Here’s a choice for you: you can either work for a living like most normal people, or you can embark on another round of “Creative Tramping” (thanks for that phrase, Liz!). Not deterred after spending six months of pain and misery in south-east Asia (okay, so I suppose I did enjoy it really!), it was time to think of another reason to take some time off and try in vain to convince people that it was a valid excursion to be used as research for another book. Sweating in jungles, suffocating on Himalayas, and beating away scrounging peasants every ten seconds is just SO last year, so I didn’t fancy doing that again: this time the trip would be decidedly more civilized.

I had to pick something that I would both enjoy and have enough interest in to keep the adoring public enthralled. Baseball was an obvious answer: what could be better than sitting on a hot summer evening with a few beers shouting abuse at prima-donna millionaires? Okay, maybe chasing sheep around a field is towards the top of the list, but there’s probably not much else to challenge it. But there have been a million books about baseball, almost all of which are written by far more eloquent scribes than me. I needed an edge. I needed the ‘x-factor’. And as if by magic (there may have been some Guinness involved as well), the solution presented itself: why not use baseball as a flimsy cover for writing another book that deals with my REAL number one hobby - poking fun at people? Yessssssssssssss! And why fly all the way to the other side of the world to start the abuse when there are a quarter of a billion Americans in my back yard just asking for it.

So the plan was hatched. After deciding that further sullying of Anglo-American relations was in order, the baseball trip seemed a little superfluous. After all, what self-respecting Englishman couldn’t throw together several hundred pages worth of colonial leg-pulling? But I decided to drive around the place anyway – it was either that or get a job!

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