It’s time to jump back on Brian’s Karaoke World Tour and for Chapter Eleven we’re off to Kirchberg in Austria. When I worked as a tour leader for Top Deck dragging drunk 18 to 30s around Europe (the stories from that became my book Rule No.5: No Sex on the Bus) the itinerary would often include a couple of nights at Club Habitat, a traditional chalet in the heart of the Austrian Tirol. The quaint old wooden chalet had squeaky floorboards, squeaky beds, squeaky stairs and squeaky doors, but it certainly wasn’t squeaky clean. Club Hab (as it was affectionately known) had possibly the most debauched karaoke night in the world. The bar itself was nothing special. It was tiny with a low ceiling and the walls were Read more
Although it seems more like only six years ago, it was 20 years ago today that I set off for London to take part in a ‘training trip’ to become a tour leader with Top Deck. In an old English double-decker bus (which was converted into a cosy motorhome to sleep twenty-four sweaty, smelly, sexually hyperactive 18-30 year olds) I joined a bunch of other hopeful tour leaders and drivers for a three-week, intense trip from hell. Out of the 15 wannabe tour leaders only three of us had that perfect mix of tinpot dictator, incorrigible smartarse and expertise in self-preservation to pass. I then spent the next three years dragging drunk and often disorientated passengers from Barcelona to Budapest to Berlin and many bars in between. The tales of debauchery that took place became the subject of my first book Rule No.5: No Sex on the Bus (and yes that was a rule in the ‘Crew Handbook’). Read more
I’ve had quite a few emails over the years asking how I got started in the travel-writing caper, so I thought I’d share with you how it all began.
The first thing I did was to get retrenched.
I’ve had two silly dreams come true after I got retrenched. The first time I ‘lost’ my job (I was working as an art director in advertising where retrenching is as common as refilling the water cooler) I searched for another job straight away, but there was nothing around. Then, one day simply out of sheer boredom, I was flicking through the employment section of the newspaper and spotted a job for ‘summer tour leaders in Europe’. That sounded like fun, but what really caught my eye was it also had ‘plus ski resort work available in winter’ (on my first ever European ski holiday in Switzerland I was so envious of the ski guide and thought he had the best job in the world). I got the job as a tour leader and in my first winter scored the job as a ski guide in Switzerland. Read more
It was ten years ago this week that I began writing my first book Rule No.5: No sex on the bus. The original title I had for the book was actually ‘Buses, Booze and Bonking’ and I’m so happy that I changed it. I think I probably got half my book sales just from the title alone! A great title can certainly help sell a book (or at least make it stand out in the crowd). Another Aussie travel writer Peter Moore also had a great title for his first book: ‘No shitting in the toilet’. A good title can really help sell a book.