Toland Travels-Live!

It happened again! Another successful Toland Travels-Live! event took place at Urban Standard in Birmingham, Alabama. It was interesting, and entertaining, and so emotional, on a number of different levels. I must thank all of the participants this go round, Lara Paterson, Fergus Tuohy, Heather Fann, Lee Smith, and Bob Boyd. They all did an amazing job. Each of their stories were so different that it made for quite an emotional rollercoaster of a night, but the sum was something very powerful.


I opened the night  by reading “The Thirteen Hour Worst Best Friend,” but things really got going when Lara recounted her experience of having to plan her wedding in Washington, D.C. while living in Alabama. It was a beautiful story about the need for family and friends in our lives, but also why we must always, always, always know the correct address of where we are going.


Fegus followed Lara, and told a quintessentially Irish story. It meanders between history, culture, geography, and yes, even sheep. Technically, Fergus is American, but his storytelling is all Irish.



Heather came next with an incredibly powerful account of a recent travel experience. She didn’t have to travel far to tell her father she was pregnant, but the emotional road that she traveled on that journey was miles and miles long. The heartbreak and the happiness are all clearly there, but that’s what make this story so relatable and so compelling. Afterwards, people began to talk about how much they were moved by what she said. I count myself in that lot, too.

Then the laughs started to come with Lee’s presentation. It’s the story of a Southern road trip complete with fried chicken and side of sweet illiteracy. It’s a perfect encapsulation of a culture that doesn’t exist anymore, yet isn’t so far behind us in the review mirror.

Finally, we get to the last story of the night. Bob will amaze you as he recounts his journey from working at McDonald’s to partying it up at the very swingin’ Playboy Club in London of yesteryear.   One does what one must to be with the cool crowd.



It was a great night! If you missed it, fear not! Plan are already underway for another edition of Toland Travels-Live! If you’d like to attend or even be a presenter, please contact me, and follow this website (click the “+” button) to get the latest updates on this and all things Toland Travels.



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Categories: Advice, Asia, Europe, My View of Things, North America


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