I’m hearing more and more stories from book club members about the terrific lit trips, large and small, that their groups have taken. I love it! So, I’m starting a new category for this blog: “Book Club Travel Tales,” where you can find ideas in one spot, over there in the right hand column.
In previous posts, for example, I’ve mentioned the travels and events of Go On Girl! Book Club. Here’s a new addition to the list, a Q and A interview with Cindy Hudson of Portland Oregon. She is the author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs and has a great blog on the same topic, MotherDaughterBookClub.com. Not surprisingly, she’s active in more than one book group and here she shares a few of their travel experiences.
What kind of trips or outings has your book club enjoyed?
Over the years, I’ve gone on several outings with my book groups. After one group read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which focuses on eating locally, we organized a wine tasting day with a potluck lunch focused on ingredients from a local farmers market. We talked to the winegrowers, sipped a bit of their wine and ate incredible food. We discussed what we had learned about eating locally as well as ideas we had for changing their food habits going forward. The pictures from that day show all of us with big smiles. The event was such a hit we knew that we’d be looking at other opportunities to take our group on the road at least once a year.”
We’ve had several movie events, too. We went to see the movie Millions when we read the book by Frank Cottrell Boyce, and we went to see The Secret Life of Bees when we read that book. Also, there were several weekends away that were not book themed, rather they were a chance for us all to get away together and have fun, and we also talked about the book we had read.
Why not just stay home and do your regular meeting? Why go on an outing or trip?
Going out as a group is not only fun, it helps you see a side of other members in your group that you don’t get to see in your regular meeting setting. I’ve gone on outings with my mother-daughter book clubs and in the reading group I’m in with my husband, and in each case, we aim for one or two what we call “field trips” a year.
Do these trips bring the members of your group closer together?
I have found that there’s never enough time to socialize with everyone at book club. In only a few hours we have dinner, try to catch up with other members about what has happened in their lives in the last month or so, and discuss the book. When I go on outings or weekends away I treasure the relaxed atmosphere and the ability to really spend time one-on-one with others in the group. And there’s always a lot of laughing during group time.
Once, when I was on a weekend away with my mother-daughter book club, we started playing music after dinner and the moms began to dance. We all had a good laugh when the girls expressed surprise that their moms would want to dance. They found out we’re people too, and sometimes we just want to have fun.
Any tips or suggestions for people organizing book-related travel?
Make sure you have a good idea of budget before hand. You don’t want to plan something at a luxury hotel if some of the members of your group won’t be able to afford it. Also, if you do go away for a night or more, make sure there are plenty of opportunities for people to branch off and go on their own adventures as well as stay with the group.
Follow Cindy on Twitter at twitter.com/momdtrbookclub