bluebike-top

Notes from a blue bike

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Pre-order the book, and you’ll tell the Big Book People who you love to read and support. Thanks!

I still remember where I was sitting and where Kyle was standing. We were in the living room of our long-term temporary home in Austin, where we were transitioning between our life in Turkey and who-knows-what’s-next. My first book released about three months ago, so we were enjoying the first bit of calm in quite awhile.

Kyle stopped at the bottom of the stairs, and I was lounging on our red couch. And he announced, “Hey, I have the topic for your next book.”

I glared at him incredulously. Next book? Was he smoking something? Writing a book is like birthing a baby, so I was in that post-newborn letdown of exhaustion and hormonal craziness. And here he was, talking about getting pregnant again.

“Um…. okay. What?” I had my doubts.

And he proceeded to describe what I had to admit would be a pretty gorgeous book. A book that would take a lot of work, one that couldn’t be finished for years, but a beautiful storyline. I let it swirl around in my head for a few minutes, and then I said, “Um… Yes. I agree. I think. At least, you’re on to something.”

Oh, what a powerful start to my next artistic contribution.

Not long after that, my (now) agent sent me an email asking if I had representation, not knowing that I was in search of some. (Neither of us also knew that just a few months later, we’d be moving an hour away from each other and would become actual friends.) Together, we worked on an idea that resonated so deeply in both our lives, on the production of a book that we both wanted to read.

Because if you want to read your own book, I figure that’s a good start, right?

So it’s with trembling hands and a bit of relief that I can finally tell you something that I’ve been working on for a long, long time. Goodness. I feel like I’m asking you out on a date or something. Sweaty palms.

My next book is officially announced to the world and is already available for pre-order. Crazytown, I tell you.

It’s called Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, and it’ll be in your hands on February 4, 2014.

Yes, ages from now. It’s amazing how detailed the book production process is; there’s a veritable surgical team working on this baby to prepare for its upcoming birth. it’s been an honor to work with Thomas Nelson to produce these words I’ve grown to love so much already. (We changed its name, but it’s still the same chubby rugrat with ten fingers and toes.)

Notes From a Blue Bike cover

This book has been percolating in my brain for years, even though it only became an official plan last fall. There were so many avenues to take on this one; it was admittedly hard to nail down the right path and just walk on it. At some point, I just had to strap on my backpack and go already.

And the writing became a cathartic process for me, healing wounds I didn’t know were still there, scabbed over and begging for balm. I wrote this book for you, yes, all of you—but I really wrote it for me. I needed to work through the process of reading and researching, long days at the public library and late nights screaming for sleep from the exhaustion of it all.

It’s not like anything I’ve ever published before, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that.

Notes from a Blue Bike is part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, where I journey through my past and essentially ask the question, “Is it possible to live slowly in a fast-paced culture?” It’s a lot of stories—stories from my time in places like Kosovo, Russia, Wales, and Turkey, where I’ve experienced the slow, rhythmic daily process of sucking the marrow out of line-drying my laundry and spending six hours with a neighbor.

bluebike-basket

I explore the notion of whether it’s even possible to live as though I’m part of a relationship-oriented culture, while actually living smack-dab in a productivity-obsessed one.

And I invite you to climb aboard your own bike, ask yourself these same questions, and explore your own ideas for slowing down. From the conversations I’ve had with many of you, it sounds like you’re dying to veer over in to the slow lane as well. Less chaos, more freedom, fewer events on the calendar, deeper relationships. Many, many cultures around the world aren’t running the treadmill of efficiency. So what does it look like to live like this in the Western, post-modern world?

I cover the topics of food, work, education, travel, and entertainment, for a grand total of 48 chapters and an epilogue, along with a collection of discussion questions in the end for personal journaling or for a book club gathering. (Don’t panic; the chapters are short. I’m a parent with a lot of balls to juggle, too.)

