John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


From the Land Down Under

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Greetings from Sydney, Australia, where I arrived from Auckland this morning and am sitting in the airport lounge killing a couple more hours before I catch a flight back to San Francisco, and then Newark. And then, at long last, home to eastern Pennsylvania.

I've been here for a little over two weeks -- eight days in Australia and four in New Zealand -- promoting The Longest Trip Home and, of course, the indefatigable Marley & Me. It's been a great trip, very busy but also with some time for fun, sightseeing, exploring and -- yes, sue me -- plenty of wine tasting. I've always admired Australian wines and after this trip I'm also a new fan of New Zealand wines, especially the country's pinot noir and sauvignon blanc.

My publishing teams at Hachette Australia and Hachette New Zealand have been wonderful, taking all the stress and headaches out of the trip, welcoming me like a long-lost cousin, and showing me a really great time. Just a few highlights: sailing in Sydney Harbor (thanks, Malcolm!), hiking the bluffs over the ocean (thanks, Bernadette and Peter John), sampling wines in the Hunter Valley (thanks, Fiona!), sampling wines while overlooking the Pacific on the north shore of Auckland (thanks, Kevin!), beers and dinner on my birthday (thanks, Matt and Fiona!), a personalized tour of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world on New Zealand's south island (where Lord of the Rings was filmed) (thanks, Raewyn!), and an introduction to Sydney's best coffee houses (thanks, Louisa!)

My tour took me from Sydney to Melbourne to Brisbane to the Hunter Valley, and in New Zealand, from Christchurch to Wellington to Auckland. It seemed like I talked to every radio and television station there was, which was the whole point. I also did a reading and signing each night, and really enjoyed meeting so many new people. Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic reception and making me feel right at home.

In between appearances, I got to hang out with two really great wine experts and authors, whose books I recommend you check out -- Matt Skinner in Australia and Michael Cooper in New Zealand. If you want to know more about the wines here, these are your (very charming) guys. In an authentic Australia moment, I went for a walk early one morning in the rolling wine country a couple hours north of Sydney, and stumbled upon a gathering of seven wild kangaroos, feeding beneath a tree. Cool! That night I looked up and for the first time in my life saw the southern constellations, including the celebrated Southern Cross. More cool!

A special thanks to my two publicists who put the entire tour together and made sure everything worked like clockwork, and quite literally took care of my every need: Louisa Dear in Australia and Raewyn Davies in New Zealand. You two rock! (And yes, you've spoiled me.)

Here is a clip of a television interview I did while in Christchurch. I thought the reporter did a good job putting it together. She even arranged for me to get a Lab fix. It's mostly about Marley & Me, but with a bit on the new book, as well.

Time to head to my gate. More to come. Maybe even some photos!

posted by John Grogan at 7:47 PM


Blogger Melisa said...

Hi John,
I enjoy reading your blog. I can't wait for the release of the DVD Marley and Me on Tuesday. It's one of my favorite movies and books.
Last fall I had to put me cat down. It was the hardest decision I had to make. I had her for 17 years. She had kidney failure.
I'm glad you kept woodson. Even with his health problems.
Well got to go now,
bye, bye

9:14 PM  
Blogger Faith-Ashleigh Wong said...

Hi John!!

I met you at your book signing at the Auckland Library - I do hope you enjoyed your time in NZ albeit it was definitely way too short!! Oh well, it will be an excuse for you to come visit us again - and to sample more of our excellent wine!! *wink*

It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, I enjoyed your talk tremendously!! You are just as funny and personable in person as you are in your books, and it felt so easy to connect with you just because you were so down-to-earth!!

Marley & Me really touched me - admittedly I am more of a cat person, but your story touched my soul nonetheless. I think all animal lovers and pet owners get it y'know?!

Anyway I hope you have a good rest and enjoy spending time with your family - including Gracie and Woodson - when you're back in Pennsylvania!! Hope to see you back in NZ in the near future!!


PS - I just bought The Longest Trip Home - can't wait to sink my teeth into it!!

3:07 AM  
Blogger SCP said...

Hi John

I hope you had a safe journey back home. I'm sitting here waiting for my parcel to arrive with "Marley & Me" book. I can't wait to read it now.

I'm not sure how healthy this will be for me because I find myself feeling quite sad and nostalgic that my dog is going to celebrate his 10th year. I know from now on every year with him is a bonus.

I started to gather his photos and add them to an online photo album. Just a few for now.

Hey, I hope you visit Portugal as well some time.

3:29 AM  
Blogger thais said...

hi john,
I am brazilian loved your book "marley & me", I cried and in Brazil your book is a success...I love Marley even so never know he. Excuse the faults because I am learning English...
Bye bye

10:06 AM  
Blogger margeka said...

