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A few years ago I started this blog for two reasons: 1) Mel Bosworth told me I had to and 2) my mother told me I had to. You might say I'm the kind of guy who does what he's told.

I was in a writers' group with Mel when we all decided to start blogs to promote our published work. OK, Mel decided we should do this, but it was a step in a writer's career that was expected. The only problem with this is that I wasn't comfortable with the concept of a blog promoting me. I wanted something else in terms of content.

Then along comes Mom: "So, Chris, tell me about your travels."

Me: blank stare (adorable of course)

Mom: You do remember them, right?

Me. Hmmm (If you asked me to list my trips this year and expected an immediate answer, I'd probably implode. I'm that forgetful.)

Mom: You do really go to these places, don't you?

Me: Hmmm (It's possible of course that I dreamed it all.)

Mom: You should be writing about them. When you get old--demented and diapered--you'll be glad you did.

Me: Did you say demented and diapered?

Mom: No, you added that part.

So I took my mother's advice and Mel's urgings and created a blog. At first, I set up one called The Garden of Chuck or something similarly stupid and embarrassing. Then I think there was The Adventures of Sam the Savvy Tourist, which I still love but it wasn't even close to being about my real travels. Sam was a tourist who thought he was savvy but wasn't. It was Fun Knee. Then there was Chuck Around the World. I've saved some of those posts actually, but Chuck Around the World sounds like a blog written by a person who gets drunk and vomits a lot on his travels. Hmmmm. This might have been true once.

As my Travel Blog Buds will tell you, a blog really does have to offer the reader something. I'm not the most informed or informative traveler. That's just not my style. If you've read posts on How I travel, you'll see that I'm particularly proud of my ignorance and equally fond of surprises. When I see a place for the first time, I want it to be a real "first time" experience. I don't do extensive research on the places I visit until after I've been there, until after I've allowed my eyes to make up their own minds (and yes they do have separate minds of their own). I hope, when it comes to the travel aspect of this blog, I can give the reader that feeling of being in a place for the first time.

The name for I Must Be Off! is influenced by Hape Kerkeling's travel book called Ich bin dann mal weg (I'll be off now). The book is about Kerkeling's journey along the Jakobsweg. It's meant to be poignant and witty, but it turns out to be yet another tribute to how many languages he speaks. If you're listening, Hape, the polyglot gags were funny at first. At first. Wir lieben dich trotzdem.

So I Must Be Off! grew. It's around three years old now, just now learning how to read. It likes a lot of pretty pictures. It's light, mostly, but sometimes it gets serious. The About page tells you it's "the gluten-free, expat photo-literary travel(b)logue of writer Christopher Allen...so you'll know where my hands have been."--and that about sums it all up.

Over the last couple of years, I've really enjoyed inviting other expat writers to talk about their experiences abroad and of course their writing as a part of my Expat Author Interview Series, and I look forward to continuing this series. I already have a few writers lined up for January and February.

And my travels continue as well. Next week I'm off to Singapore, Thailand and Bali if all goes as planned. Some of my favorite photos are from these places, so I'm really looking forward to going back.

Thank you so much for following me around the world, for clicking on these pages, and for commenting. I would also like to send out a special thank you to the Russian, Chinese and Indian spambots and scams with whom I've become wildly popular in the last few months.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type, available from Amazon dot anything.

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