If you’re aching for more slow in your life, this book was written for you. If you’d like to make some risky—but ohsoworthit—changes in your family’s daily life, this book was written for you, too. And if you’re merely curious about my own family’s quirkiness and enjoy a collection of short stories on the nighstand, this book might be for you, too.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step handbook on how you should specifically live, you might want to look elsewhere.

sunriver

But if you’d like a friend on your journey to finding a life that’s slower, more intentional, and soaked with more meaning, then put on your helmet and bike with me. It’s a bumpy ride, but that only makes it fun.

Thank you

If you’re reading this post, you’re part of the reason this book is on its way to the world. And if you’re a regular blog reader here, you’re a big reason I could endure the labor pains and work of making this thing a reality. I’m so unbelievably honored that you’d invite me to be part of your life. Thank you, more than I could ever adequately express. I love writing and I love what I do, and I owe so much of that to you.

If you’d like to read two chapters now, you can head here. If you’d like to go ahead and pre-order, go right ahead here, herehere, or wherever you like to buy books.

I’ll share more about Blue Bike again, when it’s time… but now’s not that time. Right now is the time for reading, taking my kids out for ice cream, packing my suitcase to see friends, and chasing the summer. Pretty much the stuff I love doing when my life is slower.

P.S. – Sign up for updates

I’m starting a monthly-ish newsletter, a short email update that’s a bit more personal. If you sign up, you’ll be the first to get news about the book, places where you can find me, speaking gigs, and other exciting sundry. I may even throw in thoughts about what I’m reading, watching, and listening to. I promise they’ll be short and sweet—I hate long emails, too.

Add your email below if you’d like to get my personal updates.


Phew… I can breathe now. You’re all awesome.

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Comments

  1. How fun, Tsh! I’ve loved all your books so far, and am so looking forward to this one especially parts of your journey in Turkey since that’s where we call home.

  2. This book looks sounds fantastic! I am really excited for it to come out. I will definitely be putting my helmet on to ride (slowly) with you. I feel your passion for a slower paced life coming through your post, I can only imagine it in a full book. Very much looking forward to it.

  3. How very exciting for you! This is a topic that I have been thinking about for a while now. How can I live more intentionally and slow down. It seems like life has sped up to a pace where I am no longer comfortable. With two small kids, it is easy to let the crazy overtake you. Can’t wait to read more!

    • ….and it only gets crazier the older they get, in my opinion. It’s so important to be intentional about how we live, isn’t it?

  4. Tsh,
    What beautiful prose! Many thanks for the “sneak peek.” I loved your description of the Turkish market. I haven’t been to Turkey, but you took me back to my days in France when I would tote my cart around and peruse the busy Sunday morning markets – a lovely memory to start off my morning – thank you! And congratulations on the fruition of this new endeavor.

    • Thank you! I loved writing that chapter. And it was all Thomas Nelson’s idea to have the chapter previews… so glad they thought of that.

  5. avatar
    Christine says:

    How exciting!! I’m thrilled for you:). Enjoy every summer-y minute with your family! I can’t wait to read it!!!

  6. As someone who will (probably) never get to experience a relationship-oriented culture firsthand, I can’t tell you how excited I am to read your book and learn from your experiences. I love the new directions you’ve been taking first with your blog and now with a book. :)

  7. avatar
    Bethany Gillespie says:

    So excited for this new book – I really love the Boredom chapter – I’m already inspired!

  8. By the Facebook teaser, I thought you were pregnant with a boy! But that’s what you wanted me to think ;)

    Congratulations – I know it will be fantastic!

  9. that is very exciting news, congrats! heading over to read a sneak preview now.

  10. This is oh so very exciting! Congratulations, I can’t wait to read it. I just finished Organized Simplicity and we’re having our garage sale Saturday!

  11. It sounds like a great book. I look forward to reading it. Congratulations. I hope you enjoy your down time. Oh and as a bike lover myself I love the title!

  12. Hooray! I’ve been looking forward to this announcement ever since you started dropping hints about it : ) I love the idea of reading it book-club style…Congratulations Tsh!

