One of the pleasures of being on holiday is the number of interesting people you meet. Cruising in Halong Bay, waiting at the airport, eating at a restaurant I’ve discussed everything from the American election and the appeal of Donald Trump to the electorate, to the impossibility of working out the price in Dongs, the local currency in Laos which has so many noughts that you are paying for a bottle of water in thousands.
I’ve met a primary school teacher from New Zealand who can raise, shoot, butcher and cook her own lamb and was looking forward to trying out AK47 later on her trip to the notorious Cu Chi tunnels; an American artist and life coach who works in water colours; a Vietnamese guide who was bursting with joy at the fact that he would be a father in a month or two and a student from New York who had never been abroad in her life, but had decided that now that she had graduated she was going to take the time to travel before starting to look for a job.
In all these encounters there comes a point in the conversation when we share what we do. When I say I’m a writer, I’m asked all the usual questions about what sort of books I write. Sometimes I know the other person isn’t really interested and the conversation moves on.
At other times, however, we reach that moment when I wonder if I should give them my card so that they can actually access info about me and my work and possibly even download or buy a book.
So far, I’ve not done it.
Because it feels like an intrusion. Instead of being on holiday, I am working, selling, marketing myself and my work.
Surely it’s enough to say what I do and leave it at that.
Or am I missing an opportunity that other less thin skinned writers would take?