January 6, 2014

greetings from... the inspiration for 'hard hats and doormats'

In my novel Hard Hats and Doormats, human resources manager Lexi Burke travels the Gulf Coast training employees, settling disputes and maintaining order for a chemical company. Through her adventures, she has the opportunity to see parts of the country that are often missed by most tourists.

Like Lexi, my first job out of college involved a lot of travel––I visited more than 20 states in four years. In this series, which will run on Mondays for the next several weeks, I'll share some of my real life experiences exploring the country.

Though I took that job knowing I'd do a lot of traveling, sometimes it was more of a hardship than something I enjoyed. It was fun at first, but eventually being gone from home would weigh on me. After my first year on the road, I stopped checking out sites and focused more on getting from Point A to Point B.

About three years into my fourth year, I was sent to a new location. While I was there, I happened upon the birth place of one of my dad's favorite poets. I called to tell him about my find, and we carried on a conversation about everything else I'd seen. On impulse, I'd stopped by another couple of attractions while taking short breaks in the drive, and I found myself feeling more excited about what I'd seen. Then he said something that gave me a new perspective.

"You're seeing America," he said. "You're going places most people will never see."

That's when it hit me - he was right. No matter what, I had seen more of America in the past three years than I would've ever imagined. It changed my perspective, and I changed my attitude. I would find more joy in the places I went and create memories. Those memories of America are what I'll be sharing with you. Some are famous places known to most travelers. Others are somewhat hidden gems that took a little more doing.

As a point of reference, take a look at the places I have traveled in my life. Not all of these locations will be featured in this series, because I'm only including places I went in the name of business. But it should give you an idea of where we'll travel together virtually in the coming weeks.

Oh, the Places I've Been

Red: States where you've not spent much time or seen very much
Amber: States where you've at least slept and seen some sights
Blue: States you've spent a lot of time in or seen a fair amount of
Green: States you've spent a great deal of time in on multiple visits

Source: http://www.defocus.net/visitedstates/generate.html

Your turn to weigh in: What are your favorite travel destinations? How many states have you checked off of your "to-visit" list?

About Hard Hats and Doormats
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

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  1. I'm going to love this series, as I love traveling! I majored in travel and tourism in college, and got to travel to Amsterdam and Jamaica with my class. I have the words "to travel" tattooed in Chinese letters on my right foot too :) My family is military and they move every 2-4 years or so, and I've gotten to see a lot of the US thanks to them!

  2. Great post! Can' wait until next Monday!