Song of Lyran on the road

Twenty years ago, I left my job in Amsterdam at Boom Chicago and started a five-month journey. One of the most significant stops was the Sunrock Vrachos resort on the island of Corfu in Greece. Known for spectacular sunsets, the island attracted young backpackers from all over. A two-night stay stretched into two weeks after my traveling companion, Danger Amy, lost my ATM card to a machine in town and I had to work the breakfast shift in exchange for room and board. But it was a fantastic time filled with crazy characters: Lord Philip the White Witch Doctor of South Africa, George the Love-Sick Guitarist, and Iron-Footed Nikos, to name a few.

Me, changing a CD instead of making omelettes or Greek pancakes as I should be doing, during the breakfast shift at the Sunrock Vrachos in September 2002. Photo by Nikki Bayley.

I’ve been thinking about that time because I’m currently visiting with one of the friends I made there, Nikki “Oy! Bayley!” Bayley, exploring much of British Columbia, Canada. While in Vancouver, we discovered that another person we’d been at the hostel in Greece with was in town, Adam “Alpha Romeo” Laing. It would have been beautiful to connect with him, but alas, when you’re no longer 19 you have family obligations, and he was in town for those, not to connect with old friends.

Alpha Romeo worked the evening bar shift at Sunrock Vrachos with Bjorgvin “Bird” Agnarsson. The night Danger Amy and I arrived, they introduced an ice-cube-passing game that quickly devolved into an all-out kissing party at the bar and ended with a 2 a.m. skinny dip in the Mediterranean and many new intimate sleeping arrangements. In these pandemic times, I wonder if moments like these will be forever lost to our young ones. I hope not. Or at least not for good.

Freed from the hostel by a wire transfer from home, I left Greece for Turkey and traveled there for a month before returning to travel the Greek islands with Alpha and Bird for a couple of weeks. We ventured from Ios to Santorini and spent a whole week driving around Crete, skinny dipping and sunbathing. It was a glorious, free, fantastic time. And during one of our ferry trips, Alpha taught me something that stuck with me. Being abroad before electronic books, every hostel had a lending library where you took a book and left one, much like the little libraries you see in front yards in the suburbs now. Alpha liked to take those books and write a little note encouraging people to share who they were, where they found the book, which places they read it in, and when they began and finished it.

”One day,” he said, “I hope to run across a book I read and learn its journey.”

I traveled to Canada with a few copies of SONG OF LYRAN. Originally I’d thought to give it to friends, but they’d already bought copies. (THANK YOU!) So, in honor of Alpha, I started leaving copies in lending libraries like this one in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

I found this little library on the Village Trail while staying in a B&B in Whistler and I couldn’t resist leaving a copy of SONG OF LYRAN inside.

As I start my journey back to Atlanta tomorrow I’ll leave copies in airports along the way with inscriptions like this.

My ode to Alpha Romeo … I hope one day to re-encounter these books again and see where they’ve been.

Dear traveler:

Please take this book with you, love it, and then leave it somewhere else for another person to find.

If you enjoy it, please leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon, recommend it to your friends, book clubs, and libraries or local shops.

Thank you for being curious and willing to take a chance on this book.

Believe in love.

With devotion,
Kristi Casey
”The Talespinner”

Hopefully one day I’ll stumble upon one of these books in the wild and be able to see who it reached, where it traveled and who it touched.

And to increase the chance of that, I wonder: would you like to be one of these traveling readers? If so, email me at kristi (at) kristicasey.com with your address. You just need to promise that you’ll share the book with others and your thoughts with me when you’re done reading.

Thanks for helping my words, heart, and thoughts reach others!