The bathroom interview and my digital path to the Smithsonian

Digital path photo computerAs some of you know, in two weeks, on July 11th, I’m speaking about solo travel at the Smithsonian Institute.


So how did this come about?

A natural question that many have asked. After all, who would guess that such a thing would happen? In fact, until multiple emails confirming the gig were exchanged, I didn’t really believe it myself. But here’s how it went.

The digital path to the Smithsonian Institute

In the Spring of 2009, I launched this blog went on Twitter and started the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. I worked all of them. I’ve written a lot, sent countless tweets and retweets and slowly built an interesting community on Facebook. Those are the basics but of course, there’s more.

There is a site called Help a Reporter Out, or, On this site, reporters can put in requests for people with specific expertise. People with expertise can sign up to receive notification of the requests. Multiple times, every day an email goes to the list indicating what reporters want. At one point I received the emails but I found it too time consuming so gave up. But, one day last January, friends I know that do receive the emails got in touch. Their had been a request for an expert on solo travel from a reporter at the Washington Post.

First I received an email from my friend Ffion in Wales. Shortly after, I received a direct message from @JetWithAnya on Twitter. I got right on it and sent a brief response to the request. I received an email back saying “great” – then nothing.

The Bathroom Interview

Nothing for a few weeks. Then, out of the blue I received an email requesting an interview right away. I was working at a coffee shop. Hmm. where to go. I checked with the owner asking if there was a backroom I could use. No. But, he said, why not use the bathroom. So for about 45 minutes, my office was a bathroom while I fielded questions about solo travel.

Photo book cover Serve YourselfFast Forward Two Months

The article came out in The Washington Post a few weeks later – a proud moment to be sure. The article introduced new people to Solo Traveler. And then, naturally, the flurry went quiet. Until late one evening in March when I received an email inviting me to speak at the Smithsonian with Joe Yonan, the Food and Travel Editor of the Washington Post.

So that’s it. That’s how it all happened. A lot of love and energy went into the blog and then it was the digital world in action along with the support of a couple of kind people who pointed me at a great opportunity.

You can go to Joe’s website here. It’s really worth it.

You can buy his latest cook book here: Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One

Here are the details for the event:

Cooking and Traveling Solo: A Taste of Adventure
July 11th – 6:45 to 8:15

I hope that I’ll be able to see a few of you there.





  • Heidi Reyes

    Cool! It’ll be great to hear about it.

  • solotraveler

    Thanks Heidi. Yes, I’ll share what I can of the experience.

  • Heidi Reyes

    Congratulations! I wish had time to go, but that’s a busy week for me. Will you be posting about it afterwards?

  • solotraveler

    Thanks Peggy. Travel blogging is a trip unto itself. :)

  • Peggy McPartland

    Congratulations Janice! This is such an exciting opportunity. It’s inspiring to see that all of the hard work is definitely worth it.

  • solotraveler

    Thanks Vivian. I really appreciate your support!

  • Vivian

    Very cool! You are the spokesperson for all of us Solo Travelers; what a great opportunity for people to hear that traveling alone is not an affliction! :)