). A list of my train tour stops is below (and you can always find them here on my Localist Events page): If you’re in a town where I’m stopping, please come say hello! And if you have friends in these cities, I’d be so grateful if you’d spread the word.
The idea of being alone on a train for a month scares me, but I’ve never really been alone through this whole process. Lots of you helped pay for the book (and this trip) through the Localist book Kickstarter. Many of you have read the book and talked to me about it (those conversations are surreal and wonderful for me) and, even more important, invited other people into the localist conversation. Thank you for that, and for being a part of this next adventure with me, too.
March 7: New Orleans, Louisiana
Localist talk at French Market (French Quarter), noon
March 7: New Orleans, Louisiana
Book signing at A Tisket A Tasket, 2 p.m.
March 10: Birmingham, Alabama
Book signing at Ex Voto Vintage in Mountain Brook Village, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
March 11: Birmingham, Alabama
Localist Bham Birthday Bash at Carrigan’s Public House, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
March 19: Atlanta, Georgia
Little Five Points Scavenger Hunt (all day)
A Capella Books: Localist Conversation with Eric Levin from Criminal Records, 5:30 p.m.
March 23: Wilmington, North Carolina
Book signing at Pomegranate Books, 7 p.m.
March 25: Ashville, North Carolina
Book signing at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café, 7 p.m.
March 26: Arlington, Virginia (D.C. area)
Book signing at One More Page Books
April 3 or 4 (TBA): Doylestown, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia area)
Book signing at The Doylestown Bookshop
April 13: New York, New York
Book signing and localist talk at Bluestockings
*** Bonus Signings! ***
May 9: New Orleans, Louisiana
Independent Bookstore Day talk and signing at Octavia Books
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.