Hi John, I just pre-ordered two DVD special editions with the out takes. One for us and one for my son in Texas. He couldn't bring himself to see Marley and Me in public. He knew he would weep, so I'm sending a copy to him to view at home. Great book, great movie and I love your new book. Not quite down yet, but very enjoyable. Thank you for writing and I hope you've got another one in you.

Marge Karalis

10:48 PM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hi John!
Loved the video! It's funny, because I've also heard a couple of times that it wasn't possible for a dog to do all those crazy things... But who owns a dog, knows that it is!
I'm looking forward for the photos!

Giovana - 19

2:11 PM  
Blogger Shorty said...

I love following your blog and keep hoping to eventually read that you're coming to AR. :) I am also awaiting the release of Marley & Me on DVD tomorrow. I loved watching it at the theater and plan to buy it too. I also look forward to reading "The Longest Trip Home."

I enjoyed watching your interview in Australia... thanks for the link. It's funny that people don't believe the destructive-ness of a Lab. We recently took our 3-year-old on her first mini-vacation with us last weekend. She actually behaved rather well for her first trip. However, we shared a room with our friends and their 2-year-old Golden Retriever so... let's just say, I feel sorry for the people who had to clean our room when we left. We did our best to clean it ourselves, but... you know.

12:07 PM  
Blogger maria said...

Hi John,

I discovered your book "Marley and Me" at the Portuguese web bookshops (I am Portuguese) and after I bought it one week ago, in USA where I am living for some months.

I began reading it at a cafe in Mill Valley and I had to close it when you described the first visit to the dogs school, because I was alone and did not people to call me nuts for laughing like that. A this moment I am almost at the end and preparing the better possible for it. I think I will cry, of course.

I appreciate you for your writing, your good sense of humor, and most of all for the animal love and affection you show in this book. Animals, I say, should only be owned by people like you. I should have like to have met Marley, but at least I met him in your good heart.

All the best for you and your family

11:47 AM  
Blogger said...

Unfortunatelly I haven't read a book yet, but I watched the movie (downloaded using one of rapidshare search engines ), now it will be interesting to compare the film and the book. Can I somehow order it? Thank you

11:43 PM  
Blogger maria joao said...

hi John...
i'm from portugal and i see the movie marley and me yesterday and i love...
i read the book last summer and is great...
Maria Joao

4:07 AM  
Blogger pvasshep said...

Hi -

Just saw the DVD last night and my ELDERLY mom stayed awake for the whole thing!! Just a little disappointed that there was no commentary. I think it would have been great to have you and your family do some commentary along with the director and maybe the actors as well.

I thought I caught a glimpse of Dave Barry in the party scene - and sure enough when I googled it - found you had mentioned it in a blogpost last year. I went to look at the column for which you had given the URL but found it to be gone from the Miami site but is still available as part of the Arab News!! Dave Barry Parties With the Stars – Dogs and Babies, Too.

--Kathy - currently experiencing a thunderstorm with her dog who does not care....

6:27 AM  
Blogger Ann On and On... said...

Hello John-

With gratitude tapping on the key board I sit here with tear stained cheeks. Like so many readers you have stirred my emotions about forgotten memories of animal who touched my life.

I appreciate your style of writing and celebrate the pages of words that leave me with these raw yet passionate feelings.

I hope to read more of your work as well as share it with others.

Thank you for writing Marley and Me.


10:03 AM  
Blogger deborah said...

Hey John, it sounds like you are getting around and then some which goes to show you what an impact you have had in the world of books. Speaking of which, here in Canada the Marley and Me DVD is out on the stands ready for the Easter Bunny-This being Holy Week in the Catholic church we all wish you and the Grogan's a very Happy Easter, we are all on a journey-maybe not as talented but definitely thinking of you all! God Bless, Deborah B and family

11:20 AM  
Blogger stacey said...

Hi John,
Marley & Me touched me in a way I never imagined a book could! To be completely honest, I don't often read books as I am more of a film kind of person.. I heard about your book and just couldnt resist, it was absolutely incredible. Thank you John for making me apreciate life a lot more.. and the joy of reading! Hope to actually meet you one day in the future :)

11:28 AM  
Blogger Everton said...

Hello John,
My name is Everton and I am from Brazil. Know that I admire your book Marley and Me and much through the book and learned to love his own family, and of course Marley. I am 15 years old and was born six days after his son Patrick, and despite the young age I am a great admire of his work, at the same time touched me to know that someone really important, Marley, the left, but giving us a great lesson in life.
I just want you to know that I am grateful for the book is really very good. I would some day be able to meet you and ask questions about Marley, which left me very captivated and also on his family.
I am a great admire
Sorry for the mistakes, I am still learning English.


5:24 PM  

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