Lisa and Tim Trudell didn’t always know that they wanted to write a book. In fact, for most of their lives, they have been pursuing different careers — she as a full-time marketing specialist, and he as a freelance writer for local publications. But while exploring Omaha and the surrounding areas, and discovering some of our city’s best-kept secrets, the couple developed a passion for sharing their adventures on their collaborative blog, The Walking Tourists. Before too long, they were being approached by a publisher — who proposed the idea that they write an informative book entitled, 100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die. It’s a true example of how following your passions can truly pay off!
We spoke to Lisa and Tim about their journey into the publishing business, their lives in Omaha, and what’s next. Read on for their story.
The Walking Tourists
Photo courtesy of the Trudells
Lisa and Tim began their blog back in September of 2011 with a single purpose in mind — to share their love of the Midwest.
“We want to share our region with the rest of the world because we love Omaha, the state of Nebraska and the Midwest,” said Tim. “We’re more than flyover country…. We think it’s the best kept secret in America. Omaha is growing, and as it grows, it becomes more diverse.”
The blog grew from Facebook photos they would post. Since the two traveled so much, they would publish images from their most recent journey on social media and would receive a surprising amount of comments. Their friends thought it was a good idea for them to document their journey, so they decided to start something a little more official as a fun hobby.
The blog celebrates Omaha’s secret and not-so-secret treasures, and celebrates everything wonderful about living in or traveling to the Midwest. But since they are seasoned experts on the local culture, it’s no surprise that they were approached to share their experiences with a much wider audience.
Last summer, Lisa and Tim were approached by Reedy Press (based in St. Louis) with the idea that the couple would be a good fit for their series, 100 Things to Do in (City). Once an agreement was reached, they only had 90 days total to completely research and write the book. The book was written, proofread and turned in by October!
But surprisingly, time wasn’t the biggest obstacle for them — and neither was coming up with ideas. “You would think that [the biggest challenge] would be coming up with 100 things about Omaha, right? It was actually easy to identify the items for the book,” explained Tim. “The most difficult part was paring down the list to only 100. We wanted to make sure we covered each of the six sections — Food & Drink, Music & Entertainment, Sports & Recreation, Culture & History, Shopping & Fashion, and Natural Beauty — fairly, and show the diversity of Omaha.”
When asked about how it was to work on a project like this as a married couple, they said it was a piece of cake. The two celebrated their 20th anniversary this past Valentine’s Day, so they have lots of experience tackling obstacles together. “It was a labor of love,” said Tim. “We love Omaha so much and showing it off to others.”
Now that 100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die has hit the shelves (and has been received with enormous success, we might add), the couple is looking to the future and brainstorming how to build upon this newfound passion. They already started work on a second book entitled, Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha, which will focus on the stories behind certain Omaha restaurants (and, of course, the food). “We hope the 90 restaurants, stores or markets we identify in the book will intrigue the readers and pique their appetites,” said Tim.
They are also working on several more ideas, pending publishing approval. But one thing is certain, they don’t plan to slow their mission of showing off Omaha! We expect to see much more from them in the future.
Share your own stories!
What is one thing you think should be on everyone’s Omaha bucket list? Share your ideas with us (and Tim & Lisa) in the comments below!