I am going there for work but this time it’ll be a different sort of work. For once I will not at the beck and call of a magazine editor, or following any pre-ordained script. I will be working on a start-up project with my brother, who owns a small but profitable airline out there, based in Tortola and servicing Dominica, St Maarten and, as of next month, Antigua and Anguilla as well. Over the next year he’ll be adding a few more islands to the network and as part of the expansion our families will be working together to build and launch a new website for the airline, as well as a Caribbean travel website and on-line magazine covering events and happenings on the islands, plus publishing on-line travel guides for Dominica and the BVI (for starters).
We have had some encouraging interest so far and hopefully we can make this a profitable venture, both in terms of promoting the airline and as a publishing project in its own right. At the very least, it ought to be interesting. Between the two of us, Luke and I, we cover a lot of ground – air, in his case. He has been a pilot for about 35 years, has logged something like 18,000 hours in all sorts of aircraft, from vintage flying boats to Boeing 777s.
Neither of us have exactly been company men, climbing corporate ladders and fitting into moulds. While I have spent my career freelancing for various magazines, and seeing much of the world on somebody else’s nickel, he has crowded in a lot of interesting living in the skies – everything from doing flying scenes for Miami Vice to delivering relief supplies into Haiti after the earthquake to delivering Lake Amphibian seaplanes to the Iraqi Air Force back in the mid-80s. He is a lively raconteur and as for coverage of our chosen area, there is virtually nowhere in the Caribbean he hasn’t been. I’ve got a good handle on the writing game, know my way around a camera and Lightroom and have even written a hefty sized guidebook in the past – National Geographic’s travel guide to Australia. Hopefully we can combine our talents to make a worthwhile product. I believe we can.
I have written in an earlier post (here) about our cycling adventures back when we were kids in New Hampshire; riding our Schwinn ten-speeds over to the Bearcamp River to go fishing and chatting along the way about our dreams and plans for someday. He was always going to be a pilot; I was always going to trot the globe writing stories and taking pictures.
There was one afternoon in particular when we laid it all out as we sat beneath a bridge. Over the past few months, as we talked over our plans to launch this publishing/marketing project in the Caribbean, we have often referenced that afternoon under the ‘steel bridge’ as we used to call it – to distinguish it from the wooden bridges that characterised the backroads of Carroll County in those days. So many of the hopes and ambitions we laid out in the cool summer shade of that bridge have come to pass, not always in the way we might perhaps have expected, and not always with the results we might have hoped for, but enough to create a pleasant sense of retrospection and satisfaction.
We like to think that this forthcoming partnership of ours in the Caribbean will be a brotherly drawing together of these childhood dreams made under that bridge all those years ago. Time will tell, but for now it will be an interesting adventure.