With Gratitude: Book Tour Best Moments (that can't possibly do the whole thing justice)

I'm typing this post with a heart full to the brim of gratitude. The sun is rising, and I'm reflecting on my last official book tour stop in Los Angeles on Tuesday night -- a room full of bright, warm people and blog friends (new and old) that my Dad and grandma described as "smart as a whip." YES. That's what every stop has been like.

In Los Angeles at Urth Cafe -- planning my final book tour speech

I remarked the other day that I feel rich with friends. Above all else, that's what this book tour has taught me. I am rich with brilliant friends, readers and community -- in every city, including the ones I haven't had a chance to visit (yet!).

People often ask Chris Guillebeau if his self-funded 50-city book tour was worth it and he always says yes. Mine -- albeit a little smaller scale (coming in at 10 cities) -- was absolutely worth it too.

I've never felt more inspired or more ALIVE. I sometimes resist doing recap posts because I hate the thought of leaving someone important out of a link round-up and I don't want anyone to feel left out. So this post may not contain a lot of names....but you know exactly who you are.

You know if you purchased a book, came out to my book launch party, a bookstore event, an after party, a conference; sent a tweet, a text, an email, a Facebook note, a picture, or commented on a blog post these last three months. If you did any one of those things -- or even just quietly followed along through this blog -- I am grateful. You have given me wings.

Below are some book tour highlights from every city. If I left your name out, just know that it isn't because I don't love you!

1. Austin Texas -- SXSW: a giant dinner hosted by Nick Reese with 20+ awesome people, the first official book launch party, hosted by Betty Jean Bell with my first ever cupcake sponsor. Late night Philly Cheesesteaks with Andy Drish talking about business and big plans.

2. Las Vegas, Round 1: Cancelling my flight home (despite a mile-high to-do list just two weeks before my book launch) to hop into a car for a spontaneous 19-hour drive to Vegas with Sean Ogle, Ryan Martin and Jenna Forstrom -- all friends I had met just days prior.

3. Bay Area, CA: Doing my first two book store readings; looking out to an audience of friends and family, feeling like a REAL author while signing books, realizing that the whole writing journey was absolutely worth it. Receiving quite possibly the nerdiest-but-most-awesome gift ever from my high school friends -- a framed picture of my book's ISBN number.

Patrick with Life After College

4. The Internet at Large: Having you all tweet, email, comment and share your love as you helped me launch the book (check out the post-game analysis of how it all went). Getting tweets with picture of the book on bookshelves across America at Barnes & Noble (and on the beach in Hawaii!).

5. TEDxCMU: delivering the opening speech to a live audience of 500 people; almost panicking when my slides went out, then feeling proud of the recovery while watching the video back; hanging out with Charlie and Amber and supporting each other as we helped show the audience what is possible for their lives and careers; having giant margaritas with the whole TEDx student organizer-crew after the event.

6. Making an appearance on my first Morning Show (Video ~2 Minutes)

Heading over to the BetterTV studios in NYC on the morning of my book launch party to film a two-minute video segment. Being swept into the green room where every other guest waited with their personal assistant and/or handler; watching the girls from Jerseyliscious do their thing. Feeling as nervous about those two minutes as any major speech (with only one take to get it right), but being really happy with how it all turned out and keeping fingers and toes crossed that it helps The Today Show find my phone number!

7. An Epic NYC Book Launch Party (with 2-minute Video)

Having over 200 people attend the book launch party in New York City. Receiving a larger-than-life cake from my NYC Angel Ann Turi; dancing and connecting with friends throughout the night; signing 200 books for the gift bags with Allie Mahler's help; doing my version of a Sex and the City Photo Shoot with photographer Galo Delgado. {Full Flickr set here} Click on photos below to enlarge.

Life After College Book Tour - Snapshots 2 (Jenny Blake)

Here's an awesome two-minute video-recap from videographer Bryan Ridgell (big thanks to NY Creative Interns, Victoria Monsul at Wix Lounge, and Ruth Ann Harnisch!!):

8. Converging on Las Vegas for a second time to attend Bloggers in Sin City (hosted by the amazing Nicole Antoinette): Meeting Grace Boyle in person for the first time (after knowing her for almost three years online), catching up with old friends, making new ones, having "business breakfasts" with Molly and the brilliant Bob Calise, and Jenn and I dancing our hearts out at Pure on the last night with a new friend that we picked up on the walk there (who clearly made the best decision EVER to ditch his friends hang out with 60 crazy bloggers instead). 

9. My last bookstore event in Seattle, WA: Being greeted at the airport by the fabulous Molly Hoyne, having Derek Shanahan come down from Vancouver to hang out and shoot-the-shit before my book talk, meeting an awesome crew of readers and friends (including Seattle host Mike Krass), giving a talk at the bookstore where my dad grew up (check out this great recap from Devon), heading around the corner for drinks with the awesome people who showed up and sharing our scariest can-barely-say-them-out-loud "secret" dreams and big goals with each other.

10. An amazing weekend in Portland for the World Domination Summit: with far too many great memories and new friends to count. Exploding with inspiration and possibility as I thought about all the ways I can grow Life After College. Morning techno dance sessions in the hotel room with my roommate Andy, catching up over a glass of wine with Doniree, meeting Dave for the first time in person by running into him in the elevator (telling him "my heart's going to explode!" in the coffee shop the day after the conference ended), meeting the bow-tie master himself Mike Ambassador Bruny, Sunday night shenanigans at Dante's Sinferno (h/t Sean Ogle!), countless strategy and tip-sharing talks over lunch, learning from people I've long-admired like Jonathan Mead, Charlie Gilkey and Corbett Barr, making many new friends (major girl crush alert!) and deeply feeling what it's like to be surrounded by 500 people who would call you crazy for NOT following your biggest dreams.

Life After College Book Tour Snapshots - 4



The coolest latte design I've ever seen - at Urth Cafe in LA.

11. Los Angeles, CA: The final stop with the most energetic group of book tour attendees yet! Organized by Scott Asai and generously hosted by his friend Melissa in the "Hall of Fame" room at the New York Life offices. Writing a new speech an hour beforehand on fear, change, and big leaps; having my grandma attend one of my speeches for the first time (since high school graduation); meeting two incredible women (and several others) who traveled two hours to be there; and seeing what an inspiring group of people make up the LAC community; going out to dinner with my family afterward to celebrate and trying not to look ridiculous staring as we spotted the judges from American Idol at a table nearby (Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Steven Tyler).

12. Plane ride to NYC: Jumping back on a plane for a whirlwind trip to NYC to present at a conference; reflecting on the last 3 months of memories, blissful moments, worn out nights, living out of my suitcase, and knowing that every single minute and every dollar spent was absolutely, unquestionably WORTH IT.

As I was writing this post, the Black Eyed Peas' The Time (of my life) song came on. This book tour has absolutely been the time of my life, and I have every one of you to thank for it. I am rich with friends, I am rich with community, and I bow to you in gratitude.

Thank you for giving me wings. There are some big updates ahead -- inspired by you -- and I can't wait until it's time to share. In the meantime, Namaste (I bow to the divine in you) -- and cupcake CHEERS! To great things ahead for all of us :)