  13. I. Can’t. Wait.
    So proud of you.
    Truly.

  14. I am SO excited to read this book and for you to finally be able to talk a little more about the book and the stories behind it. Those are questions my husband and I ask each other all the time and I’m super excited to read your words. Enjoy your break!!

  15. You’re awesome, friend! And it will be such a pleasure and a life-changing joy to get to read and ponder over your words. Can’t wait!

  16. Tsh! This sounds wonderful. I really want to read it, but am limiting my physical book purchases due to lack of space in the city. Please tell me you’ll do a version for Kindle!

  17. Congratulations Tsh! I’ve been eagerly anticipating your book & can’t wait to read it!

  18. Hmm…I could totally use something like that!
    No matter how many times I try to slow my roll, my speed starts to creep up over time.

  19. Congratulations and much success to you in this project Tsh. I’m new to this blog, but I can tell by your writing that this book will be worth reading.

  20. Oh my goodness Tsh, your baby is a beauty!! Can NOT wait to hold this one in my hands. Super super super excited for you. And for us. This is my favorite kind of story telling – travel + family = happy :)

    Thrilled for you!
    LJ

  21. Happy dancin’…and not just because that’s my name :).

    Proud of you, excited with you. I think I recall a conversation TWO years ago about it (is my timing right) which seems like both forever and a blink.

    WAHOOO friend!

  22. This looks like a good read. I can’t wait for it to come out.

  23. Tsh, I’m so excited! I really love your books. And I’m exciting for something new to read from my favorite blogger. I’ve been reading your blog for 4 years, and I appreciate what you have to say and the way you say it. Blessings on getting all the details worked out for your book!

  24. I read your excerpts from your book and I can’t wait to read the rest. Congrats on your new book!

  25. Good news: I can’t even wait to read a story that is part memoir, part travel stories, and all of it about intentionality.
    Bad news: ugh. Book announcements that are sooo long away are just so…unfair :)

    Looking forward to it!
    Sarah M

  26. Oh! This one is hitting me square in the eyes… or heart-center… or gut. I am thrilled by the topic and your introduction to the content. I/we seem to be wrestling with these questions more and more and more. What will it take for me to quit my job, so I can be home with the kids and more invested in people instead of finances? Are we willing to make the sacrifices to make that happen?

    I can’t wait – chills just thinking about getting this baby in my hands in Februrary. Pre-ordering now.

  27. Congratulations, Tch! I can’t wait to read this book! Love your blog and podcast, and can’t wait for your next work.

  28. Congrats, Tsh — can’t wait to read it!

  29. I love you! I knows its strange since I never met you, but its whats in my heart. You are the main source of inspiration (along with Renee Tougas) for my family, for slowing down, simplifying, and just taking a deep breath and letting it all go.

    I have often thought about how to simply our lives and how to raise our daughter, even before her birth when I first found your site, several years ago. Thank you for your posts, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for providing so many of us with material and sources and ideas for daily living in a fast pace, commercialized world.

    There are many times where I want to fall back into old patterns, I admit to being easily sold on ‘things’, but I just imagine where we were and where we are now and remember that we don’t need ‘stuff’ to complete our lives or to even make them easier. We need one another. You are the driving force behind our makeover. We are almost out of debt, we are getting rid of stuff regularly, we are simplifying the number and kind of toys our daughter has (she is 19 months old). We don’t watch TV with her, we may have it on for an hour in the evenings, we have a technology free day during the weekend – all things and ideas we got from you.

    I am so excited to read your book to get a glimpse inside of your life and your family, but also to see what other ideas you have come up with to live intentionally (my motto this year, stamped into a necklace pendant as a reminder) in the chaotic commercialized world we live in.

    Again, thank you for everything,

    Jen

    • Jen, I am so totally honored to read your words here… such an encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing them. You’re a blessing.

  30. Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the update and I find it just amazing to hear of all the different countries you’ve lived in!

