Four weeks on the road and I moved from San Francisco to Hawaii, not just to write but also to research the third book of the Boreas series, and more specifically Wayfinding or Polynesian navigation, finding your way without instruments, like compasses, maps, or GPS but solely on what you see around you, the stars, the rising and setting of moon and sun, the ocean swells and how waves lap against the hull of your ship, the currents, the winds, the direction birds fly.


There’s several ways you can research stories. One is sitting at your laptop and surfing the Internet. You can also go out and meet people, pick their brains, hear their stories, learn about their lives.

Obviously, the latter one will most likely bring you more, not just the facts, the data you need but the personal stories behind the information, like with Kevin, our ocean canoe guide. The problem with this way of research is that you have to go out, you have to approach people, talk to them, and that’s a hard one for me. Being of the shy, reserved kind I rarely walk up to people I never met before, let alone strike up a conversation. I stay in the shadows. I observe. I wait. I try to muster up courage to ask questions. I push myself.

And then usually fail and let the opportunity go by. The everlasting wallflower.


But now there might be an app that allows me to meet people and not feel like I have to jump off a cliff into uncharted waters: Flypside. It’s an app with which you can create a forward-facing timeline so you can share where you will be in the future and meet up with the people you choose – people with similar interests – and hang out, do business. Or, in my case, pick their brains. Or write together. Or talk books.

I think Flypside is the perfect app for me to navigate new waters without freaking out too much and I look forward to many Flyp-inspired meetings, because, scary as it is, this app gives me just the control I need to set sail and navigate beyond my limits, to find my way without fear.