I write, I make videos, I speak, but I’m also a consultant. And I approach the role very similarly to how I approach any writing job. For example, in May 2013, Maine Woods Discovery asked me to speak at an event in Bangor, mostly about how Northern Maine got picked for a Lonely Planet Top 10 list I had written that year.
I arrived early and took a four-day roadtrip I pre-planned in the part of Maine without lighthouses and lobster. I ate buckwheat ployes at an Acadian restaurant near the New Brunswick border, drove by a 40-mile model of the solar system, and watched a cop puke up a belly full of the Dead River.
Then I spoke in Bangor about it at a tourism event hosted by Maine Woods Discovery:
I spoke about a lot of things — the roadside fiddleheads I bought, the 90-year-old lumberjack who invited me into his basement (where he had keepsakes of a lifetime spent in the woods), seeing loads of moose.
I also spoke of something I had learned before arriving – that the following year was the 150th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s Maine Woods. The naturalist’s travelogue follows three canoe trips into the woods that hasn’t changed much since. I hadn’t seen the book for sale anywhere, and there were no plans to capitalize on the anniversary of the great naturalist’s last book.
I made a suggestion:
“Everyone knows Thoreau… and next year is the 150th anniversary. Remember the Lewis & Clark anniversary. What can you do with Thoreau?”
Maine Woods Discovery made this the “core” of their strategies to follow and organized a 16-day canoe trip that closely followed Thoreau’s path from 1857.
The Thoreau campaign led to a five-minute feature on CBS Sunday Morning, national exposure worth nearly a million dollars in advertising time.
The campaign also led to cover story features in Yankee magazine and Canada’s travel magazine DreamScapes.
TV coverage from Portland, Maine’s WCSH-NBC:
A photo feature in the Maine Thing Quarterly:
I also wrote an article on Maine’s Aroostook County for Men’s Journal, and was featured in Madawaska’s Fiddlehead Focus — the best-named newspaper of all time.
Great example of how a single discussion and some collaboration can become a very real and successful keystone project. If you want, here is an updated link for the Sunday Morning segment. https://youtu.be/2197wgDecZk This was a great project to work on. You talk about the traditional media impact, not sure if you know but we were able to connect 20+ organizations on social media (mostly Facebook and Twitter) that gave Maine Woods Discovery access to over 200,000 fans each time we posted stories and pictures on the progress of the trip. A few posts even went viral. #150Thoreau Postscript: Mike Wilson, the leader of the trip and head of Maine Woods Discovery is recounting his take on this adventure at the Elevate event for the Adventure Travel Tourism Association this weekend in Snowmass, CO.
I love it!