  31. I think the book sounds wonderful. As I’ve gotten older older, had kids, and lived through my husband’s deployment to Iraq (and faced other potential deployments), I’ve realized that relationships and people are the most important things in my life. Now my husband is leaving the military and we’ve decided to move to Oregon. We picked this area because both the job and the community seem to make maintaining a healthy work/life balance a priority. I look forward to reading your book!

  32. Congratulations! How exciting…I imagine a book is a lot like a child, you nurture it, it grows, you love it, it becomes a part of you. Good luck for a successful book launch.

  33. How exciting! I can’t wait to read it. (And the cover is GORGEOUS!)

  34. Congratulations, Tsh! I love the title! I ride my bike with my kids as our main transportation and bike riding is so symbolic of slow living to me. Can’t wait to read it. Going to check out the chapter right now!

  35. Hi Tsh. I’m a recent reader and have enjoyed reading your blog. This new adventure sounds way exciting and I wish you all the best. I am off to read the freebie chapters and will be back :) Thanks again for a wonderful blog and all the best.

    Lyle

    ps: the photo accompanying my most recent simple pleasure post is also of a blue bike. A fun coincidence!

  36. Well done. I know the incredibly hard work you must have put into this labor of love. Again, well done!

  37. What a wonderful day Tsh! I feel like listening to the podcast as you gave little updates about the writing process makes me already so invested in the book. And what a fantastic title. I think it sounds so great! I’ve loved your first two books, but I always wanted more stories, so I can’t wait until February 4th! Congratulations on all the hard work that it took to bring it to this point, and thank you for sharing the journey and encouraging others along the way. We too can write truth and slow down.

  38. Tsh, enough people have told me how much I’d love your first book that I finally ordered it recently. I haven’t opened it. I’m a clutter girl. Not dirt, clutter. I get emotionally attached to the stupidest things. I’m afraid you are going to cut to my heart and speak truth to me about stuff. Sigh. I will read it and hope for change. I’m FAR from a hoarder (gosh, those shows just scare me) but want freedom from stuff.

    Can’t wait for this new book!

    • Aw… I understand. I’m not going to tell you to go ahead and keep the stuff, but you can pretend I’m there, cheering you on as you read. Happy music, a good candle, ready, set, go!

      Just remember you are loved and you have value, and that your stuff doesn’t definite the beauty and magic of YOU. <3

  39. Funny how you compare the writing of a book and labouring. In matter of fact, I was in the end of my pregnancy and sooooo much waiting for your ‘Organized Simplicity’, that took around 2 or 3 weeks to arrive. Finally I got it when I was at the hospital and had just laboured and my husband gave it to me (:

    Sometimes I’m totally over stressed (full time job+ part time job + some other jobs + 1 toddler + 1 baby who gets sick quite often + all the rest…), and visiting your site (by the way, LOVE the new look, I got quicky used to it – oh, can you post all your old logos one of these days?) helps me to reconsider things and to have a lighter feeling about things.

    Thank you for the inspiring images and sensations I get from reading your site. Great job!
    And totally looking forward to your next book (:

    All the very best and DO consider coming to Portugal on your big trip, I’d be delighted too meet you

  40. YAAAAAY Tsh!
    Now, after wanting to spill about it for so long, doesn’t that feel gooooood?
    You know we love you!

  41. avatar
    Elizabeth says:

    I’m so excited for you, Tsh! And so happy that WE get to read it! Gorgeous design, beautiful fonts, and wonderful topic. Already in love with the two chapters I’ve read. Thanks for making that available for us. :)

  42. Hooray!

    Can’t wait to read it (and review it)! :)

    I love the cover, and the premise sounds fascinating. Congrats!

  43. avatar
    rebecca says:

    This sounds just perfect. I can’t wait!

  44. avatar
    Deborah P says:

    Sounds just like my cup of tea! I seem to live so fast that when I get reminders (like your post today) to slow down and LIVE – I’m almost startled. Then it’s heads down and going again. I’m looking forward to reading this – and I love the name!

  45. I cant wait to read it. Just listened to one of your podcasts today. They are a simple and nice luxury to listen to.

  46. Yay! I’m so excited for you Tshy! It’s beautiful.

  47. I just noticed the typo. I swear I’m not making up pet names for you. I swear. ;)

  48. Congrats Tsh, I’m SO excited to read your book! I met you for about 10 seconds at last year’s Allume, and you alluded to writing this book. I’ve been so excited to hear more about it, and read it! :) I’ve become a fan of your blog in part by listening to your fantastic podcasts–they’ve been great for commuting back and forth from Texas to Kansas. (Hope a new one is coming soon! :) Blessings to you and your family – so excited to read your book!! (And I agree with the other folks here – the cover and title are so lovely!)

  49. SO exciting!!! CONGRATS!

  50. Congratulations Tsh! Your book sounds so wonderful and I look forward to reading it.

    Kamille

  51. Super duper duper duper excited about this book, girl!! (and not just because I’m in it–wink wink)

  52. reading this made me sigh in relief. i live in turkey and so struggle that my friends at home are too busy for relationship. it’s a struggle all westerners have i think. i’m looking forward to your book as a good reminder for myself. sometimes it’s hard to hang out for 4-6 hours, to let go of what needs to be done and to just sit and enjoy chit chat, to allow for moments without so much distraction. even living in the biggest city here, people still make the time. it’s really incredible. i’m tired of the excuse of busyness- both of giving it and hearing it. i hope your book is a real ministry to westerners who need the challenge to slow down and for those who are slowed down to continue that pace of life and to show grace to those who need lots of practice slowing down! much grace to you.

  53. I very much look forward to reading your book. From how you describe it, it sounds refreshing and purposeful, joyful and perhaps even a bit “practical”. :) I mean in the sense of being like handmade pottery, an expression of how the “ordinary” can be blessed and hallowed and made beautiful in the making and the being and the serving. Thanks for writing it!

  54. This sounds amazing Tsh!!! I can’t wait to read it! Congratulations!!!
    Lots of Love,
    Courtney :)

  55. Congrats, Tsh. You are inspiring.

    Also – I love the cover. Fits the title/topic just right.

    Are you a big bicyclist in real life?

  56. Wow! That cover is absolutely gorgeous. Many congrats!

  57. How thrilling! I think this sounds awesome and I can’t wait to pick it up!

  58. Sounds sooooo good! And I love the cover. Can’t wait to read it! :)

  59. I’ve been seeking and thinking and writing about living with intention for about a year now. It’s a makes-sense way to live – but so difficult for me to achieve and remain conscious of. I have never heard of a “relationship-based culture,” but written about my relationships as a means of intentional living so it sounds like your book has much to teach me. I feature a “Hope of the Week” every Monday. I’d like to mention your new book as my latest HOPE. Thank you!

    Barb

  60. avatar
    Caitlin says:

    Hi Tsh! I thought I had commented when i first read this post. I apologize. Super excited to read your new book! Congrats on all of your hard work. I would definitely love to get your emails. Thanks for your blog and books!

  61. I’m afraid I read the sample chapters too quickly, not sure I can wait until February in 2014. The ‘boredom’ bit is something we’ve been wrangling with at our household – and I’ve noticed it usually follows a 30 minute stint of tv watching.

  62. Congratulations! Your book will be an early Valentine’s present.

  63. “I explore the notion of whether it’s even possible to live as though I’m part of a relationship-oriented culture, while actually living smack-dab in a productivity-obsessed one.”

    Yes! THIS is why I will be buying your book! :)

    Thanks for writing.

  64. avatar
    Kirsten McCulloch says:

    I love the gorgeous cover! Just went and downloaded the first two chapters (well, signed up for them) and then checked on fishpond.com.au – weirdly it has the audio book version on there, but not the print book!

  65. Hi-ya, Tsh,

    I’m so excited to see this! If you need any early readers, I’m happy to promote. I can’t wait!

    Rich blessings and warm hugs,
    Amy

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